“Reality is more horrible than fiction,” a character observes in this stylish Spanish/Italian shocker, yet director Mario Bava keeps pumping for the fantasy – oriented delirium at the core of the cut-and-slash dramas so dear to his heart. Here he forsakes the mystery element usually associated with his blood-drenched projects to inspect the tormented psyche of a handsome, well-heeled psycho played by Stephen Forsyth, who unlocks his troubled past by hacking up young women, usually on their wedding night.
Aside from this pastime, he runs a dress salon, plays with toys and trades barbs with his shrewish wife, who tells him, “Give you a divorce? Never! It is death us do part!!” (How’s that for a homicidal suggestion?) The problem is that our hero must be triggered by the sight of his victim in a wedding dress; no, wait, he licks this obstacle by put¬ting on some lipstick and a bridal veil himself, and in a moment made for Bava-addicts, he affects a “divorce.” Wifey, however, is the determined sort who even comes back from the grave to give hubby a rough time-and Bava the excuse to stage some eerie sequences.
There is also a beautiful, high-angled shot of the hero’s inner sanctum – a secret chamber filled with mannequins dressed in wedding finery-which is worth the trouble of seeking this film out, and further proof that Bava is the undisputed king in his largely unappreciated field.
Copyright 1976. This review originally appeared in the Fall 1976 issue of Cinefantastique (5:2). Articles from this issue will be archived under the heading September 1976.
HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON (”Il Rossa Segno Della Follia,” GGP Pictures, 2/76 [c70]). In Eastmancolor. 83 minutes. Produced by Manuel Cano. Photographed and directed by Mario Bava. Screenplay by Santiago Moncada. Cast: Stephen Forsyth, Dagmar Lassander, Laura Betti, Alan Collin, Gerard Tichy.
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