July 31 marked the 100th anniversary of the birth of director Mario Bava. If this means something to you, feel free to skip the rest of this blog. If the name is unfamiliar to you, let me bend your ear for just a few minutes. Here are just a few of the reasons why horror (and, to a lesser degree, SF) owes him so much.
1. Black Sunday (1960). Bava’s directorial debut kicks off the age of Italian horror cinema. The film’s extraordinary beauty would be reason enough to celebrate it, but it also brought horror stardom to Barbara Steele. Steele is one of the few women to become a horror icon for playing both victim and villain — sometimes both in the same film, as is the case here. [Read more…]