Hatchet for the Honeymoon (Rosso segno della follia, Il) (Blu-ray) (1970)

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Due Out for Sale 1-Apr-2015

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Horror Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-x 6 for other Shock releases
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1970
Running Time 88:09
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Mario Bava

Shock Entertainment
Starring Stephen Forsyth
Laura Betti
Dagmar Lassander
Jesus Puente

Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Sante Romitelli

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† John Harrington (Stephen Forsyth) and his wife Mildred (Laura Betti) run a fashion house in Paris which specialises in bridal dresses and accessories. John is handsome and wealthy; he is also a serial killer, murdering brides and models in bridal gowns with a hatchet as a means to unlocking a repressed memory about the murder of his mother many years before. His marriage is not a happy one and one night, dressed in a bridal veil and wearing lipstick, John murders Mildred with his hatchet. However, three things undermine his continuing killing spree; Inspector Russell (Jesus Puente) knows that John is involved in murder but cannot yet prove it, John is drawn to his new model Helen (Dagmar Lassander) and his wife has seemingly risen from the grave and is appearing to John and their friends. Can John discover the truth about his motherís murder before everything falls apart?

†††† Right from the opening credits it is clear that Hatchet for the Honeymoon (aka Blood Brides, Italian title Il rosso segno della follia) is a film by Italian horror master Mario Bava, albeit one that is more straightforward and accessible than some of his films. For a start this is not a giallo mystery; we know that John is a killer right away when he murders a bridal couple in a train, and he tells us, by way of voiceover shortly afterwards, that he both psychotic and a serial killer. However, the other Bava trademarks are there; the use of vibrant colours, dense, detailed sets, unusual camera angles, dissolves, multi-focus, zooms into and away from faces (Bava is again his own cinematographer) and a loud, strident and fun score by Sante Romitelli. Actor Stephen Forsyth, in his last screen role, has been criticised as being wooden, but this is a film about repressed feelings so the character as played works well; in any case actors would struggle to shine in a film with such mesmerising camerawork and colours.

†††† Over forty years after being made Hatchet for the Honeymoon is still an entertaining film. While there is no mystery about the killer, and the reveal about the murder of Johnís mother will surprise no-one, there are still some marvellous and tense cinematic moments, such as the blood from the body of the murdered Mildred dripping down from the staircase as the Inspector questions John about screams that had been heard, while Mildredís appearing to friends although John cannot see her is both amusing and unsettling.

†††† Hatchet for the Honeymoon is all style with its music, garish colours, noir lighting, blood and murder, although by modern standards the blood and gore is minimal, while the sets such as Johnís hidden room with numerous mannequins in bridal gowns, are marvellous and detailed. Hatchet for the Honeymoon is probably lesser Bava but it is still a very entertaining film from the man who is credited with creating the giallo genre and influencing the work of later Italian horror directors including Dario Argento and Sergio Martino.

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Transfer Quality


†††† Hatchet for the Honeymoon is presented in the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

†††† This is not a restored print of the film and there are frequent and numerous specks throughout the film, although only a few are noticeable, such as one white artefact which appears on Johnís nose! However the detail of the sets and faces is very good, colours are rich and vibrant, blacks and shadow detail are fine, skin tones natural. Grain is evident, but nicely controlled, brightness and contrast is consistent.

†††† No subtitles are provided.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† The audio is English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono, not surround encoded.

†††† Dialogue is clear and easy to hear. The effects are fairly flat, but they are not numerous anyway as it is only the music score by Sante Romitelli that comes across loud and strident during the murders, if a bit shrill. Obviously there is no surround or subwoofer use.

†††† There were slight crackles evident in the sections without music.

†††† Dialogue would not have been recorded on set and some of the lip synchronisation is indifferent.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Cinema Cult Trailers

†††† Trailers for Hatchet for the Honeymoon (2:36),Masters of the Universe (1:39),Dr. Phibes Rises Again! (2:08),The Abominable Dr. Phibes (2:34), Electra Glide in Blue (3:17), Vanishing Point (2:14) and Killer Klowns from Outer Space (1:52).

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

†††† The Region A US Blu-ray of Hatchet for the Honeymoon includes an audio commentary by Tim Lucas making it the preferred version.


†††† Hatchet for the Honeymoon may be lesser Bava but it is undeniably a Bava film with dense, detailed sets, unusual camera angles, dissolves, multi-focus, zoom, intrusive music, garish colours and noir lighting. Fans will not be disappointed. If you do not know the work of this Italian horror master, Hatchet for the Honeymoon is more straightforward and accessible than some of his work.

†††† The video is acceptable for a film of this vintage, the audio is mono. Unfortunately we miss out on the commentary available in the US.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Wednesday, June 22, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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