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Old 11-04-2012, 07:59 PM
That `80's Guy Who Misses Video Stores


Movie #19: Kill, Baby...Kill (1966)

When I ran into Lucio Fulci the other day, and was inspired by him to seek out the recently covered "Manhattan Baby," we stopped at an Italian restaurant. A real one with delicious, authentic food. The meal was marvelous. You won't believe which other horror maestro was there dining - Mario Bava, the man who inspired the giallo film. He, as well as Fulci, was a delight to dine with. And he persuaded me to seek out this film from the 1960's. There is no sense in keeping you waiting. Bava's "Kill, Baby...Kill" was worth seeing.

The setting is the late 1800's. A doctor arrives at a village to investigate, what will be, a series of murders. The townspeople are fearful of a curse at the local villa. A villa haunted by a ghost girl. The inspector doesn't believe in such things and is the one who calls in the doctor. The doctor doesn't believe in such things, either, and will have to re-think that belief as spooky events keep occurring as soon as he arrives. The townspeople are too terrified to warn outsiders of the curse. If they do, the ghost girl known as Melissa will get them.

Melissa has a similarly tragic origin story to Jason Voorhees'. She waits in the shadows. She appears at your window. She will put you in a spell and force you to rid yourself of your life. And she has a creepy presence of her own. She goes about her business the old-fashioned way, before telephones would be invented, inspiring ghosts to warn victims that they have seven days to live and vice versa. Ghosts today, in Asian films and their American remakes, have become dependent on technology and have lost their edge. They also need haircuts. Melissa, however, reminds the viewer how much more effective minimal, low-budget horror films can be, especially by experienced filmmakers who know their way around the camera.

This is a film from the 1960's. The death scenes naturally cut away or the violent actions are off-camera. It wasn't going to get away with anything visceral and it shouldn't matter. It didn't matter to me. What is suggested or implied is enough. What's important is the spooky atmosphere and how involving the story becomes. Once it gets going, it doesn't stop. It keeps going and going until until it's over. There is a nightmare sequence with crazy visuals. Rooms in the haunted villa keep going around in an unbroken loop. Mario Bava brought everything to the table. It is perhaps a little dated, but it brings the best of the 1960's to a ghostly horror story.

*** out of 4

Recommended as a rental or purchase.

Last edited by Duke Nukem; 11-04-2012 at 08:03 PM..
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