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Mario Bava is one of the most influential European filmmakers of all time. At the time of his passing in 1980 it is doubtful that he would have thought his work would be held in high esteem but the list of cinema luminaries that praise his talent is too long to list. Certainly, by the measure of box office take Bava would have thought himself an unsuccessful director. Few of the movies we consider classics today were big hits in their day finding much more acclaim years after their initial release. And then there is his glorious masterwork LISA AND THE DEVIL. Given the opportunity after one of his rare hit films to craft a long dreamed of project, he made this film with almost complete control. Sadly, the producer was unable to find distribution for the finished movie except in one country and so demanded that new scenes be shot to make the film more commercial. The resulting film became THE HOUSE OF EXORCISM and is as messy a product as its gestation would imply. But, luckily, fans of Bava’s work can see his original vision and marvel at the beauty and joy of a master filmmaker letting his imagination take flight.

Joining me to discuss this amazing film is author Troy Howarth, the writer of many books on various film directors and actors including The Haunted World of Mario Bava originally published nearly twenty years ago. We delve into the film’s haunted palace imagery with an eye to the use of manikins and statues and corpses that seem to trade places randomly. The time-slip nature of the dream-like story is examined along with the possible ways to read the underlying meaning of what Bava was saying with this rumination on death and decay. The cast is amazing with a scene stealing turn by a grinning Telly Savalas as both family servant and devilish observer. We also note the origins of the wonderful Carlo Savina score and the producer’s feelings about being sold used goods!

If you have any comments or questions the address is thebloodypit@gmail.com or the show has a Facebook page where occasional updates are posted. Thank you for listening to this episode and we will be back soon with more.  

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