KiLL, babY…. KiLL!
released OUT NOW! 1966 | 15 | Blu-ray & dVd (dual format) Director Mario Bava Cast Giacomo rossi-stuart, erika Blanc, Fabienne dali, Piero lulli
Many of the most effective examples of cinematic surrealism can be found in the horror genre, and this film includes a real doozy. The hero runs out of a room… into an identical room. He tries again, with the same result. Chasing after someone exiting through the door opposite, the pattern repeats… and repeats. Gradually gaining on the mystery man, on the sixth and final loop he grabs hold of them, turning the figure to reveal: himself!
This gobsmacking WTF moment is just one highlight of Italian horror maestro Mario Bava’s sublime exercise in style. Set in 1907, it follows a doctor sent to a remote mountain village to conduct an autopsy, who eventually learns from the superstitious locals that a ghostly girl is compelling people to kill themselves.
The mystery of the curse isn’t that involving, but the white-clad, wide-eyed, sinisterly-staring spirit (actually played by a boy wearing a long blonde wig) – whose advent is often heralded by a ball bouncing into shot – is seriously spooky, and the atmosphere Bava conjures is spellbinding. With its spiral staircases, cobwebbed crypts and mist-shrouded, candle-lined cobbled streets, all drenched in green, blue and amber light, this is a ravishingly beautiful example of gothic poetics.
Extras Commentary by Tim Lucas, author of a book on Bava; interviews with assistant director Lamberto Bava (Mario’s son) and star Erika Blanc; an introduction by Blanc; a new “video essay” by horror critic Kat Ellinger; Bava-homaging 2006 short “Yellow”; a vintage photo-comic; German opening titles; a gallery; a booklet. Ian Berriman
A beautiful example of gothic poetics
Exteriors were shot in the village of Calcata. It used to be a site for pilgrimage, as home to the Holy Prepuce (Jesus’s foreskin).
“Mum? Dad? Oh God, my eyes!”