Okay there are strange and weird movies; then there are Mario Bava movies. Brava is an Italian auteur with a flair for the strange and bizarre without any purpose. He is responsible for such classics as Diabolik, Dr Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs and Kill Baby Kill.
When Bava makes a movie he first and foremost wants to keep the audience distracted and confused during key scenes. It is done with whacky camera angles, LSD flashbacks, useless characters and the odd unnecessarily naked woman. I really believe that Bava thinks he’s being cute when he shows off these kinds of things in his films.
Hatchet for the Honeymoon comes about midway through his career and it is the perfect example of all my theories.
The movie stars Steven Forsyth as self-confessed psychopath, John Harrington, who is stuck in a loveless marriage. He is rich, handsome, horny and well bored sick so for fun he carves up models dressed in wedding gowns. Oh did I mention he also runs a modeling agency?
Take this character, give him a brain, switchblade and an oozing sexual charm and you could have the makings of a classic anti-hero in the tradition of Hannibal Lecter.
But what Bava does with this character is makes him the cheesiest and most brainless serial killer I have ever seen.
He buries all his victims in the dirt in his “hot house” and then literally stops to smell the roses. His wedding gown fetish echoes his frustration with his marriage and instead of using a switchblade, razor or intimidating sharp knife, he uses a meat cleaver or hatchet. It’s just silly and well that’s Mario Bava.
The movie is a hodge-podge of Bava style including way too many LSD inspired shots. You have a nice performance by Forsyth but its lost on just how bad this movie feels as a whole. The movie bleeds craziness. If you want to see what it looks like when a director loses his mind, seek out this film.
1 out of 5
So Says the Soothsayer