5 Bambole per la Luna d'Agosto (5 Dolls For an August Moon) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

5 Bambole per la Luna d'Agosto (5 Dolls For an August Moon) Reviews

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June 11, 2015
You are condemned to be hanged by the neck until dead.

A small group of people arrive in their vacation destination hoping to relax. Unfortunately, an evil man on the island is able to enchant women, get them to do his bidding, and eventually tortures and kills his female slaves. Can the vacationers avoid his evil gaze or will they be his next victims?

"I'm not a man of thought. I am a man of action."

Mario Bava, director of A Bay of Blood, The Evil Eye, Black Sunday, Baron Blood, Knives of the Avenger, Planet of Vampires, Black Sabbath, and Blood and Black Lace, delivers 5 Dolls of the August Moon. The storyline for this picture is bland and fairly unimaginative. The acting was mediocre as was the horror elements.

"You're the big fish nobody can touch."

I came across the Mario Bava collection on Netflix and had to add them to my queue. This is one of the worst films of his I have seen to date. The plot isn't overly interesting, the acting is bad, and the film felt like an excuse to have some naked hotties in a movie. I recommend skipping this film.

"You threw yourself away on a houseboy."

Grade: F
February 22, 2015
Mario Bava has infused Five Dolls for an August Moon with exactly the sort of nonsensical feel that one has come to expect from the filmmaker, with the movie's style-over-substance atmosphere compounded by a surfeit of one-dimensional protagonists and a storyline that couldn't possibly be less developed (ie things just seem to happen for no rhyme or reason). There's little doubt, then, that one's efforts at embracing the thin narrative fall flat on an all-too-consistent basis, and it's clear that Bava himself is struggling to pad out the film's brief yet endless running time.
December 25, 2013
Not one of Mario Bavas best but still enjoyable.
November 28, 2013
5 Bambole per la Luna d'Agosto (Five Dolls for an August Moon) (Mario Bava, 1970)

Every few years, I sit down with another Mario Bava movie to see if I can finally get a glimpse of what so many of my friends see in this guy's movies. Every time, I fail. I've seen a few Bava films I'd call watchable, none I'd call great, and a bunch about which the kindest thing I can say is that they're awful. Five Dolls for an August Moon falls into the last category.

The basic idea (I'm not sure I would go so far as to call it a "plot"): George Stark (The Blonde Connection's Teodoro Corr), a wealthy industrialist, invites some friends and their lovely wives (I could run down a list of names here, but the only one you really need to know is Algerian ultra-hottie Edwige Fenech) out to his private island for a weekend of fun, games, drinking, dancing, that sort of thing. All well and good until they discover there is a serial killer in their midst. Cue amateur detection, people losing their clothes on a fairly regular basis, and a couple of folks who deal with the stress of their imminent demise by...playing chess. (Why that struck me as the most ridiculous thing about this movie is beyond me, but it did.)

When I ask people what it is about Mario Bava's movies that excites them so, the general answer I get has something to do with his style of filmmaking. I've never heard anyone actually define it, however, and I'm sure if I were to attempt such a thing I'd be branded a heretic and burned at the stake by a legion of Barbara Steele aficionados, so I'll avoid it. I can tell you that it doesn't have the sort of stylistic excess that Argento, Fulci, and their giallo contemporaries had already started dabbling in (1970 was the year Argento released The Bird with the Crystal Plumage, probably his first true venture into giallo; Fulci, the same year, was in the process of filming the movie that would make him, too, a giallo superstar, A Lizard in a Woman's Skin, released in 1971); if anything, it plays like a straightforward murder mystery with a few half-hearted attempts at humor thrown in for (good? not really) measure. Usually when I see Bava films, they're dubbed, and I am usually willing to throw in some benefit of the doubt that less-than-stellar dubbing could be part of my problem with the movie in question, but this one was subtitled, so I can't even pull out that excuse.

This would seem to be a minor film in the Bava canon (it has just over a thousand IMDB votes as I write this in November 2013, while, for example, Black Sunday has about 7,000), and after watching it I can understand why. I'd recommend this one only for hardcore fans of the director or, of course, Edwige Fenech, who as usual gets appealingly bare on occasion. Others can safely avoid, and in fact will be better off for doing so. *
November 16, 2013
Released a year before #ABayOfBlood, Five Dolls For An August Moon is another "who-done-it" slasher fest directed by the great Mario Bava. Unlike the former, Moon is not as well put together. Characters are ill explained and the murders are no where near as gruesome as they were in A Bay of Blood. Even still though, the more and more Bava movies you watch, the more you pick up on his unique style of film-making techniques. Seeing how each of his movies is put together is worth a watch on their own.

½ June 13, 2013
I love Mario Bava. I feel the need to say it, considering how much I didn't like "5 Bambole per la luna d'agosto." He's one of the best horror directors of all time-- no other director of the genre has been able to capture the feel and mood he portrayed. "Black Sunday" and "Kill, Baby, Kill" are among my favorite horror films. So what went wrong here? It's surprisingly easy to see why. Bava has always been said to hugely dislike the film as a whole: after all, the project pretty much was thrown at him, and he thought the script was terrible.
In the end, while the film has eye-catching cinematography, and a set of costumes and furniture that remind us why the '60s are such a loved decade, "5 Bambole per la luna d'agosto" fails in part to the writing, most of the acting, and the godawful soundtrack that desperately needs help from Ennio Morricone. Most of all, it's easy to tell that Bava isn't as eager to create a melodic picture, like always.
The film revolves around a group of people getting together on an island, to get a full view of Professor Fritz Farrel's (William Berger) new chemical process, that may up being revolutionary. The men that arrive, who include ruthless businessman George Stark (Teodoro Corr), the chic Nick Chaney (Maurice Poli), and playboy Jack Davison (Howard Ross) all hope to get their paws on Farrel's discovery.
Yet, considering this is [supposedly] Italian horror, it's the women that are much more interesting. Perhaps the most is attractive sexpot Marie (Edwige Fenech) who is the wife of Nick, Jill (Edith Meloni), George's abused spouse, Peggy (Helena Ronee), Jack's bimbo wife, Trudy (Ira von Furstenberg), Fritz' cold spouse, who had an affair with Jill in the past, and the enigmatic Isabel (Ely Galleani), who has a connection to no one.
What starts as a fun little vacation of a get-together turns into a blood bath, as each of the guests are mysterious picked off one by one. It's hard not suspect nearly everyone, as they all have motive.
"5 Bambole per la luna d'agosto" is put in the giallo category, but it's hard to say so. Where's the black-gloved killer? The graphic deaths? It's all basically PG compared to most of the films in the category. It could only be considered a member of the sub-genre thanks to Fenech's presence, or the fact that it's a murder mystery. But most likely, it's because it's the debut of Fenech, who would later become known as the "queen of giallo" due to her many collaborations with Sergio Martino.
But let's face it-- this film is no "Bird with the Crystal Plumage", and Fenech isn't given enough screen-time to do anything flashy.
In the meantime, it's hard to root for these characters, not just because they're selfish, but they seem to not care about who lives or who dies-- if they appear to, it's nearly an act. They stick the corpses in a freezer as if it's no big deal, not willing to mourn because it wastes their time.
"5 Bambole per la luna d'agosto" is supposed to be a riff on Agatha Christie's charming whodunit, "And Then There Were None," but this film isn't charming and not much of an exciting whodunit. The final twist isn't as shocking as it should be, and that's a disappointment. Well actually, the whole film is.
May 2, 2012
More interesting for the mood than the plot. Very seventies, lounge music, women sitting around looking good, etc. I loved the freezer scenes, though.
½ September 23, 2011
Nice to look at for the fashions, scenery and scenes such as the bodies in the meat locker - but it feel like it's missing bits... Too many bodies are found without you ever having seen them being murdered; so you lose a lot of what is so great about these sorts of films usually. It's still pretty funky though and one of my first Bava's - but glad there is much better still to come, from what I hear! :)
Super Reviewer
September 15, 2011
I commited to this film as a Bava fan, but I would not subject anyone other then another Bava fan to sitting through it.

Aside from a great location, sets, costumes and music...there is not a whole lot of positive things to say about this film.

Not sure if it was the bad writing, editing, acting or a combination of all three...but this was very hard to sit through.
Super Reviewer
July 30, 2011
With an offhand plot, lines and character -- so chintzy they don't feel like a structure underneath anything -- this seems like a work made out of pure formalistic genius. And methodical genius: every long take is used for as many camera angles as possible or the character gets to traverse the frame in like 10 ways, and NONE of these long takes are economical cliches. A cold world, empty of conscience and full of rich colors and vivid lines and curves. The characters have about as much humanity as figure shapes, and hang together civilly.
July 19, 2011
Bava at his weird best.
May 17, 2011
Ludicrous, half-hearted dry-run for A Bay of Blood. The phrase "Lounge Giallo" could be applied to this daft mixture of groovy tunes, confusing ten-little-indians muder scenes, and comical disposing of the bodies. When the plot gets going, it's fun, though watch out for the preposterous ending.
Super Reviewer
½ April 14, 2011
Art direction and cinematography are as distinctive as any of Bava's other giallo films of the period, but the garbled script to what is essentially little more than a standard body-count movie really lets this one down. After a plodding and talky start, the film disintegrates into a total mess. Bava pulls off the odd visual flourish, but such scenes never gel together. Still, the mesmeric use of zooms, focus pulls, and tracking shots and the stylish use of colour ensures that, from an entirely aesthetic perspective, this film never becomes boring, and as an auteur piece, is well worth a watch. Now, if only I could work out what the hell happened in it...
½ July 17, 2010
Thought this was an underrated Bava flick and it has Edwige Fenech??? WHo is to complain?
½ July 8, 2010
Very entertaining tongue-in-cheek murder mystery from director Mario Bava. It lacks some of the visual sophistication of Bava's best work, but it delivers enough witty imagery, clever twists, and kitschy 70s excess to be great fun for fans of Bava and Italian exploitation.
Super Reviewer
May 1, 2010
This is the worst Bava' s movies I have seen. The movie is high in style but the poor script is the movie's downfall, and Bava's stylish direction can't save it. No interesting psychological angles, no gore, no mystery, no engaging. just formulaic dismissal of the cast.
For completists only otherwise keep away from it.
February 27, 2010
I'll be honest, I had a hard time following the plot. The movie is heavy on visuals and it was difficult to admire the imagery and read the subtitles at the same time. Maybe I should just learn Italian. It had a great soundtrack and, as I mentioned, plenty of eye candy ( like Edwige Fenech wearing next to nothing and the house on the rocks). Overall, an incoherent but stylish and memorable movie. I loved all the freezer shots. "Only murderers kill"
January 14, 2010
Funny but not to be taken really seriously. This is Bava's own version of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians.
December 13, 2009
Dont let my score fool you, i love this movie. I love it for all the reasons i scored it so low -- weak plot, weird pacing, terrible ending. But either way it is fun FF through the boring parts if you must.
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