Hatchet for the Honeymoon

Italian whiz of horror Mario Bava directs this tale of mental illness, ghosts, and wedding day deaths.

John (Stephen Forsyth) runs a wedding gown shop in Paris and has a nasty habit of killing happy bride-to-be types. He tells the viewers this information within the first few minutes. I like this because unlike most of Bava’s films, there’s no guessing whodunit in this Giallo. And since this is Italian horror the mad man likes to kill,  A LOT.

Living in a sham of a marriage and (literally) haunted by the ghost of his first ex-wife; John becomes increasingly cracked as the film progresses. Bava is able to deftly bring us into John’s mad world making for an excellent character study mixed into a solid psychological, supernatural horror film.

John and the policeman investigating the murders make for some very fine tension building throughout the film. I particularly enjoyed the scene where John shows the policeman a horror film (Black Sabbath) to quiet concerns over the screaming coming from the house. Well done.

The film itself plays out neatly, with the dubbing only being mildly atrocious. At least the dubbing didn’t ruin the suspense of the film like is the case with quite a few Italian horror movies.

Bava went a little crazy with the zoom lenses which at times was distracting and took away from an otherwise excellently directed film. The score was unique; it too, however, was a bit all over the place.

While not the best film by Bava, Hatchet for the Honeymoon can be considered an underrated addition to the Bava collection of masterpiece films.

Snore Factor ZZ

IMDB 1970

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