Monster of the Day #275

Cindy Brady, no!

  • Flangepart

    There was good reason Cindy earned the ‘best evil stare’ award at Hogwarts.

  • Damn good movie. Doesn’t make a lot of sense in places, but damn good.

  • See many Americans (Nathan Shumante) don’t like Italian supernatural movies because they “don’t make sense”, completely missing the point that they are about the supernatural. Things SHIOULDN’T make sense.

    SUPSPIRIA doesn’t make sense because it’s in a world of magic. KILL BABY KILL doesn’t make sense because the land is cursed by evil. THE HOUSE WITH LAUGHING WINDOWS doesn’t make sense because the moral corruption of the townsfolk makes them self-blinded to reality.

    A classic American flaww in our ghost movies is that we try to explain clearly how the supernatural works. Not only is this problematic, at best, but then they are frequently forced later on in the movie to violate their own rules. Or they have pointless supernatural elements, like that retarded “fly comes live off the video tape” scene in the American remake of Ring. Pfui. Give me a solid Italian film where the emphasis is on sight, sound, and emotion, rather than logic, any day.

    I will admit that the Italiana can sometimes confused supernatural lack of logic with plain old silliness. The Jabootuesque masterworks of NUDE FOR SATAN and GHOSTHOUSE are ample proof of that.

    Speaking of which, Ken, I gave you a copy of GHOSTHOUSE. adn I know you watched it. And judging from your e-mails, you adored every single second. I won’t rest until you’ve done a vast detailed review of every single m oment.

  • It doesn’t play on my TV set (well, on my DVD player, actually), and I find working off my computer screen awkward. I’ll root around for the disc, though, and give it a go.

  • alex

    I agree completely with what Sandy Peterson said above. Bava was a very Italian director and many people don’t seem to understand that they have a different approach to genre movies over there. I still remember the MSTK3 gang making fun of the Morricone score of Danger Diabolik seemingly not understanding that it was over the top on purpose (as was everything else in that movie).

    About Kill Baby Kill, it’s a masterpiece. Right up there with Black Sunday and The Whip And The Body as the greatest work of maestro Bava. It’s halfay between a ghost story and a dream. Beautiful.

    And a little trivia, the ghost girl Melissa is actually played by a boy.

  • I have no problem with the supernatural bits not making sense. The doctor’s chase sequence towards the end (hopefully that’s clear, I don’t want to spoil the scene for those who haven’t seen it) is, without a doubt, one of Horror’s best sequences, and I’m not sure what it’s doing there. Don’t care, either.

    It’s been my experience with Italian Horror you go in to let the mood and the set pieces carry you. If the plot works and the characters aren’t wastes, then hey, bonus.

    I sort of operate the same way with the modern crop of Japanese Horror flicks, except I seldom have the same problems with them.

  • Rock Baker

    Is one way better than the other? I hardly think basing a supernatural horror story within a logical frame hurts the process. After all, what makes supernatural events so supernatural is that they’re imprinting upon our more understandable world.

    The problem with Italian horror movies, and Kill, Baby…Kill! in particular is the notion that this stuff is ART rather than entertainment. If you confuse someone, they’re not being entertained, and to not be entertained is the worst effect a motion picture can have on the viewer. When I saw, and taped (I still have a copy of THAT one) Kill Baby… Kill! I got to the scene with the multiple rooms and I wanted to rip the flick off the screen and give it a good beating! There’s something seriously sick about the mentality, or lack thereof, of the picture. Genre fare is not meant for limp-wristed, long-haired beatniks, a simple truth Bava quickly forgot before he made (sigh) his most respected works. Please.

    Give me Tormented, The Haunting, House on Haunted Hill, The Uninvited, even The Screaming Skull, at least those movies are entertaining as they are spooky.

  • zombiewhacker

    Never saw this one. WOR ran Baron Blood quite regularly when I was a tyke, while Black Sunday ran (I think) on WPIX’s Chiller Theater.

    BTW, since this is indeed turning out to be Bava week (yay!), there’s one movie out there I’m hoping will turn up here by the end of the week.

    Teensy hint: drip drip DRIP!

    Scariest movie sequence ever.

  • alex

    To Rock Baker: They are plenty of people all over the world who find Kill Baby Kill not just entertaining but also a work of art. I can name Luchino Visconti (who led a standing ovation at the movie’s premiere) also Frederico Fellini and Martin Scorcese who both ripped off the Melissa character (for Spirits of the Dead and The Last Temptation of Christ respectively). Bava fans consider his films not just entertaining but brilliant and fascinating. To each his own I guess.

    Bava was most definetly an artist as well as a technical genius of lighting and optical effects, the best movie technician in Italy, I would even say in all of Europe at that time. Bava was the go-to guy for every Producer and Director at Cinecitta. Bava could fix anything and saved many productions. And he was such a humble guy that he never took credit for all those movies he saved or completed. He did it just for the pleasure of being faced with a challenge and helping his colleagues. What a guy!

    So please Rock don’t present him as some kind of pretentious artsy fartsy dude. He was a brilliant man who made great films. And also a very nice person who never took himself seriously but took his work seriously as any great craftsman would.

  • P Stroud

    It’s funny how people will accept incompetent film making from Italian directors while they would mercilessly slam American and British directors for making such things.

    Euro-horror is often made on this basis: the director has a bunch of scenes he wants to film. He films them and then tries to fit it all together. Usually they end up with an incoherent mess that some excuse by calling it “dream logic”. Not that it can’t be an entertaining incoherent mess. I think that’s why Mario Bava is probably the best liked Italo-horror director. He usually tends to be somewhat coherent.

    This is what makes Del Toro stand out. You can detect an actual narrative.

  • The difference is that in a well-done Italian movie, the idea is that the supernatural affects the real world’s course of logic. A well-done Italian movie isn’t flawed because the timeline doesn’t make sense – it’s just what’s going on.

    Obviously both genres have disastrously bad films. Lord knows I’m not defending ALL Italian film-making, but just because Rock’s tiny hard-wired brain (that’s a joke, son) isn’t able to adjust to the concept of a movie where the plot isn’t explained, doesn’t invalidate the format.

    Look – I’m unable to enjoy movies in which the heroes decide to cover up events “to protect the public”. This always apoils a film for me, and in fact irritated me immensely in Dark Knight Returns. I’m perfectly willing to believe this is a personal flaw, not a universal constant.

    But Bava’s films, even his weakest ones, can do no wrong IMO and those who find fault must recognize their own flaws. Ahem.

  • Rock Baker

    Bava as an artist: He was a briliant camera/effects man, and his ability to create fantastic images makes him stand far ahead of the field of less skilled Italian technicians. I’ll give the man that without hesitation, he knew how to make an image. That doesn’t, however, mean he was a great storyteller. I always felt he was an over-rated director, and I’ve seen nothing of his to make me change that impression. Black Sunday seems like some sort of a fluke, really.

    And yes, all accounts of Bava personally are those of a very humble, friendly, and talented man. I certainly can’t take issue with that. I do believe, however, that he spent more time pandering to critics than to theater patrons. It happens to directors all the time if they show some talent as they’re starting out. They get praised and held up as some artistic genius and they eventually believe their own press. I’m not saying Mario got a swelled head, but I think he forgot who he was making movies for (which would be the ticket buyers, not himself).

    I suppose it shows my lowbrow class that I’m a fan of Anthony Dawson instead. And Leone, I can’t forget him.

  • Ericb

    Leone is probably my favorite film maker … and I’m not even a fan of westerns.