Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Brazillions of Videos and One Big Book

Neil Snowdon of Devon, UK, sent this picture along with the following letter:

So, this is me, with the Bava book, outside my rental shop 'Brazil'. The camera on my phone is none too special, so you can only just make out the rapidly thinning shelves of stock in background. We always have something on in the window screening silently to passers-by... this particular evening was sort of special.

Thanks again for the book, I'm loving it.

Explaining it to customers who ask about the monster on the shop counter, the nearest I can come is to tell them to imagine Christopher Frayling's biography of Sergio Leone SOMETHING TO DO WITH DEATH, his follow-up ONCE UPON A TIME IN ITALY and his earlier book about the history of the Spaghetti Western all rolled into one, and they might be somewhere in the ballpark of what this book is; the scope it covers, the detail contained, its readable yet informed and incisive text... Really, it is second to none.

I know you probably don't want to think about it too much, but I have to wonder if you've given any consideration to a paperback edition? Whilst this is absolutely the definitive form for the book, I can imagine that it would still work as a text-only paperback with a couple of colour sections... I only say this because I want so dearly for those who don't know Bava to be able to read this wonderful book in accompaniment to their discovering the films themselves... the only stumbling block currently being that the price is, perhaps, prohibitive to all but the most dedicated fan. A future project?

As I say, I'm loving the book. It is utterly fascinating, warm and engaging... and of course, a feast for the eyes. Congratulations to you both, as ever, and, as ever, thank you.

All the best,
Neil Snowdon

TIM LUCAS RESPONDS: Thanks for the great picture and kind words, Neil. It's a lucky neighborhood that plays host to a shop like yours; I wish I could drop in sometime. We looked into the pricing for a theoretical softcover edition of the book and it would cost exactly one dollar less per copy than it did to produce the hardcover. So why bother? As for a streamlined edition with more emphasis on the text and less on the visual representation, we're not ready to go in that direction just yet. The book is still selling very well for one of its cost, and coming to the attention of new people all the time, especially as it continues to collect new awards. Donna and I are interested in making MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK accessible to larger groups of people, but with its original impact as well-preserved as possible, and we are still brainstorming about the best way to make that happen.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

Last evening, Donna and I had the pleasure of being invited to the home of Larry & Charlotte Thomas for dinner, along with our friends Joe and Patty Busam, Michael Schlesinger (the guest of honor, making his annual visit to Cincinnati) and Teri Riegler. A longtime VW subscriber, Larry Thomas used to manage Cincinnati's much-missed Movieola repertory theater, still works as a film booker, and, for many years, he's been on the staff at local radio station WGUC-FM, for whose website he writes movie reviews.

Eons ago, back in 1977 to be precise, Larry earned my undying gratitude for giving me -- a total stranger -- a lift when I needed it most. Because we were mutual friends of Mike Schlesinger, he agreed to drive me to a preview screening of Mario Bava's final theatrical release, BEYOND THE DOOR 2 (aka SHOCK), which I was understandably desperate to see. For almost twenty years of the Bava book's incubation, it remained the only Mario Bava film I'd had the pleasure of seeing in an indoor theater. When we were preparing to send Larry his pre-ordered copy of the book, I took great satisfaction in thanking him for that ride in my inscription.

Larry never sent a picture of himself holding the book into this blog, but we took our digital camera to dinner, which allowed Donna to snap the Picture That Never Was for greedy posterity. (That's me, perched like a spider on Larry's shoulder.) The picture turned out well, but, I must say, it comes in a distant second to the delicious Italian meal that we had -- Charlotte's spaghetti, Donna's garlic and bacon-cheese-onion bread, Mike and Teri's salad, and Patty's chocolate and pistachio cannoli. I told Patty that her cannoli should only be served in an opium den-like setting, where people can lie back and zone out as they eat them slowly. They're that sinful. All this, plus two Monster Kids of the Year in the house! (Joe and Mike, who is this year's Rondo Award honoree in this coveted category.) A dandy time was had by all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bava Book Wins IPPY Award

We're pleased to announce that MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK has been awarded a Bronze Medal in the "Performing Arts" category of the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Awards, also known as the IPPY Awards. This article will give you all the details about the award and our fellow finalists.

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Bava Book Semi-Finalist for IPPY Award

Independent Publisher has announced MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK as one of the semi-finalists in the "Performing Arts" category for the 2008 Independent Publisher Book Award, also known as the IPPY Award. The winners of the gold, silver and bronze medals in all 63 categories will be announced on May 23.

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Bava Book Featured on New Bava DVD

Isn't this a great picture of Luigi Cozzi and Lamberto Bava posing with MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK at the world-famous Profondo Rosso store? Ah, but it isn't a picture! It's actually a frame grab from a 9m interview featurette included on a new Italian "Special Edition" DVD of I TRE VOLTI DELLA PAURA (aka BLACK SABBATH), the first-ever release from a new company called Sinister Film. The book sits in front of them for the whole 9m, and sometimes gets opened to share glimpses of the chapter devoted to this classic horror anthology, starring Boris Karloff.
The disc is Italian-language only, but the extras are certain to tempt hardcore Bava fans. There is an impeccable anamorphic transfer of the Italian version; a lively feature-length audio commentary by Lamberto and Luigi (unlike his earlier laconic commentaries, here an enthusiastic Lamberto almost never stops talking!); a 38m documentary utilizing Bava TV interviews to "comment" on scenes from various films; 15m of "deleted" scenes taken from the American BLACK SABBATH version; photo and poster galleries; a 16-page illustrated booklet containing testimonials from the likes of Jacques Tourneur, Riccardo Freda, Roger Corman, Joe Dante, Pupi Avati and many others; and some additional featurettes ported over from VCI's BLOOD AND BLACK LACE disc, including interviews with actors Cameron Mitchell and Mary Dawne Arden and composer Carlo Rustichelli.
Where can you find it? I got mine at Bloodbuster, a reliable Italian DVD website that takes PayPal. It took a couple of weeks to reach me, but it was worth the wait.
And that's not all the happy news about this Bava classic I have to share. David Sehring, the head of Dish Network's Monsters HD channel, has written to tell me that BLACK SABBATH -- the film's much-coveted, never-on-DVD, English-language version -- will be making its high-definition debut on Monsters HD sometime this summer!

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

Two Celebrated Bava Book Patrons

Jim Knusch of Fort Jefferson, NY writes: "Here's a photo of myself, Jim Knusch (aka Professor Kinema), with Jean-Claude Romer in his residence in Paris enjoying the Mario Bava book he waited so patiently for. It's become one of the jewels of his collection."

Both Jim and Jean-Claude's names appear in the Patrons section of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK, meaning that their early orders helped Video Watchdog to finance its publication. We're grateful to them both, but I am particularly honored to have Jean-Claude's name included as his seminal magazine MIDI-MINUIT FANTASTIQUE was a major inspiration for VIDEO WATCHDOG (and for CINEFANTASTIQUE before it). Thanks to Professor Kinema for passing along this great photo!

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