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3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
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Italian horror movies invariably seem to have a special look, sound, and feeling of baroque creepiness that make them successful. I'm not so sure that Kiss Me, Kill Me (aka Baba Yaga, aka The Devil Witch aka Black Magic) is really that great of a movie, but its dark atmosphere makes it satisfyingly effective. Based to some degree on a dark comic strip, the movie's noticeably surreal quality is greatly enhanced by a haunting musical score as well as the use of grainy black and white pictures of events unfolding at certain critical times. Isabelle De Funes plays Valentina Rosselli, a photographer living in Milan. On her way home one night, she encounters a very strange lady who calls herself Baba Yaga (played by Carroll Baker). This stranger tells Valentina their meeting was predestined, and she quickly insinuates herself into the life of our protagonist. Baba Yaga, we quickly learn, is some type of witch, and she certainly looks the part in costume as well as appearance; her pasty complexion and almost-white eyebrows standing out in contrast to her red lipstick-coated mouth does make quite an impression. Valentina tries to go about her work, which involves photographing semi-nude women, but Baba Yaga gradually puts her under her spell. She has strange dreams; quite unusual things begin to happen when she takes pictures with a camera that Baba Yaga has fondled; a strange doll Baba Yaga gives her begins to seem like something more than a normal doll. The tension and suspense is carried along quite nicely throughout, but the conclusion falls a little short of making this film an unqualified success.

This is a movie best suited for adults because it does contain a fair bit of nudity, but the sex, violence, and gore is actually rather limited. Gory and erotic are not words I would use to characterize this film at all. In fact, there is essentially no blood to speak of, and the one scene of violence is not as extreme as it might first appear. Kiss Me, Kill Me generates its horror from the atmosphere it creates, and in this endeavor it is largely successful. In one very nice scene, Valentina watches an old silent movie about a golem, but the golem connection to the doll Valentina is given may be lost on some viewers lacking a foundation in old-fashioned horror. Still, though, the doll in and of itself is creepy enough to be effective. If you don't have an interest in horror at all, there is a good chance you won't enjoy Kiss Me, Kill Me. For horror aficionados, the movie stands ready to help meet your daily requirement of creepiness, but your rations of blood and gore must be obtained elsewhere.
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on December 27, 2003
Valentina, a beautiful fashion photographer, is haunted by a strange woman. The woman turns out to be a witch named Baba Yaga (Carrol Baker), with kinky intentions for our heroine. Valentina ends up at Baba Yaga's spooky house, which is complete with both stuffed and caged animals, a bottomless pit in the livingroom, and a dungeon / bedroom full of heavy play toys. Yaga puts a curse on Valentina's camera and gives her a doll in full S&M gear. From that point on, whoever Valentina takes pictures of falls over dead. You see, the doll can become a full grown woman with a nine inch hairpin for killing people! Yaga continues her supernatural stalking by casting runes and phone harassment, while Valentina keeps right on taking pictures of soon-to-be corpses. Yep, this is pretty freaky stuff. It all ends in a final showdown at Baba Yaga's pad where it's Yaga and her living leather-doll vs. Valentina and her boyfriend. BABA YAGA is not entirely my cup of hemlock. I prefer straight horror. However, there were enough creepy elements to keep my interest...
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on October 23, 2003
Baba Yaga is the movie-wise definition of compelling. - This is one of those films that if you saw it in a movie theater you'd be afraid to go to the bathroom for fear you'd miss something. Luckily on DVD you can pause it.
After 10 minutes your rivited to this film to the end. Really plays and looks like a comic strip. Freeze-frame almost any scene and it has comic strip angles, framing, color and people. Whoever said there wasnt nudity is wrong - there is plenty but its approriate and stylish (but not very sexy) to it's underground comic book style.
You cant quite figure out what is going on but you cant take your eyes off the film.
Ultimatly - Baba Yaga is a sexy, old/young, lesbian witch with a cute little S&M doll - together they try to seduce our hero - a sexualy confused but hot babe. Thats what I think its about.
The film was shot by a fine director who apparently only made two movies - too bad.
Baba Yaga is an Italian film but, for the most part, well dubbed into english. Most actors were actually speaking english anyway.
Natzis, nudity, S&M, beautiful girls, murder, political commentarty and witches to name a few of the things going on in this film. Those who are true fans of comic books should love it.
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on June 2, 2003
This movie is based on an Italian comic strip steeped deep in rich dream symbolism and sadomasochism. I felt the movie succeeds only partially in the mixing of dream and reality, which is odd, since so many Italian horror movies and giallos eschew rational in favor of dream logic.
The main plot revolves around the title character's (Baba Yaga) scheme to draw the comic strip's main protagonist, Valentina, into the underground world of lesbianism and witchcraft. Considering Valentina's politics, not to mention her sensitive New Age guy boyfriend, Arno (played by George Eastman), its a wonder that Valentina doesn't willing shackle herself to Baba Yaga's whipping post.
Other then the film itself, which looks gorgeous, there is an interview with director Corrado Farina and a documentary on Guido Crepax's comic strips. There are also about ten minutes of deleted scenes.
This is a hard film to recommend because about 1/2 of the people you would expect to enjoy it will end up hating it and wonder what kind of person you mistake them for. And about 1/3 of the people you would expect to loathe it will claim it's their favorite Italian film of all time.
I'm the type of person who thinks this movie will grow on him over time and after repeated viewings but right now I can only give it three stars, though the DVD is definitely a five-star effort.
If money is tight, rent before you buy. But if you're an Italio-phile, you're going to end up buying it at some point anyway so you might as well just make it your next impulse buy.
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on March 9, 2004
A good enough film to watch, but why o why do people have to just take a name from a book ,and place a known char. in a completely unrelated story? Fritz lieber is spining in his grave, even though he probably did not invent Baba Yaga. She joins the sad list of Conan(I), The Dunwich Horror, most of the Dracula and Frankenstien, and Doc Savage; with the american Godzila thrown in. If you are going to change the story, charachters, motives, location and timeline; please go ahead and change the name as well. The movie would still be good, and there would not be so many hard feelings from those who read.
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on September 22, 2003
just finished watching this one and it is a real jem.
the main actress -isabelle de funes- is pure beauty and style. she makes the film art.
and that is what this film is.
reminded me a little of a david lynch film in the way black and white still pictures are used throughout.
the soundtrack was also really cool.
jazzy and fitting.
anyway. for sure five stars.
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on August 13, 2003
As mentioned previously, this film does not belong in a Euro-sleaze connoiseur's collection. It has very little nudity (by comparison), no sex, and actually seems to tell a story, believe it or not. How much further could it be from a Rollin or Franco film?
So don't buy this thinking you're getting a skin flick, because you'll be let down.
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on June 5, 2003
A real zero. There's only one sex sleaze scene, a whipping administered by a leather-trussed blonde while an older lady looks on. It's so late in the movie I almost gave up, my fast-forward thumb got tired. It's marginal. A half star, maybe. That's it, sorry, the reputation of this stupid thing obviously isn't grounded on sleaze.
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on June 17, 2003
This movie is a great period piece, nice dream sequences and some very pretty set pieces. It's not a Eurotrash sleaze film but a serious art film a la Blow-up or Barbarella. Would be a great film to watch while tripping.
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on January 30, 2004
Excellent cast, excellent music, solid acting, underscore a well paced film about a witch infatuated with a beautiful and independent fashion photographer. Very unique, with emphasis on style over bloodshed.
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