By Brett Stillo
Diabolik, international super-thief, jetsetter, and iconic anti-hero of the Fumetti (aka Italian comics), is coming to town for a rare one night screening at San Francisco’s historic Balboa Theatre on Wednesday, December 16th at 7:30 pm, thanks to Super Shangri-La Show.
Danger Diabolik is an all-out assault of 1960s pop art/comic book pulp from the legendary master of B-movie exploitation-as-art, Mario Bava. Picture a 105-minute episode of the old Batman TV series, but the “Special Guest Villian” ends up being the guy you root for. John Philip Law’s Diabolik is the ideal cinematic scoundrel, a cooler-than-cool criminal mastermind fighting the system and breaking the bank for his own personal kicks. Diabolik has it all: money, cars, a swingin’ underground pad, and an ultra-sexy accomplice played by the stunning Marisa Mell.
Danger Diabolik was a low-budget production (the film had a $400,000 budget in 1967 dollars), but Bava makes it all look like a multi-million dollar epic. He keeps the action twisting and turning at a steady pace on curving Italian roads, creating a visual world that jumps off the screen like panels out of a comic book filled with heists, explosions, jaguars, gangsters, and submachine guns. The action is accented by a supercool soundtrack by the one and only Ennio Morricone. It’s silly, sexy, sleek, and stylish! In an era known for spoofs and romps, Diabolik out-romps them all.