Monday, November 26, 2007

One of PASTE's Best

Gary Svehla has written to inform us that MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK has been included in the current issue of PASTE, the music and pop culture magazine, as one of the Best Books of 2007 -- right next to the latest Harry Potter!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Operazione Webcam

Donna and I had an amazing morning as we were interviewed about the Bava book, via webcam, for attendees of the Trieste Science Fiction Film Festival. The event was organized by Martina Palaskov Begov and (Bava book research associate) Lorenzo Codelli with Lamberto Bava, Joe Dante (who's receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award this evening), and critics Kim Newman and Alan Jones in attendance. There were a few worrisome glitches in the connection at first, but in the end it came off very well, and there seemed to be a sizeable turnout for this legitimately science fictional event. (Joe said that the webcam hook-up made him feel like a character in PLANET OF THE VAMPIRES.) It was a moving occasion for Lamberto and for me, but there was also lots of laughter and some wonderful kudos from the folks on the dais. Our warm thanks to Martina and Lorenzo for realizing this important occasion for us.

We successfully recorded the event by training our camcorder on a second computer screen -- the widescreen picture is strangely cropped at times, but it's all there. Once the footage is edited, we'll find a way of making it available to you online.

In the meantime, the first two parts of a webcam interview with us, conducted by Colin Reboy of Studio, are now up for viewing. The interview mostly addresses VIDEO WATCHDOG magazine and my reviewing habits, but Chapter Two also touches on the Bava book and the challenge of completing it. You can access the current and forthcoming portions of the interview by clicking here.

Labels: , ,

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..."

Labels: , ,

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Bava Book Goes Canadian

Tim Hammell of Calgary, Alberta -- who tells us he actually gave up a tooth in order to acquire his copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK -- poses with said copy in the most Bavian location he could find. Watch out, Tim: I think I see a white ball rolling across the ground behind you...

Drazen Kozjan of Etobicoke, Ontario happened to receive his copy on Halloween. He writes: "While carving the pumpkin Halloween morning, I was interrupted by a knock at the door by the postman with a box containing none other than MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK! I put down the knife to thumb quickly through all of the glorious color-drenched pages and look forward to a time after my next deadline to start reading this beauty! I'm in awe. Bravo and Thank you, Tim and Donna!! You've made this a very special Halloween! PS: The scar is my attempt at being a victim of GOKE - BODY SNATCHER FROM HELL."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Two More Sets of Shelves After My Own Heart

First of all, my apologies to Alessio Bogani of Italy, who sent us this photograph for posting on September 12. It somehow got lost in the deluge of congratulatory e-mails, but I found it again while going through recent correspondence in search of material for VW #135's "Letterbox." Sorry to make you wait so long, Alessio! I admire your video shelf!

Alessio also sent along this drawing. He didn't include any annotation about it, so your guess is as good as mine. Perhaps it's a reflection of how overwhelmed he felt by the size of the "Bava beast."

Incidentally, if you happened to send us a photo of yourself and your Bava book and it has somehow failed to materialise here as expected, drop me a line at and let me know. If one slipped through the cracks, there may be others.

And here's the wonderfully named Talon Foxmarnick, nine-year-old daughter of Bava book patron Tom Foxmarnick. Talon says: “I love Archie, Lil’ Lulu and MARIO BAVA!!!” -- a new trinity of the arts that gives me renewed hope for the future. You're a lucky girl, Talon... imagine growing up in a household with a bookshelf like that! This photo is also a joy because it gives me (and you) a glimpse into how Tom stores his back issues of VIDEO WATCHDOG -- in the deluxe binders available exclusively from the VW website!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

New Bava Links

CINCINNATI POST columnist Jan Perry is one of Donna's and my dearest local friends. A couple of months ago, she actually appeared on our doorstep to roll up her sleeves and assist with the packing and shipping of the Bava book! More recently, Jan interested the paper in featuring a story on us and the Bava book, to which end she came over a few weeks ago to interview us. We saw her again on Halloween, at which time she was still in the dark about when her story was going to run... but she found out the following day that it actually ran last Monday, October 29! So here's a belated link to THE POST's pre-Halloween coverage of a a certain Cincinnati couple who made good. Thank you, Jan!

Also, Anchor Bay's new MARIO BAVA COLLECTION VOLUME 2 and ERIK THE CONQUEROR are beginning to be reviewed online. Here are links I've found to reviews of the COLLECTION and ERIK by one of my favorite cyber-critics, DVD Savant Glenn Erickson.

Yesterday, Donna spent the entire day designing a full-page color advertisement for MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK that will appear in the next issue of Don Shay's respected special effects magazine CINEFEX. The end result is absolutely dazzling -- the most striking book ad I've ever seen, which I suppose is only appropriate.

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All the Colors of the Batman

Holy Small World! Acclaimed BATMAN artist Kelley Jones is not only a longtime VIDEO WATCHDOG subscriber, his name also appears on the List of Patrons inside MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK!

Kelley's latest Gotham City adventure is a seasonal one. "Batman Bloodlust" is one of thirteen new stories by various artists and writers featured in DC Comics' new omnibus INFINITE HALLOWEEN ($5.99), which streeted (appropriately) yesterday. Believe it or not, it's the story of how Robin became a vampire, and -- in a magnificent splash page whose impact is perfectly traumatic -- we see the young Dick Grayson traumatized as he bears witness to the Batman (a notorious king vampire) eating his parents.

We don't have the comic in hand yet, and neither does Kelley, but he was kind enough to send us this exclusive scan of his original, instant classic, black-and-white artwork for the page in question.

And why, you may ask, is it in question -- especially here, on the Bava book blog? Well... need I draw your attention to the poster so prominently placed on the wall of that alley?

I'm in a BATMAN comic. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

And how appropriate that the key image on that poster should come from BLACK SUNDAY [La maschera del demonio, 1960], the Bava film which so many people of my generation recall as a traumatizing matinee event?

Now for the pièce de resistance: all the colors of the Batman! Here's the same page in its full color respendence, just as we found it on the preview page, where you can also find several other color pages by different artists, as well as Dan Phillips' review of DC's INFINITE HALLOWEEN.


Labels: , , , ,