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Dr. Eswai is called by Inspector Kruger to a small village to perform an autopsy on a woman who has died under suspicious circumstances. Despite help from Ruth, the village witch, Kruger is killed and it is revealed that the dead woman, as well as other villagers, have been killed by the ghost of Melissa, a young girl who, fed by the hatred of her grieving mother, Baroness Graps, exacts her revenge on them. Dr. Eswai, along with Monica, a local nurse, are lured into a fateful confrontation at the Villa Graps. Written by
Doug Sederberg <email@example.com>
I see a lot of people complaining about the silly title "Kill, Baby, Kill", but the original title, "Operation Fear", is no better. But don't be deceived, this is a first-rate Bava shocker with plenty to look at.
Here we have an isolated Transylvanian village haunted by the spirit of a dead little girl intent on collecting the souls of the inhabitants. The plot finds a young doctor summoned to the town to perform an autopsy in the investigation of a girl's mysterious death. The simultaneous arrival of a damsel-in-distress "assistant" completes the formula, and soon there is danger galore for everyone.
The imagery gets the emphasis here, and I found some of these sets to be absolutely unreal. Spooky-movie cobwebs and mist abounds, and the movie takes place in a series of oddly-shaped buildings, labyrinthine walkways, and even an ultra-campy graveyard. One of the most astonishing sets is that of the ominous "haunted villa", inhabited by Gianna Vivaldi, bearing an uncanny resemblance to Alida Valli (Ironically, the town's burgomaster is played by Luciano Catenacci, who looks more than a little bit like Telly Savalas. Alida Valli and Telly Savalas would both star in Mario Bava's seminal "Lisa and the Devil" years later).
The film's influence on many genre classics will be obvious to horror film buffs, particularly the resemblance of several sequences to Dario Argento's "Suspiria". Even the soundtrack features a number of sighs and musical cues that seem to have been borrowed by Goblin for "Suspiria"'s score. The most obvious similarity is the use of gratuitous red and green lights (which makes you wonder where these villagers got those colored bulbs-this is a period piece, after all!), and one dizzying sequence makes ingenious use of a spiral staircase.
The film also has a level of violence that must have been quite shocking in 1966, with a throat-slashing, temple-piercing, and even an impalement on an iron fence. I am so glad I finally made the time to sit down & watch this great movie. I'm really surprised the film doesn't get more recognition; it is that good. Now why couldn't anyone think of a better title for it???
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