Sunday, February 26, 2017

Bravo Bava

We were looking for some old-timey SF horror, and queued up Planet of the Vampires (1965). Since it was directed by Mario Bava, we kind of knew what to expect: Cheapness, cheese, and colorful lighting effects.

Two spaceships detect a mysterious signal emanating from a planet shrouded in mist. On goes to investigate and vanishes, so the other ship follows. There is a bogus meteor shower and very lame "high-g" sequence. When they land, Captain Barry Sullivan and his crew of Euro-babes and boys discovers that the crew of the first ship have killed each other off. So they wrap them in plastic and bury them. But do they stay dead?

The basic plot idea is pretty neat (although there are no vampires, sorry). I think Star Trek used it once or twice. The special effects, however, are not up to the standard of even original series Star Trek. Nor the writing or acting. So really, this is just a "so bad that it's good" guilty pleasure.

EXCEPT - Mario Bava is at the helm, so you get wild colors, fog over miniature landscape, preposterous process shots - scratch that, I checked and he is using mirrors, to save on film processing. Some of his shots are strikingly composed and beautiful, some almost surrealist. Also, the costumes are outstanding, leather jumpsuits with fancy high collars and leather helmet liners.

So, much silliness, some beauty. Should I try a Bava giallo?

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