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Friday, July 03, 2009

The Roundtable: Week 9 - Your Contributions

"Since I've just spent the weekend in the company of Ruggero Deodato and Lamberto Bava (more on this later!), then the question is easy this week: What is your favourite films of both these fine directors?"

Keith Brown (Giallo Fever)

My favourite Deodato has to be Cannibal Holocaust. It's an obvious choice, admittedly, but one that I think is warranted. It's a brutally intelligent film, and the one that he's forever going to be known for. If it, Last Cannibal World and House on the Edge of the Park were ruled out of the equation, I would go for Waves of Lust, or class war on a boat.

My favourite Bava film is The Midnight Killer / You'll Die at Midnight, with A Blade in the Dark a close second.

Matthew Bradford (Double O Section)

I just saw both of those guys at LA's Fangoria Con a few months ago! Both were extremely friendly and gracious, if not especially fluent in English. My favorite Deodato is easy: THE BARBARIANS! I love that movie. It's one of the most fun of the whole post-Conan 80s barbarian wave. And it really rises above its gimmick casting with some truly inspired sequences (like how the brothers are trained to hate each other for gladiatorial combat) and a surprisingly slick look.

I mean no offence to Lamberto Bava when I say that my favorite movie of his is one attributed to his father: Shock. It's no secret that Mario let Lamberto co-direct, and I think the son really shows his own style--in a good way. The movie has more in common stylistically with A Blade In the Dark (which would be my second choice) than, say, Bay of Blood. I think it's a fitting collaboration that essentially launched one career and bid farewell to another.

Kit Nygaard-Gavin

For Lamberto Bava, it's quite a difficult one, because the quality of his work as director has really varied.

If it was a film where Lamberto has worked in a director's capacity but not alone, I would go for Mario Bava's last feature, which he codirected with Lamberto, being LA VENERE D'ILLE (which for some reason people translate as THE VENUS OF THE ISLAND). I really enjoy this movie, because I enjoyed reading the short story by Merimée on which it is based when I was a teenager. That and the film has lots of ambiance, is extremely well shot, and features an excellent performance by Daria Nicolodi.

If it is Lamberto on his own, I do tend to enjoy his horror movies/gialli he made in the early 1980's. I am not really a fan of DEVIL FISH (though the cast is good and there are some interesting side plots), and I really don't like BLAST FIGHTER. MACABRE is an excellent nasty little movie, which an interesting story line and a really good performance by Bernice Stegers in the lead role. But, though the performance's aren't quite as strong, I would have to go for A BLADE IN THE DARK. I really enjoy this thriller, it has all these wonderful little nods by Lamberto to set pieces in his fathers works, such as KILL BABY KILL, FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (replacing marbles with tennis balls), BLOOD AND BLACK LACE, etc. It's also a giallo (a genre I love), and is really good fun to watch. There is some wonderfully bad dialogue ("You're a're a female", and something about being "a vacant nerd"), a not too bad score, and yeah, A BLADE IN THE DARK is my choice for Lamberto as sole director.

Having met and being in contact with most of the cast members adds some interest/novelty to the movie too I hasten to add.

As for Deodato, that's another difficult one. Would you be shocked if I said LAST FEELINGS? Thought as much, so I won't - though I admit I have sat through that turgid melodrama. I do have a soft spot for JUNGLE HOLOCAUST, not because I particularly like the film, but because it was the first DVD that I ever worked on when I started out in the world of "extras" for DVDs. I have memories of watching that film and conducting that commentary that will stick in the memory for a long time yet... but that's not so much to do with the film.

It would be un-PC to to say CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST, though I do admire that film as it delivers lots of shocks and is, in fact, extremely efficient and very well made and delivers completely on all fronts - and then some. Well, PC generally doesn't have anything to do with making choices so I am going to go for THE HOUSE ON THE EDGE OF THE PARK (again, I know quite a few cast members and, of course, I have met and know Deodato quite well too).

HOUSE again is a shocking movie but it has a good cast, is well acted and has an austere, claustrophobic atmosphere which, although it opens with a shocking opening, continually plays with the viewers expectations. House on the Edge of the Park it is.

KingMob (Dear Bastards)

I'll have to go with The House On The Edge Of The Park from Deodato, as it's the only film I've seen of his. Sorry, but I've yet to steal myself for the animal torture of Cannibal Holocaust, and I have a copy of Cut And Run that I just haven't gotten around to. David Hess stretches his acting chops playing a creep and you get all the unpleasantness that comes with that sort of thing.

Bava's Demons comes to mind first, just because it's the first film I saw by him, though it's in stiff competition with A Blade In The Dark, which I really liked in spite of a cameo from that little blond weasel from The House By The Cemetery. Demons is just a lot of fun because it defies any kind of real logic and just runs with the concept of a bunch of people dying or being possessed in a theater.

Kim (Cinebeats)

It's nearly impossible to name just one film by each director so I'll cheat and name two.

My favorite Deodato films are the classic Cannibal Holocaust (it also has one of my favorite Riz Ortolani scores) and Phantom of Death with an incredible cast that includes Michael York, Edwige Fenech and the late great Donald Pleasence.

As for Lamberto Bava, it's really tough to just name two films from his impressive filmography, but I'm going to go with his excellent Macabro and the original Demons movie. Both are truly terrific! Lamberto Bava often gets overshadowed by his more famous father, but I love his films.

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