Danger Diabolik (1968), the super-cool film by Mario Bava, came up on our radar again this week with posts about designer Verner Panton. The film, which starred John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell, is a cult classic and one of the best adaptations of a comic ever made. Despite the pedigree, however, the film has been tagged unfairly in the pop-consciousness as trash/camp due to its heckling in Mystery Science Theater 3000. Spy Vibe agrees with Double O Section and writer/artist Steve Bissette that MTS3K went too far when they chose the film as their final episode. As much as I enjoy their riffs on bad-but-fun flicks, Mike and the robots had no business dragging Bava's Diabolik into that campy pigeonhole. As Bissette pointed out in his special feature on the DVD, it was not a campy movie. The characters may have winked at each other, but never to the audience.
If you haven't seen it in a while, watch Steve's bonus feature before the film for some great insights about Bava's use and blend of comic and film forms. I assume most Spy Vibers know that Danger Diabolik was based on an Italian comic series. Bissette points out some great panel-to-frame comparisons. The official website (Italian) includes some cool on-line comics (both drawn panels and photographic-panel formats). Danger Diabolik came in at #1 in our top-10 set countdown. The film also sports some of the best Spy Vibe fashion you'll ever see on screen! Additional Spy Vibe posts about Danger Diabolik here.