Thursday, April 8, 2010

Under the Influence: Mario Bava, Part One

1. Friday the 13th, Part II (1981, Steve Miner) - Influenced by Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)

In the first of many sequels, several kills were taken almost shot for shot from Bava's earlier proto-slasher.  In particular, a scene where an amorous couple is unpleasantly surprised, and one where a not-so-bright guy turns around only to get a blade buried in his head.



2. Alien (1979, Ridley Scott) - Influenced by Planet of the Vampires (1965)

In Bava's sci-fi/ horror fest, the crew of a ship sets out to explore the abandoned hulk of a spacecraft that's been abandoned for years on a desolate, and very foggy planet.  When they enter what appears to be the command center of the ship, they come across the giant, skeltonized remains of what appears to be ship's former pilot, still at the controls.  Sound familiar? 

3. Twin Peaks finale "Beyond Life and Death" (1991, David Lynch) - Influenced by Kill, Baby, Kill(1966)

At one point in Bava's nightmarish, supernatural thriller, our protagonist, Paul, begins to chase after someone he thinks might be behind all of the nonsense he's been experiencing.  The chase winds, room after room, through a creepy, gothic mansion, our hero getting ever closer to the fleeing man, who we've only seen from behind.  Finally, when the tension has built up sufficiently, the man is caught and revealed to be none other than - PAUL! 

In the series finale of David Lynch's hugely popular Twin Peaks, we get a very similar set up, with hero Special Agent Dale Cooper chasing his own evil doppelganger through room after room in the mystical otherworldy dimension known as the Black Lodge. Lynch's version is a little darker and just as stylish, but Bava's protagonist fares a little better than Cooper after all is said and done.

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