Tuesday, 3 March 2015
Sunday, 1 March 2015
Habitually stretching the meagre budget to achieve unmatched visual splendour Mario Bava brings us face to face with disembodied terror in his much-praised ghost story, Operazione Paura. To an extent, this 'abstract evil' does in fact have a face - that of a ghostly blonde girl, presented by the director in a highly stylized fashion. Bava chooses to show just the creepy child's stockinged feet, or a pale hand. Often the little Melissa Graps is shown from the back, or standing in the distance, or else her pale face gradually appearing beyond the windowpane, almost featureless save for huge staring eyes. The ghost child laughs mechanically and is oddly passive. The deadly spectre's mere presence is enough to make those who see her go impale themselves on the nearest spike. Scenes depicting terrified victims possessed by an unseen entity which forces them to take their own lives provide Mario Bava with ample opportunity for putting on dazzling displays of light and shadow.
Tuesday, 24 February 2015
Two-fisted comissario Berni (Maurizio Merli) heads to a wintry, gritty NYC to bring an exiled Italian mafia lord (Mario Merola) to justice in this somewhat slow-moving offering from genre specialist Umberto Lenzi. It's certainly entertaining seeing the trigger-happy Merli with his moustache and his violent ways land in the U.S. but, sadly, story-wise Da Corleone a Brooklyn is quite predictable and underwhelming. Lenzi excels at staging sudden outburtsts of violence and exhilarating chases and hasn't got the time for much else. The actors are left to their own devices in this sketchy tale of honour and betrayal which is propelled ahead not through dramatic storytelling but by fast zooms and generous helpings of Micalizzi's overly-emotional score laid over the travelogue footage. Biagio Pelligra and Mario Merola steal the show from the bland Merli. DoP Guglielmo Mancori, who´s capable of regular miracles - see Lenzi's visually superb Spasmo or Fulci's underrated Manhattan Baby - does a fair job framing the snowy NYC streets and dingy hotel room interiors, but the circumstances clearly weren't allowing him to create the distinct visuals he's known for. If you can abide by dreary sets and rudimentary psychology behind all the violence, Da Corleone a Brooklyn can be enjoyed for it's distinct, edgy feel and some expertly staged action scenes.