5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Baron Blood (DVD)I'm quite new to Mario Bava's films, and thanks to my film historian acquaintance, I have become more well-versed with this director's body of work and have some of his other films at home, for my viewing pleasure. I have to admit that I have watched works of the other Italian horror masters' such as Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento, and found those films to be a bit too much for my tastes, with lots of gore and sexuality, but I've come to really appreciate Bava's earlier movies for their great sense of Gothic atmosphere as well as creepiness, not to mention the attention paid to characterization.
In "Baron Blood", the story begins with a young graduate student, Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) who is visiting his ancestral country, Austria. Peter lives with his uncle and meets an attractive woman, Eva (Elke Sommer) who is helping with the restoration efforts of a castle that used to belong to Peter's ancestor, Baron von Kleist, a 16th century nobleman who was evil incarnate. Peter is obsessed with unearthing the Baron's past, and has brought with him an old scroll which contains an incantation (and counter spell) that will awake the Baron's spirit from its fitful slumber. Peter convinces Eva to go to the Baron's castle and recite the incantation, not realizing that they are about to unleash a malevolent spirit who mercilessly kills the innocent. The rest of the story deals with Peter and Eva's efforts to banish the Baron's spirit to the hell that it came from.
I love Bava's attention to details and atmosphere, something I highly prize in horror movies (a quality that is sadly lacking in many contemporary horror movies) - from the first glimpse of the Baron's castle, a sense of pervasive menace permeates the film, and the viewer knows that sinister forces are afoot. The make-up of the Baron in his monstrous guise may be cheesy-looking, but very reminiscent of older monster movie classics, and I loved the sense of nostalgia evoked by the Baron's horrific visage. Highly recommended for fans of classic horror and Italian horror. And now, I'm off to watch "Black Sabbath" and "Black Sunday"!
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 30, 2009 7:34:08 PM PDT
Chip Kaufmann says:
While BARON BLOOD is not my favorite Bava film (that distinction belongs to KILL BABY KILL), I have always considered it a template as to how far a horror film should go. For my taste, it has just the right amount of violence and gore to go with great atmospherics. The films of Argento and especially Fulci are just too over the top for me although I know that places me in the minority among today's horror aficionados. I'll be curious to see what you think of BLACK SUNDAY and BLACK SABBATH.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 30, 2009 8:02:49 PM PDT
Z Hayes says:
Chip - I've watched Fulci's "The House by the Cemetery" and "The Beyond", and realized that type of horror was just a bit much for me. Argento fares better, and I count 'Phenomena" as a cult favorite, a grim fantasy starring a young Jennifer Connelly and Donald Pleasance.
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