Wow ! I have to say, I'm normally quite wary when I hear the words 'gothic' and 'romantic' when mentioned in connection with films. But I was totally caught off guard when I slipped the Mario Bava 'Whip and the Body' DVD into my player !
Bava's 'Whip and the Body' truly is a masterpiece of classic horror cinema that I'm ashamed to say I hadn't seen before VCI brought this gorgeous DVD to my attention.
This very insular gothic mystery involves the return to the family home of the black sheep son Kurt (played brilliantly by Christopher Lee) who promptly causes upset when he violently claims back his ex-lover from his brother and the family soon falls apart when they all become embroiled in mistrust and deception which leads to murder and ghostly goings on.
I was amazed by my enjoyment of this film, although the cast is very small (an ensemble of eight if I remember rightly) and most of the tale takes place in either the family home or its surrounding grounds you're completely consumed from beginning to end in this high quality production. The script is spot on and the cast perform with all they've got and its all totally enhanced by Bava's expertise in creating stunning backdrops and beautifully framed shots that would inspire directors for decades to follow.
VCI have used an uncut widescreen print which looks fantastic, showcasing Bava's brilliant work to great effect. Believe me, this film truly is visually stunning (and I don't say this often!)
As well as this beautifully presented gothic masterpiece the disc also contains a fine selection of extras that will please Bava fans no end. Bava expert Tim Lucas provides an audio commentary that shows he truly knows the mans work, insightful and fascinating - it should grow interest in his long awaited Bava tome which will hopefully see the light of day soon! There's also VCI's speciality - the inclusion of seperate music tracks from the film. I loved what they done with their 'Bird with the Crystal Plumage' disc and I'm pleased to see they're continuing this with these new Bava releases. Also there's a fine selection of Bava trailers that will get you in the mood for more of the Bava experience.
Audio wise, a nice touch is the option of watching the film either in English or in Italian with optional English (or Spanish) subtitles.
So in conclusion, what we have here is creepy old school gothic masterpiece which surely has to be one of Bava's greatest works. And to boot, VCI have done a splendid job with this DVD presentation making this a release I can't recommend enough !
|Directed by Mario Bava|
|Released by VCI Home Video|
|Region 0 - NTSC|
|Ratio - widescreen 1:85:1|
|Audio - English & Italian|
|Subtitles - English & Spanish|
|Audio commentary by Tim Lucas|
|Bonus Music Soundtracks|