KILL, BABY…KILL! [Operazione paura]
DIR Mario Bava | Italy | 1966 | 83 min
Forget the ridiculous title – this exquisite Gothic brings together several of filmmaker Mario Bava’s major themes: a murdered child who returns from the grave to exact vengeance, and a village blighted by its own ignorant evil. One of the most atmospheric, effective ghost stories ever filmed. Another of Bava’s efforts that was plagued with money problems, you would never know it from his use of the evocative, antiquated locations and the astonishingly superior camerawork. At times it assumes the hypnotic complexities of an M.C. Escher drawing, suffused from beginning to end with another superb Carlo Rustichelli score. With Erika Blanc, Giacomo Rossi-Stuart. (Note courtesy of American Cinematheque). In Italian with English Subtitles
DIR Nobuhiko Obayashi | Japan | 1977 | 87 min
How to describe Nobuhiko Obayashi’s 1977 movie HOUSE? As a psychedelic ghost tale? A stream-of-consciousness bedtime story? An episode of Scooby Doo as directed by Mario Bava? Any of the above will do for this hallucinatory head trip about a schoolgirl who travels with six classmates to her ailing aunt’s creaky country home, only to come face to face with evil spirits, bloodthirsty pianos, and a demonic housecat. Too absurd to be genuinely terrifying, yet too nightmarish to be merely comic, HOUSE seems like it was beamed to Earth from another planet. Or perhaps the mind of a child: the director fashioned the script after the eccentric musings of his eleven-year-old daughter, then employed all the tricks in his analog arsenal (mattes, animation, and collage) to make them a visually astonishing, raucous reality. Never before released in the United States, and a bona fide cult classic in the making, HOUSE is one of the most exciting genre discoveries in years. In Japanese with English subtitles.