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The owner of a design house busies himself murdering the new brides who have modelled his bridal fashions. When he decides to murder his wife, she becomes the ghost that wouldn't leave. Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
Horror maestro, Mario Bava directs this intriguing and ingenious horror highlight nightmare that delves deep into the mind of a madman. Stephen Forsyth is John Harrington, the aforementioned madman. Unlike most lunatics; John knows that he is insane. He confesses this to audience right near the start of the movie. The sequence in which he confesses is one of the creepiest and most surreal moments in the film. John confesses this to us like it is the most normal thing in the world. This confession also gives this film it's own unique edge over most giallo's; normally, we spend the film trying to work out who the killer is, but here Mario Bava not only lets us know who it is; but allows us to explore the murders with him; giving us the other side of the common mystery film. Aside from being mental, John is also the owner of a wedding dress shop. He murders women on their wedding night, and every time he kills someone; a little more of the murder of his mother is revealed. John also has a wife; a callous lady, who says she'll "never leave him", and a lady whom he despises.
As usual with Bava; the film is stunningly directed. Mario Bava is a man that is on top of his craft with every movie. Even when he only has a weak script or a dull story to work with; Mario Bava's films can always be given credit on the directorial side. His influence and importance to cinema far exceeds what he is credited for. Hatchet for the Honeymoon features several memorable and electrifying sequences. See the skilful way that Mario directs the sequence in which our protagonist is talking to the police, while the hand of his freshest victim slinks silently through the rails of the banister. Few directors could direct with such skill and precision to build up tension for a character that we don't actually like; but Mario Bava manages it admirably. The film also features hardly any blood at all; which is much to the film's credit. Bava concentrates on the mood and the atmosphere of the film, and therefore he simply doesn't need buckets of gore. Where other directors might have put some in to help sell their film; Bava just concentrates on what's important. Also worthy of note, as usual with Italian horror, is the music. Music helps this film massively; it is striking and unforgettable and it establishes a foreboding mood, of which the film makes best use.
The character of John Harrington, aside from being insane, is given a place in reality thanks to a brilliant performance by Stephen Forsyth. The film conveys the message that looks can be deceiving, and Stephen Forsyth is the perfect man to show that. On the outside, he is handsome and likable, but behind this facade; he is completely insane. Stephen Forsyth manages to capture both elements of the character; he somehow manages to do both things, despite them being complete opposites of each other. Hatchet for the Honeymoon is just another highlight in a long list of highlights from master director Mario Bava.
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