Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Il rosso segno della follia) Reviews

Page 1 of 4
Super Reviewer
April 14, 2011
I was extremely surprised with the quality of this film. Mario Bava has created a flawless production. His use of colour is second to none. The sets and lighting are also top notch, conveying an eerie mood. Some lovely point of view shots are also utilized by Bava.

This film tells the story of John Harrington, who runs a fashion house specialising in bridal wear. He is unhappily married to his overbearing wife Mildred and he is also insane.

I would hesitate to call this a Giallo movie as the killer is revealed at the beginning of the film. This is more of a character study of the killer and his journey into madness.

For those interested in thrillers and atmosphere this comes highly recommended. Far better than Bavas better known Bay of Blood, which i found rather cheap looking in comparison.

This is a classic of Italian cinema. Highly recommended.
Super Reviewer
½ September 5, 2010
I loved the story and the main character, he's not just a serial killer, he's a serial killer who tries to figure out why he's a serial killer. Great direction and style from Bava. I really liked this movie, and I highly recommend it to horror fans.
RCCLBC
Super Reviewer
½ October 20, 2009
A bit cliched story wise, but visually interesting.
Super Reviewer
April 21, 2007
The first half of Hatchet for the Honeymoon was incredibly and painfully slow, but once the little woman pushes him too far it picks up. American Psycho definitely borrows liberally from this movie and Mario Bava paints wonderful images with lighting after his major studio stint (Danger: Diabolik) didn't work out to his liking. Ultimately, this is a rehash of Blood and Black Lace only not as fun--although Forsyth watching Bava's Black Sunday on TV was amusing.
Super Reviewer
October 24, 2007
If not quite vintage Mario Bava, this is a good little black comedy about a guy who has to keep killing women in order to piece together his memories of how his mother died. Interestingly for a giallo, we know the identity of the killer from the very start. Sometimes a bit slow, the movie shifts up a gear and becomes a twisted "Blithe Spirit" when the killer starts being haunted by his murdered wife. Well worth seeing; look out for Stephen Forsyth wearing the most extraordinary pair of pyjamas I've ever seen.
Super Reviewer
July 20, 2010
The psychotic head of a fashion company oversees a line of wedding dresses while simultaneously chopping up a string of beautiful female victims. But this is not just random violence -- each murder somehow brings him closer and closer to unlocking a repressed memory about his mother's death. Meanwhile, he kills one woman too many and becomes tormented by her ghost (it's not entirely clear whether this ghost really exists or if she's just a product of his dementia).

"Hatchet for the Honeymoon" benefits from a gorgeous cast, rich colors and a vivid soundtrack (love that buzzing, Morricone-style guitar). I also relished the eerie room of bridal mannequins and the childhood loft's shelves of mechanical toys (those are always good for a scare, eh?).

Not bad at all. I enjoyed this film more than expected.
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2012
*** out of ****

Mario Bava, one of the great pioneers for the horror genre as well as the famed "Giallo" sub-genre that it claims, has never been one to abandon his signature style that consists of colorful shots, abstract camera angles, and supernatural storytelling. From his rise ("The Woman Who Knew Too Much") to his fall ("Shock"), his style never changed. I admire Bava and his desire to terrorize the audience with a bombardment of never-ending nightmarish imagery; and I'm almost always entertained by his efforts in doing so. One might argue that his "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" is a lessor film from the director; with a sense of directorial and visionary attachment. In blending heavy elements of both the supernatural and Giallo horror sub-genres, he's made a movie that will divide mainstream audiences and more than likely, his fan-base as well. Being someone who has before been captured and willfully swept away by the perverse beauty of the Mario Bava films; I found this one easy to take and consistently engaging, even if I knew it was far from the director's best stab at a genre picture.

Dream logic and ghastly delusions are rather common of a Giallo film; and I won't deny that such things are certainly prevalent here. Aside from the intoxicating surrealism, there is a story: that of John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth), the wealthy owner of a bridal fashion house, who lives a life of riches and emotional instability. He's constantly torn between women; he revels in the beautiful models and customers that come in by the day to his estate, but his love life is restrained to a single woman, his uptight wife, whom he loathes. But beneath the money, the house, and the formality of his character, John harbors a dark secret. A secret darker than his hatred for his wife, his perverse obsession with the side-women, and his complicated past.

It's from the opening frames on that we know his secret: John is a serial killer, intent on killing his customers and their lovers (if possible) exclusively. This activity traces back to a childhood tragedy, which influenced his life negatively and traumatized the young John for life. Unlike a lot of psychopaths well-known to the history of Giallo cinema, he doesn't create an alternate ego that he believes is really carrying out these bloody duties instead of him. He's sane; but also insane.

The first half of the film is focused on the development of his character and his sins; whilst in the second half, John goes one kill too far when he murders his wife in cold blood. But that's from the end of the story; she returns from the dead as a spirit that only those around John can see, but he cannot. She tortures him psychologically, bent on destroying his being and spending all eternity with her lover in Hell. One could view the story as a sort of cautionary tale for what happens when an individual commits unspeakable sin; it all comes back to that person eventually and as humans that inhabit a reality alternative from the dreams and visions of Bava, we have it easy. For John, it's safe to say that there's no easy way out of the mess that he's gotten himself into.

The world is practically bankrupt of American horror movies with a sense of imagination these days; although I suppose that's how it's always been. For compelling, frightening tales of the macabre; I often turn to foreign filmmakers and storytellers for guidance, support, and satisfaction. What "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" lacks in good, straight-forward storytelling it makes up for in grotesque beauty; with murder sequences that are gory and energetic, an original score that is unpredictably majestic one second and pulse-pounding another, some strong performances, and virtually flawless direction. This isn't my favorite Mario Bava film, nor is it one of his best, but it's certainly worth checking out so long as you're a devoted horror/Bava aficionado.

One of my favorite elements of the film was the architecture that completes the house of the John character. It is diverse. There's an obvious Gothic influence in certain rooms; while others are slightly more modern. Everything from the windows, to the wall, to the beds is so well-designed; that one cannot help but be entranced by the sensory overload of it all. One of my favorite scenes involves a tango that takes place in a room filled with mannequins and bridal dresses. If there was ever a scene so strangely alluring in the context of the film, be my guest and call it out. As far as I'm concerned, there were few other elements to "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" that took such a human approach to dream-logic horror narrative.
EnigmaticHallucination
Super Reviewer
½ July 25, 2010
I watched this film because I do so love American Psycho. I had just finished the book again and felt...well as violated as that book can make a person feel. It was upon going through the triva information on IMDB I found it discussed this movie. It seems that the cast and crew watched this movie before filming Psycho. I was like well if it was mentioned as something to get ready for that film I'll give it a go. Once again another movie that I'm left feeling...odd. You got Stephen and he has the whole internal narrative going on through the movie. You can definitely feel and see the inspiration that this movie had on American Psycho. The way he stalks the women seems to be similar to that as Bateman. He uses his wedding gown business to fulfill his urges. The story was a trip that lead one to question their own sanity as well as the protagonist. Was a good one time view. Not something I would watch repeatedly. It didn't have the flair that Bale brings to his characters. This is still a notable flick to watch if you are a fan of American Psycho however.
August 12, 2007
On second viewing, I really can chalk my blasť opinion up to the poor transfer that I have. in terms of composition, this is a great film, both visually, and in terms of writing. Unfortunately I have not seen a clean, restored transfer, so I cannot accurately comment on the color... though I can only imagine, based on how excellent even my washed out copy looks.
September 13, 2006
More of a dark comedy from Bava this time around, Hatchet is wild and very cool with all kinds of interesting use of color and camera moves.
½ March 31, 2015
A beautiful looking film that I'm not completely sold on. Stephen Forsyth isn't much of an actor, but it's not really a very demanding role ... he looks good in the stylish outfits he's given to wear, and I don't think he needs much more. (What is with the white & black body suit pyjamas he wears in one scene? They have a belt and a collar, for heaven's sake!) Outside of the look of the film, I liked it except for the middle act that seemed to drag excruciatingly.
February 6, 2015
Hatchet for the Honeymoon is a disappointing film. It is about bridal design shop owner who kills various young brides-to-be. Stephen Forsyth and Laura Betti give terrible performances. The screenplay is badly written. Mario Bava did a horrible job directing this movie. I was not impressed with this motion picture.
September 22, 2014
I definitely don't like it as much as I do Black Sunday or Kill, Baby...Kill!, but it's definitely special. I particularly love Bava's psychedelic stretches when John Harrington's sanity is stretched to its breaking point. I'm not sure, but I think a set of steak knives isn't the best wedding present to give that guy. Just saying.
½ May 5, 2014
Gleefully cheesy in every way, but not without a certain charm
½ March 22, 2014
The story and plot are fairly tame and obvious but there are some great moments of true tension but the winning in this motion picture comes from the artful hands and eyes of director Mario Bava. He knows how to direct a horror/giallo picture to keep you from falling asleep and amazed by the visuals through unique and satisfying camera tricks.
½ December 24, 2013
Do you hear that? Who is tiptoeing in my mind?
½ July 8, 2013
"The fact is, I'm completely mad. This realization annoyed me at first, but now it amuses me."-John Harrington (Stephen Forsythe)

A few days ago I found my favorite Bava film (BAY OF BLOOD) but now I have to scratch that statement, for I've have found my new new favorite and this makes me sad as I thought AMERICAN PSYCHO was a completely original screenplay, this is not so. Lots of scenes and similar diolog come from this creepy flick. Must watch more Bava.

"There is one problem. I must go on weilding the cleaver, it's most annoying."-John Harrington
Ryan M
Super Reviewer
½ February 23, 2012
*** out of ****

Mario Bava, one of the great pioneers for the horror genre as well as the famed "Giallo" sub-genre that it claims, has never been one to abandon his signature style that consists of colorful shots, abstract camera angles, and supernatural storytelling. From his rise ("The Woman Who Knew Too Much") to his fall ("Shock"), his style never changed. I admire Bava and his desire to terrorize the audience with a bombardment of never-ending nightmarish imagery; and I'm almost always entertained by his efforts in doing so. One might argue that his "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" is a lessor film from the director; with a sense of directorial and visionary attachment. In blending heavy elements of both the supernatural and Giallo horror sub-genres, he's made a movie that will divide mainstream audiences and more than likely, his fan-base as well. Being someone who has before been captured and willfully swept away by the perverse beauty of the Mario Bava films; I found this one easy to take and consistently engaging, even if I knew it was far from the director's best stab at a genre picture.

Dream logic and ghastly delusions are rather common of a Giallo film; and I won't deny that such things are certainly prevalent here. Aside from the intoxicating surrealism, there is a story: that of John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth), the wealthy owner of a bridal fashion house, who lives a life of riches and emotional instability. He's constantly torn between women; he revels in the beautiful models and customers that come in by the day to his estate, but his love life is restrained to a single woman, his uptight wife, whom he loathes. But beneath the money, the house, and the formality of his character, John harbors a dark secret. A secret darker than his hatred for his wife, his perverse obsession with the side-women, and his complicated past.

It's from the opening frames on that we know his secret: John is a serial killer, intent on killing his customers and their lovers (if possible) exclusively. This activity traces back to a childhood tragedy, which influenced his life negatively and traumatized the young John for life. Unlike a lot of psychopaths well-known to the history of Giallo cinema, he doesn't create an alternate ego that he believes is really carrying out these bloody duties instead of him. He's sane; but also insane.

The first half of the film is focused on the development of his character and his sins; whilst in the second half, John goes one kill too far when he murders his wife in cold blood. But that's from the end of the story; she returns from the dead as a spirit that only those around John can see, but he cannot. She tortures him psychologically, bent on destroying his being and spending all eternity with her lover in Hell. One could view the story as a sort of cautionary tale for what happens when an individual commits unspeakable sin; it all comes back to that person eventually and as humans that inhabit a reality alternative from the dreams and visions of Bava, we have it easy. For John, it's safe to say that there's no easy way out of the mess that he's gotten himself into.

The world is practically bankrupt of American horror movies with a sense of imagination these days; although I suppose that's how it's always been. For compelling, frightening tales of the macabre; I often turn to foreign filmmakers and storytellers for guidance, support, and satisfaction. What "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" lacks in good, straight-forward storytelling it makes up for in grotesque beauty; with murder sequences that are gory and energetic, an original score that is unpredictably majestic one second and pulse-pounding another, some strong performances, and virtually flawless direction. This isn't my favorite Mario Bava film, nor is it one of his best, but it's certainly worth checking out so long as you're a devoted horror/Bava aficionado.

One of my favorite elements of the film was the architecture that completes the house of the John character. It is diverse. There's an obvious Gothic influence in certain rooms; while others are slightly more modern. Everything from the windows, to the wall, to the beds is so well-designed; that one cannot help but be entranced by the sensory overload of it all. One of my favorite scenes involves a tango that takes place in a room filled with mannequins and bridal dresses. If there was ever a scene so strangely alluring in the context of the film, be my guest and call it out. As far as I'm concerned, there were few other elements to "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" that took such a human approach to dream-logic horror narrative.
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