Interview: Legendary Italian Horror Director Lamberto Bava

Lamberto Bava imageI thought I would re-post an interview I had with the legendary Italian horror director Lamberto Bava, this interview was from the Fall of 2012, I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed talking with this great filmmaker!

I recently had the immense pleasure of sitting down face-to-face with the famed Italian horror director, Lamberto Bava.  Bava’s films are primarily in the horror, giallo, and fantasy genres.  Bava is the son of the legendary Italian director, Mario Bava and grandson of Eugenio Bava, a special effects artist and director from the silent days of Italian cinema.  He grew up on the sets of his father’s films, learning all that he could about the business.  He worked for 15 years under his father as his personal assistant, assistant director, and screenwriter on such films beginning with Planet of the Vampires (1965), Kill Baby, Kill (1966), Danger: Diabolik (1968), Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970), Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971), Baron Blood (1972), and Lisa and the Devil (1974).

Bava then began working with Ruggero Deodato on his infamous Jungle Holocaust (1977) and Cannibal Holocaust (1980) films, then with Dario Argento as his assistant director and protégé on Inferno (1980) and Tenebrae (1982).  Bava then moved into the director’s chair with his first feature Macabre in 1980.  He directed many films in the horror vein including such titles as A Blade in the Dark (1983), Monster Shark (1984), and Delirium (1987); but the two films he is best known for are Demons (1985) and its follow-up Demons 2 (1986), both of which were produced by Argento.

In the late 80’s, Bava turned to directing made-for-TV films primarily in the Fantasy and giallo realm.  His biggest hit in television was a Fantasy series called Fantaghirò which had four sequels.  In 2005, he made a brief return to feature films with two gory horror films, The Torturer (2005) and Ghost Son (2007).  Today, Bava continues to work in Italian TV but has plans to begin filming his next feature film sometime next year (rumors are of his third Demons film).

Read on as I chat with Lamberto about his films, the state of Italian horror today, and more.  His answers to my questions were rather short and sometimes vague due to the fact that his English was not very good.  He told me he hasn’t been in America that much lately and he has forgotten English, the longer he is in America, the better his English gets, but he was only here for three days.


Michael Juvinall:  You’ve come from a very famous filmmaking family, was it easy for you to get into films because of your father and grandfather?

Lamberto Bava:  Sure, I think so.  When I was young, I always wanted to make films.

MJ:  Two of your most popular films, Demons and Demons 2 are considered cult classics all over the world.  How do you feel about those two films being so popular?

LB:  I don’t know.  Ideas come from many places, when you get a good idea that works it’s great.  It’s hard to know what will work and what won’t.  With those films everything came together to make a good film, story, music.

MJ:  Are you surprised those two films are still popular today?

LB:  In Italy, with Television and DVD, the new generations, the film has been embraced once again by younger fans.

MJ:  What was it like working as Assistant Director with Dario Argento on his films Tenebre and Inferno?

LB:  It was a big pleasure to work with him.  Dario makes really great films and is a true artist.  He taught me a lot and I learned much from him.  He taught me that as a director, it’s very important to work as much as you can.

MJ:  One of my favorite films of yours is A Blade in the Dark.

LB:  It was a little film.  It was originally intended to be a Television film, but the producer saw it and decided it would be better as a feature film.  That film for me was like a son, I loved it so much.

MJ:  What are your favorite films out of the ones you directed besides A Blade in the Dark?

LB:  Demons is a favorite of mine too.  One of my other favorites is a fantasy film I directed for Television called Fantaghirò in Italian aka The Cave of the Golden Rose.

MJ:  For the past several years, you’ve been working in Italian Television a lot.  Do you like working in TV or would you like to return to feature films?

LB:  Today it’s hard to make feature films in Italy.  There is no money for feature films.  Hopefully in the future Italy will get back to making great feature films again.

MJ:  What’s the biggest difference between American horror movies and Italian horror movies?

LB:  I think today, there are no Italian horror movies.  At one time, Italian horror films were bloodier and crueler but today I think they are all the same.  We see good horror films from all over the world, even small countries make great films.  Today it’s global and it wasn’t like that earlier.

MJ:  Italy had a renaissance of sorts in the 80’s; horror movies from directors like you, Dario Argento, and Lucio Fulci were very popular during that time.  I would love to see that happen again in Italy, do think that will happen any time soon?

LB:  We are proud of this time but I don’t know the public is seeking change; they don’t go to the cinema anymore.  People stay home and watch DVD’s and Television.  When films were good in Italy, many people went to the cinemas but today, not so much.

MJ:  Do you like horror films yourself?

LB:  Yes, I like older movies.

MJ:  If you had a dream project you could film, what would that be?

LB:  I have many projects to film.  One I’m working on, we have a script, we have actors, but we need producers from around the world to help finance the film.  I hope to be shooting another horror movie in October, and another I hope to shoot sometime next year.

MJ:  Is there anything else coming up you want to talk about?

LB:  I wrote a novel last year that I hope to get published soon.

MJ:  That sounds awesome, I can’t wait.  I don’t want to take up any more of your time.

LB:  No, not at all, it was a pleasure talking to you.  I’m sorry because my English is not very good.  20 years ago, my English was better, today I don’t remember the language as much, if I stay here 15 days, my English would get better.

MJ:  I’m a huge fan of yours and I hope to see man more great films from you.

LB:  I prefer to make one great film rather than 5 bad films, thank you very much.

Days of the Dead image 14

Written by Michael Juvinall

I am a Horror journalist, producer, ravenous Horror fiend, aficionado of the classic Universal Monsters, Hammer Horror, Werewolves, and all things Horror.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.