Tuesday, January 30, 2007


In today's mail, I was surprised and pleased to find an advance copy of Dark Sky Films' KILL BABY KILL (no punctuation on the cover). I had some involvement with this disc, and since KBK is my favorite of all Mario Bava movies, I'm feeling new-papa proud. Since I can't very well pass out cigars, I thought I would pop the disc into the old computer and treat Video WatchBlog visitors to some early screen grabs, which you can savor in anticipation of its March 27th release.

This DVD marks the belated debut of the audio commentary I originally recorded back in the summer of 2000 for an Image Entertainment release that failed to materialize. Since recording the track, I found a few minor errors in my talk that I feared would make the commentary unusable. However, after consulting my transcript, I realized that it could still be used, given some easily-made edits. So those errors are now gone, with the exception of my mispronunciation of the film's shooting location of Calcata as ""Calpata." Sorry about that, but when I interviewed Lamberto Bava about this movie, that's how he remembered the name of the village! (Mind you, this track was recorded years before most of us had heard of Google!)

As you can see, the anamorphic image looks bright and crisp, with the full frame revealed. For these grabs, I've cropped out the slight black horizontal bars at the top and bottom of the frame, but they are present on the disc, testifying to the presence of the frame in its entirety. I'm so accustomed to the crude, cheap processing of the 35mm prints made for US distribution by Europix, which gave the film an even more dreamlike atmosphere, I'll probably never get used to seeing this movie look so brilliant. There's a shot in this transfer where the Baroness Graps points to an old photograph, and the crepe-like textures on the back of actress Giovanna Galletti's hand are incredibly vivid. "Vivid," too, is the word for the colors on display; it wasn't until seeing this version that I became aware of how extensively Bava had used emerald green gels as a signal of the cast members coming into the presence of the Uncanny. By stepping through the reveal of Giacomo Rossi-Stuart's doppelgänger, I noticed that the green light that suddenly illuminates the side of his face flares up a beat or two after he turns to face the hero -- as if it was already on, waiting for a piece of cardboard to drop away, or a lighting "barndoor" to open and expose it.

Talk about all the colors of the dark: look at this amazing atmosphere...

And this shot below, which seems to exist only to present action in most copies of the film I've seen before, but which here exists to encompass an astounding diversity of color...

The disc also includes the dream-come-true featurette "Kill, Bava, Kill," in which David Gregory takes Lamberto Bava back to the film's original filming locations -- it's a nominee for next year's Rondo Award for Best DVD Extra, to be sure. There is also a trailer and a stills gallery that includes the full set of German lobby cards (in Germany, the film is known as DIE TOTEN AUGEN DES DR. DRACULA, or "The Dead Eyes of Dr. Dracula"), some extremely rare Italian fotobusti (I don't have these myself!), and other goodies. The unsigned back cover copy, I hear, was written by VW's own Richard Harland Smith.

I also contributed liner notes to this release, which I was told were going to be used. I don't know what happened, but they don't appear to be present on the disc itself nor included in paper form. That's no reason why you should go without -- as an exclusive for WatchBlog readers, I'll post them here at the time of the disc's release.

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