Tuesday, October 04, 2011

DOCTOR SHOCK'S MAD THEATRE HALLOWEEN MOVIE #3: HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON. Here we have an Italian giallo directed by Mario Bava which is quite a hoot. The film itself is quite silly but some sources refer to it as a horror "comedy" and I'm inclined to agree. This 1970 film, like skajillions of others, is heavily influenced by Alfred Hitchcock's PSYCHO a decade before; there are mommy issues and transvestism in bridal gowns. There is also an incredibly stylish-looking film because not only does Bava direct but the Maestro is also the director of photography (his first gig in which he excelled). Stephen Forsyth (and I'm sorry but he looks just like Adam Ant's older brother) plays John Harrington who runs a design house specializing in bridal gowns. Unfortunately, he also likes to hatchet women to death in their wedding gowns because . . . get this . . . a woman should know love once and then die! Um, pardon me if I don't ask you to the prom then, Johnny boy! Almost the first words John speaks to the viewer (in voice over) are absolutely priceless and I need to put a recording of them on my answering machine at once! While shaving in an ornate mirror, John thinks to himself: " My name is John Harrington. I'm 30 years old. I'm a paranoiac. Paranoiac. An enchanting word, so civilized, full of possibilities. The truth is, I am completely mad. The realization which annoys me at first, but is now amusing to me. Quite amusing. Nobody suspects I am a madman. A dangerous murderer. Not Mildred, my wife. Nor the employees of my fashion center. Nor of course my customers." How can you not love THAT in a leading man?!?! And speaking of the little women, Mildred (played in wonderful full-on ball-busting mode by Laura Betti) will not give John his much-wanted divorce but instead plans to hang around "till death do us part" just to make his life hell. It's truly a great Joan Crawford-like performance. And the best part is that, when John finally does get around to killing her, she STILL doesn't go away. Her ghost continues to follow John around (priceless) but she is visible to other people instead of John. This leads to waiters and waitresses bringing her ghost drinks and coffee and biddies at garden parties having conversations with her (which to John looks like they're talking to an empty chair). Although Mildred does appear to John now and then just to needle him. Wonderful! So this is, in fact, not your usual giallo but has some definite supernatural elements in it. It is certainly not Bava's best film (not even his second of third or fifth best) but there are still many things to enjoy in it; the tongue-in-cheek humour, the deadpan narration by John Harrington which sounds exactly like "Dr. Radford Bain" in THE KILLER SHREWS trailer (!), the beautiful photography of the Maestro himself and the wonderfully wacky goings-on with murdered brides and ghostly wives. So while I can't exactly recommend it, I will also say that, in the right frame of mind, you'll probably get a kick out of it too!
Oh and by the way. . .today's Halloweenie Comic Book Cover of the Day #4 is CREEPY #39 (1971). Delicious art by Basil Gogos!

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