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Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)
"Il rosso segno della follia" (original title)

GP  -  Horror | Thriller  -  9 February 1974 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 1,675 users  
Reviews: 44 user | 71 critic

A bridal design shop owner kills various young brides-to-be in an attempt to unlock a repressed childhood trauma that's causing him to commit murder.



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Title: Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970)

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Director: Mario Bava
Stars: Daria Nicolodi, John Steiner, David Colin Jr.


Complete credited cast:
Stephen Forsyth ...
John Harrington
Dagmar Lassander ...
Helen Wood
Laura Betti ...
Mildred Harrington
Jesús Puente ...
Inspector Russell
Femi Benussi ...
Alice Norton
Antonia Mas ...
Luciano Pigozzi ...
Vences (as Alan Collin)
Gérard Tichy ...
Dr. Kalleway
Verónica Llimera ...
Pasquale Fortunato ...
Club Waiter (as Fortunato Pascuale)
Ignasi Abadal ...
Kane (as José Ignacio Abadaz)
Silvia Lienas ...
Montserrat Riva ...
Bride on Train (as Monserrat Riba)


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 <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

bride | murder | ghost | meat cleaver | trauma | See more »


Horror | Thriller


GP | See all certifications »





Release Date:

9 February 1974 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hatchet for the Honeymoon  »

Box Office


ESP 10,908,239 (Spain)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The TV show that Harrington refers to in an attempt to fool Inspector Russell is a clip from Mario Bava's own Black Sabbath (1963) - specifically the "Wurdalak" sequence featuring Boris Karloff. See more »


When a newspaper close-up is shown, with a report of a murder on a train on the front page, the French word for wife (Epouse) is misspelled. See more »


John Harrington: A woman should only live to her wedding, love once, and then die.
See more »


Features Black Sabbath (1963) See more »

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User Reviews

Another ingenious Mario Bava gem!
10 September 2004 | by (Beverley Hills, England) – See all my reviews

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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