This book is massive. Over a thousand pages filled with colorful photos, poster art and columns upon columns of content. It weighs in somewhere around twenty pounds and I think I may no longer be able to have children after the hours I spent with it resting on my lap. This is basically like having an Internet search in book form. Everything you could possibly want to know about Mario Bava is here.
I got it about a year after its release—when the price dropped for a holiday sale—and vowed to read it cover to cover. I combed through every word over the course of the better part of a decade. I’d read a chapter and then seek out whatever film was being discussed. With the arrival of streaming media services, this has gotten easier as the years have gone on. But, to be fair, the first third of the book covers films where Bava’s part was limited to cameraman of special effects so I wasn’t obsessive about most of that era. Everything from Black Sunday onwards is golden.
This is the most thorough account of the life and work of an artist I have ever read. In many ways this level of miniscule detail a bit of a detriment to a casual reader, but, let’s be serious, you probably have more than a passing interest in Mario Bava if you are shelling hundreds of dollars to own a monumental work such as this (recently saw a copy on eBay listed for around $3000!). In the end, I have grown to have even more respect for Bava’s work and his genius thanks to Tim Lucas and this wonderful book.