After a brief examination of the contradictory circumstances pervading the life, career and critical reception of Mario Bava (1914–1980), a seminal master of horror cinema, the father of Italian gothic horror and the indigenous giallo, the article arrives at what the author deems to be the director’s core preoccupation, and the most progressive, innovative and invaluable contribution to the horror genre (slasher films in particular), exemplified by Bava’s proto-slasher Twitch of the Death Nerve (Ecologia del delitto, 1971): an anti-moralist yet ethical, adult-minded yet over-the-top hilarious, and fundamentally earthly genre portrayal of the ‘human beast’.

The integral (Slovenian) version of this article can be found in the printed KINO!