A fan of obscure and then hard-to-come-by cult films, a teenage Dante used to venture into the sketchier parts of Philadelphia to visit the local grindhouse cinema and catch the kinds of flicks he couldn't see anywhere else, such as Bava's haunted castle tale. Dante, then 19, recalls sticking to his seat despite the outbreak of real-life violence and its aftermath:
"There's a scene where Christopher Lee is beating Daliah Lavi with a whip on a beach at sunset. Somebody in the theater got so excited that he stabbed the guy next to him. This was the only time this picture had played [by me] and, by God, I wasn't going to get up and leave. The police came... but I stuck around to see the end of the picture."
See, and you thought movie theater violence started with Boyz n the Hood and New Jack City. But seriously, who among us wouldn't probably have reacted the same as Mr. Dante?? And if you're answering "Me!"--then, sir or madam, I order you to remove yourself forthwith from my blog.
Dante is the master of ceremonies for the film series Mario Bava: Poems of Love and Death, a celebration of the Italian horror maestro's work currently going on at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre.