Anchor Bay has been getting some good press for its new Mario Bava box set -- and, predictably, some grief from the Italian horror director's fans. The debate centers on the lack of American International Pictures versions of some of the titles, which supposedly were part of the plan at some point. I'm sitting this one out, not knowing much about Bava, and I don't have the set, but you can read about the fans' beefs on Amazon's page.
I did view the canceled Dark Sky version of "Kill Baby Kill," one of the titles in the Anchor Bay set. It's a fine movie -- similar to AIP's gothic Edgar Allen Poe movies -- in which a kid whose death was caused by drunken villagers' neglect comes back to lay waste to the old place. It's a showcase for Bava's compositions, which sometimes look like Renoir paintings you've never seen. The film shot Bava to fame with the Italian public and intellectuals. In later years, Bava's son says in the extras, the director was "singled out as an enemy of humanity." At least Scorsese and Fellini loved him. (Get a load of this.The Dark Sky disc has an asking price of $300 online. Sorry, you can't buy mine. It's under lock and key in the dungeon.)
Anyway, two of my favorite DVD reviewers wrote up the Bava set:
DVD Savant: "A great opportunity to discover one of horror's most artistic directors."
Dave Kehr (New York Times): "For Mr. Bava ... the road from the grindhouse to the art house — or at least, the virtual art house of the DVD player — has turned out to be surprisingly, encouragingly short."