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
About Kill Baby Kill (1966)
Starring: Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Luciano Catenacci, Micaela Esdra, Franca Dominici, Giuseppe Addobbati, Mirella Pamphili, Giovanna Galletti, Giacomo Rossi Stuart
Director: Mario Bava
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