While much of Itailian horror means buckets of blood, Hatchet for the Honeymoon has more to do with Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho than it does some of Bava’s gore-fests like Bay of Blood (1971). Yes, the body count is still satisfactory but Bava uses restraint in showing the carnage, opting for weird camera work and voices from beyond the grave. It works very well and pays tribute to Bava’s artistic side which is always a little surreal and impeccably lighted!
The story centers on John and Mildred Harrington whose marriage died a long time ago but they stuck around to make each other miserable! John owns a wedding fashion business he inherited from his mother and his wife brings all the cash to the relationship. Things get interesting right away because John is a tad bit psychotic and his hobby is killing young brides-to-be before they get all mean and spiteful like his wife!
This is a well thought out and well told story that has at least two delightful twists in it. Just when you think you know where the film is headed, it surprises you again and again. Canadian born Stephen Forsyth had a brief career in Italian horror and he does a great job with this character. While not as intense as Anthony Perkin’s portrayal of Normal Bates, Forsyth gives his character the right amounts of creepiness and crazy.
If you are new to the sub-genre of Italian horror, Hatchet for the Honeymoon is a great place to start. It’s a great example of the talent of Mario Bava and his ability to take the viewer on a strange journey into unexplored territory.
For more info check out the film's entry in IMDB.