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Alberto de Mendoza
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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>
I say strange because I'm not quite sure what exactly "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" was supposed to be (but enjoyed it nonetheless). It features many of the traditional giallo elements - a black-clad killer, lots of beautiful young women who may as well have "Murder Victim" tattooed on their foreheads, incompetent detectives, childhood psychological trauma, spooky childhood toys... Yet it also diverges from the giallo blueprint in some ways by incorporating an odd, Twilight Zone-style supernatural element into the plot, and also a wry commentary on bourgeois married life. There are clear elements of both Psycho and Peeping Tom in the story, and it also predates both the 1980 slasher film He Knows You're Alone, and the Bret Easton Ellis book (and later film) American Psycho.
As usual with Mario Bava, the cinematography, production design and lighting are all beautiful to look at, and there are two great suspense set-pieces: the scene where the killer waltzes with his next victim to the eerie tune of a music box in a shadowy, elegant store-room full of creepy plastic mannequins in wedding dresses; and the scene where he talks to the suspicious cop while his dead wife's arm is hanging from the staircase and dripping blood onto the carpet.
It's also a surprisingly funny film in many ways. Special mention must go to Laura Betti's hilarious performance as Mildred, the evil wife from hell.
All in all, "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" is an intriguing and often underrated addition to Mario Bava's formidable canon. Stylish, entertaining and darkly funny.
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