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Kill, Baby… Kill!

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Influential Italian gothic shocker

Image of Kill, Baby… Kill!

Mario Bava / Italy / 1966 / 83mins

Available on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD

It’s all here – the crazy baroness, the cobwebs, creaking doors, spiral staircase, distorting mirrors, four-poster bed with black chiffon drapes and a spooky child at the end of a long corridor. It’s like a cross between Hammer and an eighties pop video – you’re half expecting Adam Ant to pop up, and the leading man has a hairdo straight out of Spandau Ballet.

One of Bava’s better giallo Italian horror offerings, Kill has a title like one of those Russ Meyer girls-and-motorcycles flicks of the era; but it’s firmly in the Dracula tradition replete with abandoned churches and superstitious peasants. A doctor arrives by carriage in order to conduct an autopsy after a mysterious death. There are some lovely graphics, creative lighting and elaborate sets but it doesn’t half go on, and that’s saying something considering it’s only 83 minutes. At one point someone says “this isn’t sorcery, it’s torture.” A bit like the leaden acting.

The film lacks the lurid effects (and presence of arch scream queen Barbara Steele) of Bava’s much more transgressive Black Sunday from 1960. But Kill does have its moments. There’s a chilling sequence when the doctor chases someone from room to room and it’s clear he’s chasing himself in and out of the same room.

Hugely influential on films such as The Exorcist and The Shining, Kill, Baby… Kill’s going to please fans of Italian horror but for others it will be just too hammy by far.

/ @kenwilson84


Ken is a feature writer award-winning editor covering subjects as diverse as the arts and design, film, the law, health and popular culture.

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