Friday, November 16, 2007

Bay of Bloor

"Quelle coincidence," writes Robert J. Lewis of Toronto, Ontario. "There I was all set to send you a long overdue portrait of yours truly and his beloved much-Bava tome when I looked in on the VW blog and saw two new entries from two of my fellow blissful countrymen... I received my copy during the thick of the Toronto International Film Festival (some of my coverage can be read here) and, with up to four screenings per day, had to lock the thing away in my closet else risk disappearing into those glorious pages so perfectly crafted by Donna and yourself and blowing off such must-see screenings as Argento's MOTHER OF TEARS, Haynes' I'M NOT THERE, Romero's DIARY OF THE DEAD, DePalma's REDACTED, and Grant Gee's documentary JOY DIVISION (a perfect companion to the equally excellent CONTROL). I've since atoned for my lapse in priorities and have taken only the occassional break to peruse A.J. Jacobs' YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY.

"I felt my moment had come and gone, but then, around mid-October, I received a notification from the fine folks at RUE MORGUE that November's "Cinema Macabre" screening would be none other than Mario Bava's seminal shocker BAY OF BLOOD! In 35mm no less!

"So here I am as I embark on a treacherous jaunt across Bloor Street to the historic Bloor Cinema, one of Toronto's finest repertory cinemas and the original home of the TIFF's "Midnight Madness" programme, which in its early years afforded me the pleasure of catching the North American premieres of Peter Jackson's MEET THE FEEBLES and BRAIN DEAD (somewhere, I've got the Hobbit king's signature scribbled into an old FANGORIA), Yuzna's BRIDE OF RE-ANIMATOR, Argento's OPERA and TRAUMA, Soavi's THE SECT and DELLAMORTE DELLAMORE, Richard Stanley's HARDWARE (which I watched with Liam Neeson sitting beside me--he seemed to like it!), and Bernard Rose's CANDYMAN (in which a then-unknown Quentin Tarantino was lumbering around the lobby and was once completely anonymous and approachable). Indeed, if Rose ever fancied returning to Barker territory with an adaptation of "Son Of Celluloid", the rich history of the Bloor would make it the ideal venue for a location transplant. Of course, I brought along the perfect reading material to kill the time -- but, alas, it wasn't enough to guarantee me my winning the pre-screening trivia question. (It's hard to wave your arms in the air when you're lugging a book weighing 5 and a half kilos...but wasn't Christopher Lee in THE WHIP AND THE BODY and HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD?)

"BAY OF BLOOD, btw, looked spectacular in a near-pristine print that was furnished by none other than Alfredo Leone. The Cinema Macabre screenings are a lot of fun (a recent RITUALS screening welcomed star and producer Lawrence Dane, and Fred Dekker presented NIGHT OF THE CREEPS) and well-worth making the trip across the border, even if your American greenback right now is more or less worthless in Canadian climes... Loving the book to say the least..."

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