Friday, September 28, 2007

More Great Feedback

Gabriele Acerbo of Cologno Monzese, Italy poses with his copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK in front of his astonishing quattro-fogli poster for Bava's LA FRUSTA E IL CORPO ("The Whip and the Body"). Gabriele is a writer-director-producer for Sky TV and among his credits are the outstanding 2004 documentary MARIO BAVA OPERAZIONE PAURA, in which I was pleased to appear alongside Ennio Morricone, Roger Corman, Dino De Laurentiis, Mario Monicelli, members of the Bava family, and many other luminaries.

John Weber of Elkridge, Maryland took his copy of ATCOTD directly to what looks like it must be his own eye-popping sanctum sanctorum -- but think again. John writes: "The attached photo was taken in the dining room of my apartment on Saturday, September 22. You can see your Bava bookmark near my right elbow, which has been marking the place on the shelf where I've been planning for your book to rest (right next to the first three volumes of Rod Serling's TWILIGHT ZONE scripts from Gauntlet Press). Both editions of THROAT SPROCKETS can be seen on the shelf below. On the table to the left, you can see my life mask of Peter Cushing, and your book seems to have rendered him silent, too... I'm completely overwhelmed by the scope of the text, and equally dazzled by all the photos and the beautiful presentation of the book as a whole. I would have gladly waited another year (or longer) for a book of this depth and magnitude. And I'm convinced that everyone who pre-ordered your book has gotten the deal of the century."

We've also heard by mail from some other Bava luminaries! Producer Alfredo Leone writes: "Thank You both for a task well done. You have captured the very soul of a great artist and human being who taught the world how to accept life and death with humility."

HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON star Stephen Forsyth: "Thanks for my copy of your wonderful book! I’m so glad to see the results of your passion, dedication and curiosity come to fruition. The book looks even better than I imagined and it is so well organized and beautifully illustrated that the size does not overwhelm. It will be an interesting and informative read for me. I'm sure your rich and detailed prose will bring new understanding and insight to my time spent with Mario. I look forward to enjoying your work of art."

And we also received a postcard from Dante Di Paolo, star of THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH and BLOOD AND BLACK LACE: "I am extremely proud to share a small ray of the spotlight that glows on Mario Bava's splendid works of art in filmmaking, and than you for being so kind to me in your book. MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK will always be 'on the ready' on my coffee table. You did one hell of a job making this all happen! I found it to be both extremely informative and entertaining!"

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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Alan Jones Wins the Race

I believe Alan Jones is the first person to announce they have read the entire Bava Book, cover to cover. A splendid, detailed review results in his online diary. Alan also wrote to tell me that he'll be seeing Lamberto Bava in Rome two weeks from now and can't wait to compare notes on the Book with him.

And here are some links to other wondrous receptions of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK by Stephen R. Bissette, Robert Monell, D.K. Holm, and Ryan A. MacMichael.

Monday, September 24, 2007

A Letter from Lamberto Bava

Lamberto Bava with the Bava book and family. Surrounding him L to R: his son Fabrizio (aka "Roy"), daughter Georgia, son Alessandro, and Georgia's daughter Martina Brusco
-- an aspiring actress!

Dear Tim,

It's real, it exists.
I didn't have the courage to touch it.
Only by opening it and looking here and there it was evening, all day had passed and I haven't noticed it.
Great, unique.
Thank you, from Mario, from me, from all our family.
I need time to examine it carefully and live again all I have already lived as a child.
Thank you, you gave Mario immortality.
A masterpiece full of love.
My first impression just to let you know how grateful I am, I need time to try and comprehend the importance of what you have done.

Lamberto Bava

It doesn't get any better than this. To receive a letter and photo like this makes all our work worthwhile. - Tim Lucas

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Black & White Sunday

A Sunday treat: John McElwee, esteemed custodian of the Greenbriar Picture Shows blog, sent us this wonderful photo along with this (excerpted) message:

"I can't tell you how overwhelmed I am with what you've accomplished. I can only add my hosannas to the scores of others who've no doubt heaped praise on this mighty achievement. Needless to say, having completed such a project entitles you to lay down the pen and rest on your laurels for here on in, but I know you'd never do that. There are more worlds to be conquered, and here you've demonstrated that nothing is beyond your amazing capacities...

"My attached contribution was suggested by that marvelous pose of Barbara Steele from BLACK SUNDAY. One of the first movies I ran for girlfriend Ann after we got together five years ago was [Roger Corman's] PIT AND THE PENDULUM, for it seemed to me then that she somewhat resembled Barbara Steele. Our dog Odie is perhaps an uncertain substitute for the hound of Hades that enhanced Bava's masterpiece, but he was at least willing to stand still long enough to be photographed, and that in itself is a minor miracle.

"Heartiest congratulations, my friend. You have written the greatest of all film books."


Friday, September 21, 2007

From Roma to New Haven and Back Again

The Bava book has arrived in Roma and here to prove it are Daniela Catelli and her daughter Rebecca. Daniela was one of my most valued research associates on the Bava book, responsible for much of the translation work needed in its latter stages. She also conducted an interview with composer Carlo Rustichelli on my behalf, during which the Maestro gave her a private solo piano performance of "The Winsor Concerto" from THE WHIP AND THE BODY! Furthermore, she's Italy's leading authority on the films of William Friedkin, having written books about his entire career and about THE EXORCIST in particular. This is the first photo I've seen of a contributor to the book holding the book, and this special fact -- along with Becky's sunny smile -- makes me very happy.

Here is MAELSTRÖM Magazine editor Esteban Medaglia -- formerly of Buenos Aires, Argentina, now a resident of Hollywood, Florida -- displaying his copy of the book. I've known Esteban for years as a fellow contributor to the Latarnia Fantastique International forum boards. If metal music is among your interests, check out his Descent into the Maelstrom blog here.

Gordon Terry poses on the sunny lawn of his home in Chesterfield, Virginia, with the Bava book and some of his other favorite Bava treasures. Hurry and take that stuff back inside, Gordon, before someone thinks it's the coolest yard sale ever!

Now here's a place I could get lost in for awhile...
Nick Aretakis of New Haven, Connecticut, writes: "I collect film books - mostly on directors (the ones I like, not everybody), film history, film criticism, and film genres. I've got a lot of film books, and have seen many more. In my opinion, your book is the most thorough, informed, comprehensive and opulent study of a single director that I've ever seen. The only books that come close are THE STANLEY KUBRICK ARCHIVES book published by Taschen, Tag Gallagher's book on John Ford, and FRITZ LANG: HIS LIFE AND WORK by Schnauber, Jacobsen, and Aurich. I think it surpasses all three of these due to the depth and authoritativeness of the text, and the beautiful design. It is a stunning achievement, and you are to be heartily congratulated." Thank you, Nick!

We've also heard from director Luigi Cozzi: "All my compliments to Tim Lucas, I love the giant Bava book!" (He is also ordering copies for the PROFONDO ROSSO store he manages in Rome.)

And though I haven't as yet heard anything from Lamberto Bava, my friend (and Bava book research associate) Lorenzo Codelli has an explanation: "I am in San Sebastian and yesterday I got Lamberto by phone: he's speechless about your book!"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Youth and Beauty and Fulfillment

Victor Harland Smith of Los Angeles, California, says of the Bava book's long gestation: "Years? It only seemed like a few months to me!"

Jason Passons of Kansas City, Missouri, poses with his Bava book and another prized possession: his 47 x 63" French BLACK SABBATH poster, which hangs in his living room.

Greg Zeicher of New York City, New York, takes his copy of the Bava book to a place where he can be assured of absolute peace, quiet, and no distractions -- outside the Victoria's Secret store at the corner of 67th and Broadway!

Incidentally, the Bava book was received today by the Bava family. Mario's granddaughter Georgia, who lived with Mario for a year when she was a child, told me that she was moved to tears when she opened the box and saw Mario's name on the cover. She sent me a beautiful e-mail I'll always treasure, but I couldn't resist calling her to better share the happiness with her ("You wanted to HEAR me crying?" she laughed). At the end of our talk, she told me that, half an hour earlier, she had seen her father Lamberto Bava and given him a box containing the book, telling him that it was "a gift from Tim Lucas." All of the compliments the book has received have been precious to me, but Georgia's response is the first to make me feel truly fulfilled.
I also heard today from one of my favorite correspondents, WHIP AND THE BODY screenwriter Ernesto Gastaldi, who says of the "incredible wonderful superior pantagruelic colorful" (his words) MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK: "It's the most complete and beautiful book about a filmmaker I've ever seen!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bloggers on the Bava Book

Richard Harland Smith writes eloquently about the Bava book today on his Movie Morlocks blog at the Turner Classic Movies website.

And PREMIERE critic Glenn Kenny, one of the Bava book's Patrons, came back from the Toronto Film Festival to find his copy awaiting him. At his blog, he finds it worth the long wait. In the Post A Comment area, I chime in with some additional details.

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Folks, They're Getting Ambitious

WARNING! The producers of this blog feel a moral obligation to warn you that it will shock you as no other Bava Book Update posting ever has! Because it could be very shocking to young and impressionable minds, today's installment is restricted only to those over 14 years of age!

Aiiiiieee! Timothy Campbell of West Yorkshire rises from unconsecrated Moldavian ground! As Charlie Largent, designer of the Mask of Satan cover embossing, noted upon seeing this, "Glad he took the dust jacket off before he drug it into the grave!" Hey, it makes the picture!

I suspect that Douglas Roy of Bennington, Vermont had a similar idea in mind when he submitted this photo in black-and-white.

Douglas also sent this color shot of himself and his new acquisition, in acknowledgement of the Maestro's equal mastery of monochrome and polychrome. And speaking of polychrome...

Finally, we have all the colors of Trieste's Marco Bellini! That is the original Italian due-foglia for BLOOD AND BLACK LACE framed behind him. I have the poster (it's on page 548 of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK... in full color obviously), but I truly envy Marco for having the wall space to display it!

Great work, everyone! We would love to see more.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Monday Photos of a Happy Bunch

The diabolic David J. Schow -- reknowned for his VW articles on THE WILD WILD WEST and THE OUTER LIMITS -- gloats over his favorite spread in the Bava book. His copy of the new issue of VW (#134 with its Edgar Wallace krimi cover, seen to the right) arrived the same day! Cool office, Dave!

Michael Lang of Sarasota, Florida, poses in his secret sanctum with the Bava book. Even his pooch Roxy looks impressed! Another room furnished with impeccable taste!

This is so wonderful -- it's a souvenir shot from the first Bava book summit meeting -- in Vienna, home of BARON BLOOD! Torsten Dewi of Munich (center) writes: "Enclosed is a picture of Markus Risser from Nuremberg (the grizzly guy, webmaster of, Harald Dolezal from Vienna (the bespectacled one, collector extraordinaire), and that's me in the striped shirt (geek personality from We are standing in Harald's amazing archive in Vienna, proudly holding your book! (It's Harald's copy, mine is on its way over the Atlantic at the moment.)"

These are all great photos, but this last one from Adam Williams made me laugh out loud:

"Just wanted to thank you for the truly awe-inspiring book," Adam writes. " From the attached photo, you can see that I have taken the phone off the hook so that I am not disturbed from my Bava-induced bliss."
So wonderful, so inspired. And the perfect way to read the book, too, don't you agree?
Keep the photos coming, Bava book readers!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Bava Book Display and Shipping Ideas

Quite a few of you have written here and elsewhere, pondering the question of how best to shelve or display your copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK. This is how Robert Edwards of Falls Church, Virginia, is displaying his volume. Talk about pride of place! Thank you, Robert!

And here is the shelf where John McMasters of Brooklyn, New York is keeping his copy of the Bava book. It's a personal treat for me to see all the bookshelves in the backgrounds of the shots we've posted here -- every single one reflects good taste -- but, for me anyway, this photo embodies not only what it documents but also a most wondrous compliment. I must say, of all the bookshelves I've seen in the incoming photos, I'm most envious of this little shelf of John's. First edition hardcovers of GRAVITY'S RAINBOW and JR? Get out of here! Not to mention... well, just click on the photo and read the enlarged book spines yourself. It's wonderful company in which to find one's work included.
And finally for today... So far, everyone seems in strong support of the extraordinary protective measures that Donna and her team have applied to the mailing. But, in consideration of the book's weight, VW's own Audio Watchdog Doug Winter has suggested we might want to consider an alternative method of mailing...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Roy Colt's Got His!

Dear Tim,

The Mario Bava book arrived yesterday, and it is fabulous! I can't think of enough superlatives to describe how impressed I am with your magnificent work!

Thanks a million,
Brett Halsey

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Three More Happy Recipients

My former CINEFANTASTIQUE colleague (now FILMFAX reviewer) David J. Hogan -- whose name we also venerate around here as the author of DARK ROMANCE: SEXUALITY IN THE HORROR FILM -- hoists his copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK in the well-stocked personal library where it will soon be shelved. (I did ask, and DJH confirms that the framed art behind him is indeed an original Carmine Infantino title page, inked by Joe Giella, that originally appeared in a 1963 issue of THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD!)

Thanks to David's daughter Rachel for snapping this photo. "She thinks I'm silly," David writes, "but she'll change her tune when I show her BLACK SUNDAY!"

A sweet Dylanesque flash card held by John Linton of Rockville, Maryland, who poses proudly with his cherished copies of the Bava book AND the Franco book.
John writes: "You asked us to mention any special circumstances, birthdays, etc, surrounding the arrival of the book. I'm not Jewish, but my Christian fellowship celebrates the Biblical festivals rather than Christmas, etc. We especially celebrate Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, as the Christmas season, and we give gifts. Guess what season it is now? Yesterday evening began Rosh Hashanah, the start of the season we know as the Feast of Tabernacles, during which time we believe that Christ was born. What's funny is, I thought it was next week. I had to work late last night, and when I picked my son up at my church, that's when I found out it was Rosh Hashanah. And when I got home, there was my wonderful Tabernacles present! Absolutely impeccable, scriptural timing! Thank You Lord! And thank you Tim and Donna!"
Funny thing is, last night Donna and I received a phone call from THE WHIP AND THE BODY star Daliah Lavi -- who, of course, was born in Israel -- and she commented on the same happy timing! (And strangely enough, if you do a web search for Bava, you're going to find two things: references to the filmmaker and references to ancient Talmudic texts!)

And lastly, for today, here is Richard Hardbattle in sunny Caerphilly in South Wales, posing with his copy in front of what could almost pass for a Mario Bava glass matte illusion... but it's the real thing! That's Caerphilly Castle in the background. What grand adventures Daliah Lavi's Nevenka might have had there!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

More Satisfied Bava Book Customers

Comics artist Neil Vokes -- the Rondo-award-winning illustrator of THE BLACK FOREST and THE BLACK FOREST 2: CASTLE OF SHADOWS, as well as a proud contributor to the new Terence Fisher issue of Richard Klemensen's wonderful LITTLE SHOPPE OF HORRORS -- sent us this impressive shot. It illustrates how MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK has brought some much-needed color into his black-and-white world.

Here's Jason Meredith of Sweden juggling infant Gusten (he's got his dad's eyes!) and the Bava book both at once! It can be done, with a little help on the side from son Viggo.

"Wow," writes Eric Eyster. "I leave the room for 5 minutes and my 15yr old (all black) chihuahua (aptly named Tura -- go-go Satana!) flips to her favorite chapter (I Tre Volti Della Paura) and gets her Bava on!"

And finally, let's swing over to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where Dave Johnston points merrily to his name -- added in the author's own hand to the List of Patrons by special arrangement.

For those interested in seeing still more examples, pop on over to Douglas Waltz's blog Forty Five, where Day 80 is devoted to the arrival of the Bava book. Doug photographs each of his four kids posing with the book, little Dan even balancing it on his head (!), and they are quite the delightful brood.
Never fear. More still to come. Maybe yours!
Donna and I can't remember any other book ever being greeted online in quite this way, and we're deeply touched by every picture we've received. It's amazing for us to see this evidence of our long-gestating twelve-pounder as it makes its way around the world, to towns and countries we've never seen and may never see. It seems to me there's a fabulous human interest news story in all this -- "32 Year Book Project Prompts Photo Phrenzy" -- but for the life of me, I don't know where to pitch it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Letter from New York

September 10, 2007

Dear Tim,

Really delighted to find waiting for me the beautiful volume of Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark.

Thanks for your inscription. The book is a treat and really worth the wait!

I only met Mario Bava once, in Rome, in 1979. But I know that he would be moved and honored by such a work full of love and devotion - as your volume is.

All the best,

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Book Patrons Chime In!

VW department head illustrator Liz Bradford -- who, with her husband Mike is included among the proud number known as the Bava Book's List of Patrons -- wraps her arms gleefully around her new arrival!

Matt Crossman -- another satisfied Bava Book Patron -- poses with his copy in front of an attractively shelved set of VW back issues in our exclusive black-and-silver binders!

For another couple of heartwarming pics, check out Chris Stangl's blog The Exploding Kinematograph here! He wrote a terrific piece yesterday about getting the book in the mail and how to go about reading it. I love the shot of him staring slackjawed at the shot of Mary Arden that opens the chapter on BLOOD AND BLACK LACE; it's one of my favorite introductory spreads in the book too.

Great pictures, everybody! Keep 'em coming.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Heavy Reading

It was bound to happen. In my e-mail box today:
"Subscriber and Bava book patron Marty Langford here. My daughter was still recovering from the CRYSTAL LAKE MEMORIES tragedy a few months ago. With the Bava book, she never had a chance. Feel free to post on your blog/Mobius boards. Treat it as a warning for all with small children."

Bava Book Conquers Dallas

A fabulous photo of Justin Frank of Dallas, TX posing with an object found on his doorstep yesterday morning.
And what's your verdict on the book, Justin?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Joy of Receiving

All around the world, people are finally receiving their Bava books. The response -- in the form of online postings and personal e-mails -- has been very gratifying for Donna and me, but the most endearing trait of this phenomenon, for us, has been how so many recipients have taken the time to photograph themselves with their new prized possession.

There are many reasons why this might be happening. They might want to convey visually to other people the sheer size and heft of the book. They may want to preserve the moment for themselves because it's one they've long awaited. It's also possible that they are responding to the way Donna and I involved them in our process, with the posted photos of the book's creation, shipping out, and delivery back. Whatever the reason, these are the closest thing to baby pictures my wife and I will ever know from our partnership, and it makes us feel great joy to see our extended Bava book family sharing in its arrival.

The photo above is one of several posted by our friend Jeremy Richey at his blog Moon in the Gutter. We were touched by the fact that he blogged about it and made the opening of his parcel so dramatic.

This fellow with the tidy workplace and the cool DIABOLIK showpieces is Bart van der Put of Amsterdam, who was previously pictured on this blog as a visitor to Mario Bava's gravesite. Click on it and it will become so enormous you'll feel like you're in the room.

We've also seen other pictures online of people proudly posing with their books, but we don't know them personally and so don't feel right about right-clicking them for redisplay here without their permission. But we'd love to post more! In short, e-mail us a photo of yourself with your Bava book and -- who knows? -- it may show up here in a future blog.

We also find ourselves amazed by stories of the book's good timing: We've already heard from four or five recipients that the book, which they ordered years ago (in some cases for their birthday), finally arrived... on their birthday. Another recipient is finding solace in the book while grieving the death of a recently deceased relative. And recipient Henrik Hemlin, a practicing numerologist, wrote with this fascinating tid-bit:

"I once asked you about Stephen Forsyth's birthdate, as I suspected that he was a 7, just like Bava. The only two 7s among Bava's stars I could previously find were his friends Laura Betti and Cameron Mitchell. Checking Forsyth's bio in ATCOTD, I figured right. In addition, Mario was in a 7-year when HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON was filmed (7-30-1968 = 61 = 7). Add the 9 for September when shooting started, and he was also in a '7-month.' And here comes the punch line: the HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON chapter in your book begins on page 777."