Thursday, October 30, 2014

Movie Review: "Hatchet for the Honeymoon" (1970)

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Movie"Hatchet for the Honeymoon"
Director: Mario Bava
Year: 1970
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1 hour, 28 minutes

John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth) owns a bridal design and dress shop, is unhappily married, and has a habit of killing young brides on their wedding night. John was driven crazy by a childhood tragedy that gives him uncontrollable urges to kill. When John kills his wife (Laura Betti), he becomes haunted by her ghost which drives him further and further into madness. 

"Hatchet for the Honeymoon" is an interesting yet slightly disjointed film. It is a cross between a serial killer slasher flick and a supernatural ghost story. You have a wealthy, attractive psychopath who kills women on their wedding night, or even before their wedding night, as long as they are wearing a wedding dress. He is troubled by a childhood trauma involving his mother's death, and he is constantly harassed by the detective investigating the murders, and for a good reason as he is obviously suspicious. This seems like enough for a good solid movie right there. But another running theme throughout the movie is his bad marriage with a woman who won't grant him a divorce. She is nasty to him to his face, he cheats on her, and one night, she pushes him to the point of murder after returning home early from a trip. When he thinks she's finally gone, she becomes a ghost, driving him into madness as he tries to find ways to rid himself of her. That sounds like another solid movie all on it's own as well. This film takes these two seemingly unrelated stories and mashes them together, and we think it does so a little to the movie's detriment. Each of these two ideas by themselves would have made better separate flicks than both of the ideas shoehorned into the same film. In fact, upon doing some research, the supernatural subplot and the character of Mildred Harrington was not in the original script at all and was only added to give a part to actress Laura Betti, who wanted to work with Mario Bava. Knowing this after seeing the movie completely explains the lack of connection between the two plots. Despite this major flaw, the movie does manage to be decent and well-shot. There are very distinct close-ups and zoom-outs on the faces of the characters, and this adds a lot of needed tension. Like we said, there are interesting elements to these stories, though they aren't particularly scary and there is not a lot of gore for a movie with the word "hatchet" in the title, but it does try to take you into the mind of a crazy serial killer. There is a good dynamic between the detective and John, as well as in his seduction of victims. Decent, but not mind-blowingly good.

My Rating: 6/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 40%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching: "Martin"

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