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Sunday, November 29, 2015

IL ROSSO SEGNO DELLA FOLLIA / BLOOD BRIDES (aka) HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (1970)

A meager offering from Italian Horror (Giallo) specialist Mario Bava with his usual stylistics (zoom shots, gore, boobs, out-of-focus transitions) at half mast. Stephen Forsyth is the handsome, if gelid, bridal dress designer who slashes his models after they try on his latest creations. And when his detested wife catches on, she gets the same treatment only to return as a ghostly apparition. There’s even a dumb detective hanging around to miss obvious clues. Hard to know what attracted Bava here, though if you let your mind drift a bit some of the elements play out like a gender-swap gloss on Alfred Hitchcock’s MARNIE/’64, right down to the big 'peep-hole' explanatory psychological ‘reveal’ at the end, screen-filling red infusions, and a lead who can’t act much.

WATCH THIS, NOT THAT: Bava was famous for his stylishly bold use of color, but early b&w pics like BLACK SUNDAY/’60 and BLACK SABBATH/’63 also rate high.


ATTENTION MUST BE PAID: Forsyth gave up his film career after this, but perhaps Bava let him keep the stupendous pair of pajamas he wears at breakfast. Black & white, with stove-pipe legs and a silver belt against a pattern of interlocked vertical chains. Forget the bridal dresses, order the P.J.s!

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