2nd Night Of Bava

Written by Joe D on March 17th, 2008

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Here they are in the Car!

I just got back from The American Cinematheque where I watched Mario Bava’s Kidnapped and Shock. Kidnapped is a clever script about a heist that goes bad. The criminals, after killing a few people (including a female hostage) commandeer a car being driven by a man with an unconcious young boy wrapped in a blanket on the seat next to him. “I’ve got to take my son to the hospital!” the anguished man yells but the cruel bandits force him to drive them to their destination. The majority of the movie takes place in this car yet it is never boring! And it looks like it was done in the car on locations around Rome, not in a studio. It’s different from all other Bava films, the maestro did it again.
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Il Maestro, Mario Bava!

The story about this film is interesting. Right after filming, the producer died in an auto wreck. Due to the exegenicies of Italian law the film languished in a vault for about 20 years. Bava was unable to edit the film and finish it. He left detailed instructions for the editing but before the film was liberated from legal limbo, he died. A few years ago a version was produced and released on DVD called Rabid Dogs. There are a few differences that I noticed the biggest one being the score for the film. Stelvio Cipriani did both versions but I vastly prefer the Rabid Dogs score. It sounds like synths but it worked so well, maybe it was only meant as a temp score, who knows. Also Kidnapped ends with a song over the end titles that is so wrong for the film. There are some other differences but my overall impression is that I thought Rabid Dogs much more impressive. It could be that I saw that version first and was taken along for the ride, not knowing what was coming next but I think it’s just more tense, more claustrophobic, more insane than Kidnapped. I really believe the music has a lot to do with it as well. I think Anchor Bay has released a DVD with both versions so you can check them out for yourself and make your own decision. Let me know what you think!
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Shock or Beyond The Door is billed as Bava’s last film, sometimes as co-directed by Lamberto Bava, Mario’s son. I guess Bava wanted to give his son a start at directing, kind of the way Riccardo Freda did with him on Caltiki, The Immortal Monster. It’s an interesting film, not on a level with Bava’s early horror, but for me a great example of creating horror with minimal special effects, with imagination and creative use of the camera. Also the Bava archtypal haunted child. And a rat that steals the show.
The Bava Fest continues, I’m going on Saturday to see The Whip And The Body and Kill Baby Kill!. See You all there!

Rabid Dogs Trailer featuring the Cool Music!

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