- Actors: Giacomo Rossi Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Luciano Catenacci
- Directors: Mario Bava
- Writers: Mario Bava, John Davis Hart, Roberto Natale, Romano Migliorini
- Producers: Luciano Catenacci, Nando Pisani
- Format: NTSC, Import
- Language: English
- Subtitles: English
- Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
- Number of discs: 1
- MPAA Rating:
- Studio: Vci Video
- Release Date: Oct. 24 2000
- Run Time: 83 minutes
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- ASIN: B00001ODHD
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Kill Baby Kill! [Import]
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From the title, you might expect a modern slasher picture or a serial killer drama, but Mario Bava's Kill, Baby... Kill is actually an eerie gothic ghost-story-with-a-body-count set in a quaint Italian turn-of-the-century village. When a city coroner arrives to examine the latest victim in a long string of "suicides," he discovers a town of deserted streets, suspicious and terrified townspeople, and a conspiracy of silence. The town is haunted by the specter of a homicidal adolescent girl, a creepy vision in white whose little-girl giggles become chilling as she randomly chooses her victims and sends them to their gory deaths. Bava sets a moody stage of empty streets blanketed nightly in a swirling mist and flooded with lights of red, blue, and green--an expressionist night-cum-nightmare as unreal as it beautiful. This fanciful nocturnal world becomes the stage for virtual pageants of death in which the victims become tortured puppets of the malevolent spirit and are forced to murder themselves. The often arch and operatic performances are deadened by flat dubbing and an often prosaic translation, which creates an odd dissonance between the story and style. Though hardly to the tastes of modern slasher movie mavens, Bava's imaginative horror-thriller is full of grotesque and sometimes grueling murders, but trades the gore for an unsettling mood of doom. --Sean Axmaker
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But fortunately Mario Bava's "Kill Baby Kill" is much better than its hokey title suggests, as one would expect from a giallo master. Instead of a slasher movie, it's a gothic horror movie with impalements, ghosts and magic. It has all the beauty -- and terror -- of a decayed fairy tale.
When a young woman leaps onto an iron fence, young Dr. Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) is called in to do an autopsy, with the help of beautiful Monica (Erica Blanc). He finds a coin in the girl's heart, and none of the townspeople will tell him -- because if they do, they will suffer a similar fate. Eswai doesn't buy all this superstition.
He's even more annoyed when local sorceress Ruth (Fabienne Dali) begins using her powers to protect a young girl from a childlike specter -- little dead aristocrat Melissa Graps. But as the bodies pile up, and Monica is plagued by bizarre nightmares, Eswai must accept Ruth's help to save Monica from the ghost, and an evil baroness.
"Kill Baby Kill" is more gothic horror rather than straightforward "giallo." But it has the cinematic touches that Bava was known for. Bava fills the run-down village sets with broken doors, wrought-iron fences, coffins, and long fluttering canopies. It's gothically delicious.
Bava also adds dreamlike touches to his typical style-- the village is full of mist, tombstones, and green, blue and red lighting that flicks on and off. He packs this movie so full of visual opulance, it's like being locked inside a beautiful nightmare -- and it adds to the feeling of a fairy tale gone horribly wrong.
And he has a knack for the really spooky stuff too. A bouncing ball, childish giggling, and a little girl on a swing become really horrifying, not to mention all those impalements on everything from fences to, uh, candlesticks. Two particularly eerie scenes have Eswai chasing himself through endless rooms, and Monica running down an endless spiral stair.
The ghost story itself is quite simple, and the secret identities of two characters are quite obvious. But fortunately, this doesn't detract from the atmosphere. How could it? "Kill Baby Kill" is steeped in atmosphere from the first creepy scene, and rather than building in suspense, it runs steadily all the way to the end.
And the cast helps. Despite the emotionless dubbing, Rossi-Stuart and Blanc both do outstanding jobs, but the best performance of the movie belongs to Fabienne Dali, as a tragic sorceress who is trying to save the village from Melissa's revenge. The scene where she mourns her dead lover is exquisite.
"Kill Baby Kill" is a gorgeous, creepy ghost story, with good acting and stellar direction. Definitely a must-see for fans of atmospheric cult horror.
When Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) shows up to perform an autopsy on a young woman who died a violent death, he finds a fear stricken town in the best gothic tradition. When he finds the victim has a coin embedded in her heart, the town's shameful secret is told: twenty years earlier a young child, Melissa Graps, was run over and left to die during a festival. The townspeople are convinced Melissa's ghost is driving the guilty to suicide by appearing to them, and the good doctor's plea for rationality is ignored as the townsfolk are whipped into a frenzy of fear by the local sorceress, Ruth (Fabienne Dali). When Dr. Eswai and the lovely Monica (Erika Blanc) go to the local castle, Villa Graps, they find the Baroness also dead, another apparent suicide. There is only one thing left to do; explore the castle and find its deadly secret.
Title notes: "Kill, Baby, Kill!" was the film's 1968 release title, although it was first seen in the United States two years earlier as "Operation Fear." Other reissue titles were "Don't Walk in the Park" and "Curse of the Living Dead" (not to be confused with "Curse of the Dead," the release title in the United Kingdom). Whatever the title, this film is one of Bava's better efforts at creating an atmospheric horror film. Monica has a nightmare that is a very effective montage sequences. The film is also rather unique, especially for an Italian production, in that all of the really interesting characters are females, especially Ruth, who lends the movie some of its more effective twists. The more you can forget that this sort of story has been done to death in the United States in the years since 1966, the more you can enjoy this film. Certainly a lot more going on creatively both in front and behind the camera than you would find in the best Hammer films of the same time period.
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