Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Horror Thoughts ‘14—Kill Baby… Kill! (1966) ***½

PG, 83 min.
Director: Mario Bava
Writers: Romano Migliorini, Robert Natale, Mario Bava, John Davis Hart
Starring: Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Max Lawrence, Micaela Esdra, Franca Dominici, Giuseppe Addobbati, Mirella Pamphili, Giana Vivaldi

With every Mario Bava movie I watch, I enjoy his filmmaking and stories more. The acting leaves something to be desired, but Bava saturates every film with such atmosphere that the performances hardly matter.

In his most interestingly titled 1966 film “Kill Baby… Kill!” Bava focuses his growing cinematic palate on a town haunted by a child ghost. The Italian horror look is really beginning to take the shape that would change horror cinema in the 70s with this Bava classic. His use of brilliant lighting colors, his gory and inventive deaths, and the pinnacle of horror screaming make up the foundation of that Italian horror movement. An additional signature is added in this particular film—the psychedelic dream sequence.

I also enjoyed the depth of the plot. Bava juggles a good deal of characters all on seemingly separate stories that converge to reveal a rather personal story for the female lead, who discovers she is the sister of the girl who died so many years ago and has held the town hostage since. These Bava films have felt more like Halloween to me than most modern horror movies, which seem too intent on contemplating brutality than telling some sort of suspenseful tale of the paranormal where the characters are swept up into something they can’t imagine. These films give us those original images that Werner Herzog claims we so starve for today, not something that can be said about the latest found footage horror flick.

Watch the entire movie below.

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