Review: Kill, Baby…Kill!

Blu-ray & DVD: Kill, Baby…Kill! (1966)

It is the early 1800’s and pathologist Dr Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart) is called to a remote Carpathian village by Inspector Kruger (Piero Lulli) to perform an autopsy on a woman who died in mysterious circumstances. The locals are convinced they are being haunted by the spirit of a young girl who died years ago, so can the doctor find a logical explanation to the strange happenings within the village, or will his own mental state be tested to breaking point?

Directed by the great Mario Bava, you are assured of exquisite visuals and atmospheric scenes which draw you deeper into the narrative as the running time progresses. Moody lighting, claustrophobic fog bound sets, and slow deliberate camera moves all enhance the prevailing sense of dread as Dr Eswai uncovers the secrets of the village, piece by bloody piece. Accompanied by Ruth (Fabienne Dali), the village sorceress, Eswai finds himself (much like Sergeant Howie in The Wicker Man) as an outsider cast adrift in a community that distrusts him and manipulates him.

The acting is serviceable throughout the entire cast, with no real standout performances. The star of the movie is the assured guiding hand of Bava who puts together scenes to rival any of his more lauded work, including Black Sunday and Lisa and the Devil. He could direct an episode of Strictly Come Dancing and make it seem bone chilling…though just the thought of having to watch that show brings me out in a cold sweat and the shivers.

A stylised mist filled graveyard is far more oppressive than it has any right to be, while the scenes in Villa Graps (where secrets are uncovered) will have you looking over your shoulder when you finally get up to turn your television off…just make sure not to turn off all the lights!

Kill, Baby…Kill! is a horror classic that should not be missed. If you love early Hammer movies and creepy atmospheric sets, then surely you’re already a fan of Mario Bava and his work…aren’t you?

Another superb release by Arrow Films and as always accompanied by a great set of special features.

SPECIAL EDITION CONTENTS:

  • Restored 2K high definition digital transfer
  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentations
  • Original mono Italian and English soundtracks (lossless on the Blu-ray Disc)
  • English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing for the English soundtrack
  • New audio commentary by Tim Lucas, author of Mario Bava – All the Colors of the Dark
  • The Devil’s Daughter: Mario Bava and the Gothic Child, a new video essay by critic Kat Ellinger
  • Kill, Bava, Kill!, an interview with assistant director Lamberto Bava
  • Yellow, Semih Tareen’s short film homage to the cinema of Mario Bava
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector’s booklet featuring new writing by critic Travis Crawford”.
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Review by Dave (host of 60 Minutes With) from a disc kindly supplied by Arrow Films.