If I had to describe Italian cinema in one word it would be ‘Bold.’ Throughout the history of the medium Italy has always been pumping out bold artistic expressions, bold visual motifs, and bold experiments in the world of cinema. Mario Bava fits right into the Italian scene and may be one of the more influential film makers to come from the area, despite his name only really being spoken in limited circles.
I think that is because for all of the artistry Itialian cinema is known for, it is also known for pure schlock, pulp, and knock-off cinema which Bava most certainly had his hands in. The genre he innovated, the Giallo horror, is inherently low brow, it’s heart it grew from Bava’s deconstruction of the whodunit murder mystery with substantially increased gore and sex. Though just because it is what we might consider low art doesn’t mean it is not a significant and important movement. It led to the American slasher among other gore splattered genres and was instrumental in pushing the boundaries of what was acceptable on film.
With that being said, Mario Bava films are more often than not all about the entertainment. They are filled with bright and colourful imagery which highlights the lurid sexuality and often grotesque violence. To that end he is one of the best examples of a populist film maker, who pushes boundaries not to find new ways of expressing himself but to find new horizons with which to wow his audience.