Danger: Diabolik

Front Cover
Columbia University Press, 2018 M02 20 - 144 pages

Danger: Diabolik (1968) was adapted from a comic that has been a social phenomenon in Italy for over fifty years, featuring a masked master criminal—part Fantômas, part James Bond—and his elegant companion Eva Kant. The film partially reinvents the character as a countercultural prankster, subverting public officials and the national economy, and places him in a luxurious and futuristic underground hideout and Eva in a series of unforgettable outfits. A commercial disappointment on its original release, Danger: Diabolik's reputation has grown along with that of its director, Mario Bava, the quintessential cult auteur, while the pop-art glamour of its costumes and sets have caught the imagination of such people as Roman Coppola and the Beastie Boys.

This study examines its status as a comic-book movie, including its relation both to the original fumetto and to its sister-film, Barbarella. It traces its production and initial reception in Italy, France, the U.S., and the UK, and its cult afterlife as both a pop-art classic and campy "bad film" featured in the final episode of Mystery Science Theatre 3000.


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1960s comic book movie was more likely to be European (mainly Italian or French – and Modesty Blaise casts an Italian ... Here was a figure who had more than a little in common with both Eva Kant and Modesty Blaise (not to mention Cathy


The cult afterlife of Danger
The place of the film

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About the author (2018)

Leon Hunt is a senior lecturer in film and TV studies at Brunel University. He is the author of British Low Culture: From Safari Suits to Sexpolitation (1998), Kung Fu Cult Masters: From Bruce Lee to Crouching Tiger (2003), and Cult British TV Comedy: From Reeves and Mortimer to Psychoville (2013).

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