Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Kill, Baby, Kill Another great Mario Bava classic

By Steve D. Stones

In 1966, Italian director Mario Bava made this gothic supernatural classic – Kill, Baby, Kill! The film was also marketed as Curse of The Living Dead and under its Italian title – Operazione Paura. Bava is considered a master of the Italian “Giallo” genre in film-making.

A coroner, played by Italian actor Giacomo Rossi-Stuart, arrives in a small 19th century Carpathian town to conduct an autopsy. He discovers that the death of a child is haunting locals, who were responsible for her death. The ghost of the girl seeks her revenge on the locals by driving them mad enough to commit suicide. A local witch is also spinning evil sorcery in the town. Gold coins are found embedded in the hearts of villagers who are found dead. The coroner realizes that the dead child has put a curse on the village. He encounters the ghost of the child while visiting her mother, the Baroness Graps.  The Baroness has a strange painting of the girl covered in spider webs on her castle wall.

Bava uses a number of filming techniques that have become characteristic of his directing style. For example, a number of scenes show a character peeking through a window or standing in a doorway as the camera quickly zooms in closely to the character, and then quickly pulls out and away from the person. In one very surreal sequence, a child is swinging back and forth on a swing as if the camera is in her lap, zooming closely to a tombstone off in the distance as the child swings forward.  Bava also uses strange red or blue lightning in a number of scenes, which he also repeats in Planet of The Vampires (1965) and Danger Diabolik (1969). In another scene, actor Rossi-Stuart runs through the baroness’ room over and over again, as his duplicate catches up behind him.

Kill, Baby, Kill is not the masterpiece of Bava’s 1960 film – Black Sunday, but it is still an effective horror film worthy of your viewing. Happy Viewing. 

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