Kill, Baby . . . Kill! | Chicago Reader

Kill, Baby . . . Kill!

85 minutes 1966

One of the great overlooked horror films, this low-budget 1966 chiller by Italian director Mario Bava (Black Sabbath, Planet of the Vampires) stars Giacomo Rossi Stuart as a handsome young doctor who arrives in a remote village to perform an autopsy and discovers that a little girl, trampled to death during a village festival years earlier, has returned in ghostly form and persuaded various townspeople to bleed themselves to death. Visually the film draws on two of Bava's favorite horror movies, F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu (1922) and Carl Dreyer's Vampyr (1932), yet many sequences are highly original, like the hero's mad dash in pursuit of a fleeing figure who turns out to be himself, and the heroine's nightmare—a two-minute montage in which portraits of the dead child, bent in a fun-house mirror, dissolve to a close-up of a doll's face going in and out of focus, then to a vertiginous spiral staircase with the child's ball bouncing down it. Bava, son of a pioneering Italian cinematographer, made a bet that he could shoot the film in 12 days, and even on that tight schedule he manages to conjure up some pretty unnerving images. A must-see.

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