Today I watched Mario Bava’s Kill, Baby… Kill! (1966)
With Kill, Baby… Kill! Mario Bava takes the vivid colours and jarring camera angles that created the alien world of Planet of the Vampires and uses these effects on a classic Gothic style ghost story. This film is about a small Carpathian town that is beset by the ghost of a young girl. A doctor has been brought to the town by the regional police who are investigating a string of murders. Unfortunately the townsfolk are extremely unhelpful and refuse to help anyone who dares to investigate the mystery of their locale.
The visual effects here have a rather psychedelic effect. The film takes place at the turn of the century and as such the heavily saturated lighting has an anachronistic feel. So when it melds together with the more classically influenced set design there is a marvelously dreamlike sense of foreboding. The world of this movie is a sinister one and there are many location shots in Italy’s numerous medieval ruins which makes the world seem decayed and crumbling.
The plot for this movie, while comprehensible, is rather convoluted. The film often frames things in the manner of a mystery despite many of the answers behind it being rather obvious. Yet this mess of a story actually adds to the overall impact of the atmosphere and scares for me. The film is still very good at establishing the good guys and bad guys and in conveying what is happening scene to scene and the bigger picture is just this malevolent and twisted nightmare that makes as much sense as any night terror.
This film moves with quite a quick pace for a Gothic horror film which works to it’s advantage. It is a fast moving nightmare in which everything is ambiguous and dangerous. The messy script blends well with the idea of an illogical dream scenario and the hard work of the cast does the rest to make this an enticing narrative; with all the Gothic horror I have been viewing this month it is nice to see this deviation of the genre. 5/5