HOME |  JOIN |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Last Warrior, The
Artemis 81
Rampage
Quiet Place, A
Braven
Changeover, The
Isle of Dogs
Funny Cow
Maze Runner: The Death Cure
Mad to Be Normal
Beast of Burden
Dead Men Walk
Game Night
Under the Tree
L'Amant Double
Gonin
Coco
Producers, The
Molly's Game
Forest of the Lost Souls, The
Hatchet III
Birdman of Alcatraz
Pacific Rim: Uprising
Wonderstruck
If It Ain't Stiff, It Ain't Worth a Fuck
Nun, The
Red Sparrow
My Friend Dahmer
Journeyman
Heat, The
   
 
Newest Articles
The Ultimate Trip: The Original Psychedelic Movies
Players of Games: Willy Wonka, Tron and Ready Player One
What Am I Doing Hangin' 'Round? The Ends of The Monkees
Flings and Arrows: Conquest vs Flesh + Blood
Orson Around: F for Fake and The Late Great Planet Earth
ITC What You Did There: Retro-Action on Blu-ray
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
   
 
  Kill, Baby...Kill! Buy this film here.
Year: 1966
Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, Erika Blanc, Fabienne Dali, Piero Lulli, Giana Vivaldi, Max Lawrence, Micaela Esdra, Valerio Valeri
Genre: Horror
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: That wafer- thin line between the living and the dead has been crossed by many directors but few, I'll wager, could walk the walk like Mario Bava. With the sole exception of Lisa And The Devil, Bava had to work with meagre budgets and tight schedules, relying on ingenuity, imagination and those painterly eyes that created some of the most vivid nightmares ever committed to celluloid.

Kill, Baby...Kill! pits science and law against the forces of evil when Dr. Paul Eswai (Rossi-Stuart) and Inspector Kruger (Lulli) arrive at the small Transylvanian village of Kremingen; the latter in response to a letter from one extremely frightened girl who was found impaled on iron railings before Kruger could reach the village. Eswai is asked to perform an autopsy, aided by Monica (Blanc), an ex-local girl who returns home to find her birthplace gripped by fear. As Bava works his magic, we slowly discover the legend of Melissa Graps (played by a young boy , Valeri) , a 7 year old girl who, many years earlier, bled to death following an accident while drunken villagers ignored her cries for help. Now, those who catch sight of her unquiet spirit suffer a similar fate while her mother (Vivaldi) presides over the family villa, surrounded by memories and fuelled by hate.

Although Bava is often cited as a master of style over substance, Kill, Baby...Kill! is a veritable feast for lovers of the macabre who like nothing better than a tale well told. A frightened coach driver who reluctantly delivers Eswai into a place of evil; terrified villagers who form a wall of silence; a scorceress (Dali', echoing Rada Rassimov's character in Bava's Baron Blood) who uses 'the old ways' to ward off the dead; wonderful mist-shrouded night scenes where a tolling bell signals another impending death.... a familiar storyline with stock characters? To an extent, yes, but even though we're on familiar ground, the soil seems firm and fresh, thanks to Bava's supreme technical skill, coupled with his unerring ability to get under the skin of what really scares us. Here, the spectral figure of Melissa Graps takes centre stage, emerging as one of Bava's eeriest and most imitated creations. This 'bambino diavolo' has inspired the likes of Martin Scorsese (The Last Temptation Of Christ) and Federico Fellini (Toby Dammit, from Spirits Of The Dead), who took note of the images of a child clad in white, emerging from the shadows of half-lit corridors, peering through windows with a malevolent, death-dealing stare or, most chilling of all, perched on a swing, her laughter peeling through the cold night air: wish I had a gold coin (embedded in the heart, perhaps?) for every film that wheels on a child's ball bouncing down the stairs to land at the feet of the living.Melissa's evil mother also succeeds in quickening the pulse rate, at first commanding our sympathy and then moving to the other end of the scale as her part in this story becomes apparent.

Long-time admirers/potential newcomers to this film can now choose between several DVD releases, though Kill, Baby...Kill! has yet to receive the red carpet treatment it so richly deserves. My first encounter occured several years ago, courtesy of a 3rd gen bootleg tape, followed by a poor quality print shown at London's NFT during their wonderful Mario Bava retrospective. The release of VCI's Region 1 DVD finally hinted that Kill, Baby...Kill! could turn out to be another piece of Bava eye candy. While it's nice to see a version of this film with acceptable colour saturation, it must be noted that flesh tones are on the dull side and there are many instances of grain and print damage.
Brentwood Home Video's Fright Night collection (approx $15) contains 10 movies of varying a/v quality, but their presentation of Kill, Baby...Kill! is the best I've seen. As one would expect, Brentwood have not delivered a pristine version, but the colours are much bolder than on the VCI disc with more detail in those macabre set designs. Unfortunately, both the Brentwood and VCI discs are pan-and-scan, hampering Bava's widescreen compositions.

At the time of writing, Diamond Entertainment are preparing to add this film to their catalogue of budget botch-jobs, so those familiar with some of their past releases (Cat O' Nine Tails, anyone?) may prefer to look elsewhere in search of a definitive release. Perhaps the German site amazon.de may be worth a look? There you'll find Die Toten Augen des Dr. Dracula in Bava's original 1.85:1 cut. Although the audio is German language only, with no English subtitles, picture quality is excellent, by all accounts.

And what of the long-awaited release from Image Entertainment? Well, Video Watchdog editor Tim Lucas recorded an audio commentary for this release some 3 years ago, and remarked that the disc should be deliver a drop-dead gorgeous transfer, taken from a 35mm source as opposed to VCI's 16mm materials. Sadly, a legal dispute has placed this most-wanted version in limbo, so we can only hope that Alfredo Leone can resolve matters and give us the real Kill, Baby...Kill!

Aka: Curse of the Dead, Die Toten Augen des Dr. Dracula, Operazione Paura
Reviewer: Steve Langton

 

This review has been viewed 9899 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Mario Bava  (1914 - 1980)

Italian director/writer/cinematographer and one of the few Italian genre film-makers who influenced, rather than imitated. Worked as a cinematographer until the late 1950s, during which time he gained a reputation as a hugely talented director of photography, particularly in the use of optical effects.

Bava made his feature debut in 1960 with Black Sunday/The Mask of Satan, a richly-shot black and white Gothic gem. From then on Bava worked in various genres – spaghetti western, sci-fi, action, peplum, sex – but it was in the horror genre that Bava made his legacy. His sumptuously filmed, tightly plotted giallo thrillers (Blood and Black Lace, Hatchet for the Honeymoon, Bay of Blood) and supernatural horrors (Lisa and the Devil, Baron Blood, Kill, Baby...Kill!) influenced an entire generation of Italian film-makers (and beyond) – never had horror looked so good. Bava’s penultimate picture was the harrowing thriller Rabid Dogs, while his last film, Shock, was one his very scariest. Died of a heart attack in 1980.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
Spectre
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Robert Segedy
Darren Jones
  Asma Amal
  Chris Lawrence
Enoch Sneed
George White
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: