Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Kill, Baby, Kill! (1966)

Kill, Baby, Kill!

Written by Mario Bava, Romano Migliorini, & Roberto Natale
Directed by Mario Bava

Giacomo Rossi-Stuart .... Dr. Paul Eswai
Erika Blanc .... Monica Schuftan
Fabienne Dali .... Ruth
Piero Lulli .... Inspector Kruger
Max Lawrence .... Karl
Gianna Vivaldi .... Baroness Graps

In a small Bavarian village, Inspector Kruger receives a letter from a young woman living in a distant villa, pleading for help. When Kruger arrives, the woman is already dead, impaled on the spikes of her wrought iron fence. Dr. Paul Eswai is called in for an autopsy, to determine if it was suicide or homicide. The townsfolk protest the autopsy and even turn violent, and Kruger suspects that they are either hiding something or protecting someone. Karl, the “burgomeister” (a fancy word for, I believe, mayor), assures him that they are not, that they are only afraid.


The autopsy turns up no definitive answer, but Dr. Eswai does find some baffling clue: a small sampling of pocket change somehow stuffed into the heart, fitting the superstition that “only with money in the heart will one who suffers a violent death ever rest in peace.” The townsfolk are so frightened of a local legend that the town sorceress has been defiling the body with coins in order to prevent them from becoming restless spirits.

The legend revolves around a young blonde girl who long ago died beneath the bell tower from blood loss. She was said to have pulled the rope and rang the bell continuously to attract help, but nobody came. Now, she haunts the town from time to time and whoever sees her ghost bleeds to death soon after, under mysterious circumstances. And whenever the bell rings by itself, she has marked someone for death.


Dr. Eswai is initially skeptical of the whole ordeal but soon finds himself far too involved to walk away. After all...he too saw the girl.

This was one of the first Bava films I have seen, and I was relatively impressed. Although the “candles and cobwebs” films aren't usually my forte, this proved to be a pretty effective gothic. It provided more mood than scares, but the ending was quite unexpected and appreciated. Definitely not for everyone, but recommended for fans of foreign horror and those looking to step away from the teenage slasher fare.

ALSO KNOWN AS: Operazione paura, Curse of the Dead, Curse of the Living Dead, Don't Walk in the Park, Operation Fear

1966
Unrated
83 minutes
Color
Italy
Italian (English dubbed)

5 comments:

  1. Thanks for this review Johnny, as you know, Ive been seeing many Bava films recently and Im on a mission to see everything he's made. So far Im impressed with his work! Looks like I still have some really good ones ahead!

    I love movies with a spooky story like that one, love the old school horror stuff.

    Im going to be seeing Baron Blood tonite! I hope it rocks! Expect a review for it by the end of this week, probably Friday!

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  2. Poor Unfortunate Souls
    Allen Ginsberg - Hunter S. Thompson - Jack Kerouac... they have been turned...into iZombies.

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  3. Film Connoisseur--I'll keep an eye out for your review. Always interested in seeing what others thought of the movies I review.

    iZombie--Oh, Snap! I am so there.

    --J/Metro

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  4. Yes, you're right - "Bürgermeister" is the common term for what's a "mayor" in the English speaking world.

    I haven't watched "Kill, Baby, Kill!" yet, but thinking about the "The Mask of Satan" and "Black Sabbath", to which I've been exposed to only recently, I guess it won't pass much time until I'll enjoy the subject of your review, too...

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  5. I enjoy this one more and more with each viewing, it is just so unsettling and eerie, with Bava's stamp written all over it

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