Friday, October 23, 2009

A Night in the Infernal Spotlight

Your faithful blogger poses outside the New Beverly Cinema with Irene Miracle and Keith Emerson, the respective star and composer of Dario Argento's INFERNO.
Photo (c) by Lee Christian. All other photos (c) by Tim Lucas.
Before the screening, a group of 22 attended a private dinner at India's Oven, a restaurant just a few doors down from the theater. Excellent food! Here Irene poses at table with her good friend of 30 years, VARIETY reporter and screenwriter F.X. Feeney.

DVD producer Perry Martin (who supervised my audio commentaries for Anchor Bay's MARIO BAVA COLLECTION sets) joined us for dinner with his charming wife Kelly Ann.

THE BOOK OF LISTS: HORROR author Scott Bradley generously hosted the dinner, much appreciated by all!

Irene poses with both sides of a special souvenir postcard that she produced as a giveaway item to all INFERNO attendees. Each card was personally autographed and promoted her recent directorial debut, DAWNLAND.

Author John Skipp (center) listens in as documentarian Howard S. Berger (right) invited Keith Emerson (left) to participate in his in-progress film about legendary music producer Joe Meek. In the background, Peter Avellino.

Your faithful blogger with his favorite Argento heroine.

The New Beverly marquee.

Irene basks in the opening night glory she missed in 1980, when INFERNO bypassed US theatrical release altogether.

Tim, Irene and Keith pose for more than a half-dozen photographers outside the theater following the screening.

And who should I discover standing outside in the fog but two of the event's front row attendees: FEAST director John Gulager and his legendary actor dad, Clu Gulager (RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD)!

Allison "Nekromistress" Grace poses in the evening fog with her copy of an original vinyl pressing of Keith Emerson's INFERNO soundtrack, freshly signed by Keith and Irene!

Irene Miracle poses with a special "Three Mothers" bouquet gifted her by three friends Amy Wallace, Scott Bradley and Tim Lucas. The bouquet featured three of each flower.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Coming Into Los Angeles

I'm very happy to announce that I will be making a personal appearance, one week from tonight, on October 17th, at the New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles.

I will have the privilege of introducing and conducting a Q&A with star Irene Miracle prior to a midnight screening of Dario Argento's INFERNO, the hypnotic second chapter in his "Three Mothers" trilogy. This film was also the last project Mario Bava worked on prior to his death in 1980, and I'll speak a bit about the anonymous special effects contributions that Bava supervised for the picture.

This will be Irene's first US public appearance in many years, and my own first public appearance in Los Angeles since the American Cinematheque's Mario Bava retrospective of 1993, so please come out and join us!

I hear the 35mm print of INFERNO looks spectacular, so it promises to be a fireball of an evening!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Word To The Wise

October is fast approaching, which means that VIDEO WATCHDOG's "150th Issue Sale" is rapidly winding down. And what that means is that you can still acquire a copy of MARIO BAVA ALL THE COLORS OF THE DARK at the low price of only $150 -- $100 off the list price -- through what's left of today and tomorrow. After that, on October 1, the price reverts back to $250. And I will sign your Bava book on request. To check out the details of this and many other sale items, click here.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Are You a Good Witch or a Bad Witch?

This surprisingly stately clip from Jess Franco's 1972 monster rally DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN features Alberto Dalbes as Dr. Seward and Geneviève Robert as Almira, the gypsy woman who comes to his rescue. This scene brings to mind something I've always admired about Franco's, and also Mario Bava's, horror films: unlike American movies, where ugly vestiges of our country's puritan foundation lingers, their films never demonize witches, instead presenting them as serious women of intuition and arcane knowledge, who are often called upon to explain to characters who have chosen a more narrow way of living what is out of balance in their half-understood world, and just as often pointing their way to survival. Geneviève Robert is wonderful in this scene, and one regrets that she didn't make more films. Today, Robert is married to producer-director Ivan Reitman and a Reuters photo of the couple attending the Toronto Film Festival earlier this month can be found here.

Incidentally, Jess Franco and Lina Romay are currently in Austin, Texas, where they are being fêted at FantasticFest with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Here is a schedule of related events and I congratulate Jess and Lina on yet another long overdue recognition of their vast contribution to fantastic cinema.