HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (1970)
(a.k.a. IL ROSSE SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA)
Article #1688 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-28-2005
Posting Date: 3-27-2006
Directed by Mario Bava
Featuring Stephen Forsyth, Dagmar Lassander, Laura Betti
A madman kills prospective brides with a hatchet.
Despite the silliness of the title, I went into this movie with strong expectations, largely because it was directed by Mario Bava, who I always find interesting (I consider the Dr. Goldfoot movie he directed a fluke). I was a little disappointed by the first half; it’s not badly done by any means, but the concept of a serial killer on the loose with strange fetishes (he kills only with a hatchet, and every murder involves a bridal outfit) is hardly a novel concept, and having the a modeling agency involved made me suspect that I might be seeing a recycling of BLOOD AND BLACK LACE. Still, Bava handles this movie from a totally different angle from that one; rather than being a mystery which emphasized the gory murders (as that one did), this one is more of an exploration of the mind of the killer himself – we meet the killer early on, and the movie makes him the center of attention. However, the second half of the movie has the most interesting developments. It becomes in part a ghost story, but with a fascinating switch on an old cliche; when one of his victims returns to haunt him, rather than having the ghost appear to only him without anyone else being able to see her (a standard cliche), the reverse is done – everyone can see the ghost but him, a ploy that is extremely effective given the plot at the time. I also like the fact that the killer is committing these murders because he’s trying to piece together a puzzle, and towards the end you discover what he means by this. These elements make the movie more interesting than it might otherwise be, and they make up for the ordinary first half. The movie also features a clip from BLACK SABBATH.