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Kill, Baby... Kill!
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Kill, Baby... Kill! (1966)

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Plot Summary:
"Dr. Eswai is called by Inspector Kruger to a small village to perform an autopsy on a woman who has died under suspicious circumstances. Despite help from Ruth, the village witch, Kruger is killed and it is revealed that the dead woman, as well as other villagers, have been killed by the ghost of Melissa, a young girl who, fed by the hatred of her grieving mother, Baroness Graps, exacts her revenge on them. Dr. Eswai, along with Monica, a local nurse, are lured into a fateful confrontation at the Villa Graps."

Review by
Ryan McDonald
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Review Date: 20 September 2003 My Rating: out of 5


My vote for Mario Bava's best film, this is an absolutely stunning visual feast to say the least. The colour scheme in particular appears to have inspired Dario Argento for his seminal film 'Suspiria'. Meanwhile the basic story, setting and foggy atmosphere evoke the days of Hammer films, but with Bava at the helm it is quite a different experience, and more chilling.

Some of the performances and even the stock standard 'small town plagued by curse' storyline may seem a bit underwhelming (hell, there's even a spiral staircase), but the visuals and a few of the performances are arresting enough to make it seem fresh and engrossing. One will never forget young Micaela Esdra as the ill-fated Nadine as she is plagued with the curse, or the bravura nightmare sequence involving Erica Blanc (from one of the greatest Italian-Belgian horror films, 'The Devil's Nightmare') that is wonderfully surreal. And then there's Luciano Catenacci (AKA Max Lawrence) as the creepiest Burgomeister you've ever seen, looking like a mixture of Yul Brynner, Udo Kier and Beelzebub- he doesn't need acting ability, he's ominous-looking as it is. Also top-notch are scene-stealing Fabienne Dali as the Sorceress Ruth (she's a dead ringer for Barbara Steele) and Gianna Vivaldi as the Baroness Graps, a gaunt-looking woman with many a secret, both women are given interestingly layered characters.

In terms of plot, it occasionally seems like something similar to a Gothic version of 'Ringu' or its American remake 'The Ring', but the latter in particular captured the Gothic atmosphere without coming close to evoking the constant sense of dread and weirdness. In that film, you could turn the damn TV off (duh!) or destroy the tape, but the people in this film have no such luck, hence why the fog never seems to go away.

Bava is at his best here in scenes such as the masterful 'swing-cam' moment, or the chase scene that probably ranks as one of the best and weirdest (no spoilers from me), or my other favourite, the scene where Blanc is attempting to descend the ominous-looking spiral staircase (shot in gorgeous greens and blues that couldn't possibly be natural light, but who the hell cares? It's just plain cool) and the camera spins around as she struggles. And yes, like the underappreciated Jess Franco, Bava uses plenty of zooms, and if you ask me, most of those zooms are needed.

A work of art and a darn entertaining horror film with a constant sense of dread, and proof if nothing else that little girls (or as it were, little boys dressed as girls) are...damn...scary.

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