A Hatchet For The Honeymoon is an Art-house Horror film created by the Maestro of Italina cinema: Mario Bava. The plot revolves around a Parisian fashion designer who kills newlywed women/brides to be in order to remember the truth about what happened to his late mother. A Hatchet For The Honeymoon is very different to other Mario Bava films because it’s quite artistically daring for a Giallo Horror film. Thematically, the film combines a realistic character study – a murderer in an unhappy marriage being tracked by police – with surreal artistic elements to create a strange feeling film that combines Giallo horror with beautiful, surreal sequences.
To begin with, A Hatchet For the Honeymoon is visually astounding. The film is a veritable feast for the eyes as Mario Bava’s iconically beautiful cinematography is well utilized, and the film’s sets are detailed, well designed and wonderfully striking. It’s quite evident that Mario Bava payed very close attention to visual aesthetics whilst making A Hatchet For The Honeymoon as each individual shot of the film is beautiful, eye-catching and memorable thanks to Bava’s expert use of atmospheric lighting, beautiful cinematography and artistically edited sequences. Personally, I believe that A Hatchet For The Honeymoon is possibly Mario Bava’s most visually pleasing film. I feel that more film-makers nowadays should learn from Bava’s distinct focus on visual aesthetics as it’s an art form that’s becoming neglected in 21st Century cinema, so to see a film like A Hatchet For The Honeymoon – one that’s so aesthetically beautiful – is very refreshing in 2018.
Unfortunately, in my opinion, the film’s story content doesn’t deliver the needed artistic punch in order to benefit from the film’s visual style. A Hatchet For The Honeymoon is definitely one of Mario Bava’s slowest paced films as the story spends a lot of time meandering through unimportant plot points rather than dealing with the main plot head on like many other films made by Mario Bava such as Rabid Dogs or A Bay Of Blood. This is a problem that stems from having such a precise story-line for a feature film. The main over-arching story-line for A Hatchet For The Honeymoon is one that I feel would fit more comfortably into an artistic short film, but by trying to make it into a feature film, Mario Bava includes unnecessary plot-points that aren’t developed nor are they resolved by the end of the film, for example: the plot-line of John Harrington’s wife. I thought that these meandering plot points were just unnecessarily put into the film in order to justify the 85 minute running time, because they didn’t do anything to make the overall story more engrossing or more enjoyable. It was a shame, because the film’s story-line had a lot of potential for character detail and eccentric story-telling, but instead I feel that the plot was underdeveloped and stretched thin to try and make it fit into 85 minutes.
In the end, A Hatchet For The Honeymoon isn’t one of Mario Bava’s better films, even A Bay Of Blood was much better than A Hatchet For The Honeymoon. I feel that there’s just too much unrealized potential which holds the film back from becoming a stand out work of cinema. There’s a good sequence here and there but the film was too slow and meandering for my tastes. I don’t recommend A Hatchet For The Honeymoon, because Mario Bava was a much better film-maker than A Hatchet For The Honeymoon makes him out to be.