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Mario Bava

La Ragazza Che Sapeva Troppo – Mario Bava (1963)

I actually expected a “giallo” film. One of these 1960’ies Italian bloody horror films. In fact, Bava made a crime ‘whodunnit’.

A perfectly Italian speaking American tourist comes to Rome to visit an acquaintance. The woman dies instantly, on her way to the hospital Nora is not only robbed, but also witnesses a murder. Since nobody believes her, she starts her own investigation in what most likely is a serial killer.

Bava made a moody black and white film with his usual beautiful women and a very descent atmosphere. The supposed surprises are probably no surprises for an audience that is used to more elaborate riddles, but even when you have guessed the outcome early on, “The Evil Eye” remains a watch-worthy classic.

The original title fits the film a lot better than the international title by the way. It translates to: “The Girl Who Knew Too Much”.

Schock * Mario Bava (1977)

In the 35 years that have passed since this film came out, countless horrors with similar themes have been made, so the story of “Schock” is clear from the first scene. Dora Baldini (played by the beautiful Daria Nicolodi) moves back to the house where she used to live with her late husband, this time with her new husband and little son. Naturally the house has to be haunted or the boy. I am not going to tell you which is the scenario, but it is needless to say that Dora first is uncomfortable in the new and old environment and the discomfort leads to horror. Bava managed to make a good, pressing atmosphere and actually the predictability adds to the sensation. “Schocker” is not overly bloody, has a few interesting scenes and, like I said, a good atmosphere. A classic worth watching.

Diabolik * Mario Bava (1968)

“Diabolik”, or “Danger: Diabolik” is a classic comic-to-film, the first and the best according to some. It is one of those films of its time, a bit of “Danger Man”, “The Avengers” and “James Bond”. There are a few differences between this film and the other titles that I mentioned. In “Diabolik” the hero is actually the bad guy, or the other way around, the bad guy is presented as the hero. “Diabolik” is a thief living in a ridiculous subterranean mansion, not unlike the “Batcave”, owning an unlimited number of black and of white Jaguar E-types, and having a preposterously sexy girlfriend. First Diabolik manages to steal 10 million dollars, later a massive amount of gold. Being a comic made into a film, there are of course some fantastic elements and strange humour. The colours are vivid, the acting funny and the ladies sexy. It is one of those films that you just should see some time. With it being available on DVD this will be a lot easier.