Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Il rosso segno della follia)

Critics Consensus

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50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 6

49%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 1,596
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Movie Info

Rosso Segno Della Folia, an Italian horror film written, directed and photographed by Mario Bava, is the bloody story of an impotent man who turns to murder to vent his frustrations. The designer and owner of a fashion design business (Stephen Forsyth), frustrated with his own sexual failure, murders the new brides who have modelled his fashions. When he decides to murder his wife, she becomes the ghost who will not leave him alone. Director Bava, who began his career as a cinematographer, while directing mostly low-budget horror films, has become a cult figure among some fans and critics who admire his unique and beautiful visual style and his often very amusing exaggeration of the cliches of the genre. Rosso Segno Della Folia, released in the United States as Hatchet for a Honeymoon is not the best of Mario Bava's work, but this above-average horror film is a must see for those who love the genre and admire stylish horror films.

Cast

Stephen Forsyth
as Bridal Shop Owner
Dagmar Lassander
as Helen Wood
Laura Betti
as Mildred Harrington
Jesús Puente
as Inspector Russell
Gérard Tichy
as Dr. Kalleway
Femi Benussi
as Alice Norton
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Critic Reviews for Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Il rosso segno della follia)

All Critics (6) | Fresh (3) | Rotten (3)

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

  • Feb 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.
    Ryan M Super Reviewer
  • Apr 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.
    Cassandra M Super Reviewer
  • Sep 05, 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.
    Aj V Super Reviewer
  • Jul 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.
    Aurelius D Super Reviewer

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