May contain spoilers
I went with another Bava film for the second of Italian Horror reviews because I've been wanting to watch this for a while. Also while I don't care for the holiday February, among other things, is the month of love and I thought what no better than a bride murderer to bring in the spirit of Valentines Day?
John Harrington has very much a pre Patrick Bateman in his self-aware ritualistic murder. His monologue is not unlike Bateman's and the sexual kick he gets from killing virginal brides downed in the wedding dresses he makes, which also draws a reference from Norman Bates with the possible titillating fixation on his mother. I may be making Hatchet for the Honeymoon sound more in depth than it is, while Harrington is disturbed and the original title The Red Sign of Madness (Italian) proves more fitting the film wasn't as breaching as I had hoped. Not to attest that nothing holds interesting as the eloquent yet galling murder of one of the brides in the secret showroom is fantastic, at the least. Also as Santiago Moncada's script starts to ring a common tune of a theme murder he throws in a unique spin with the supernatural haunting of Harrington's wife. Which not only in itself turns on the Italian horror film but also the basic structure of the ghost story, meaning that I liked how everyone was able to see Mrs. Harrington but John himself. Unique and different for sure.
After that picture I'm fairly confident that Mary Harron drew inspiration in this film for American Psycho. I wonder if Bret Easton Ellis drew any inspiration from it though? This review feels a bit pretentious from my end, I apologize, but I'm only saying how I feel. I've noted all good qualities as the film is good but it still felt a bit average to me. Not really gory to compete with my favorites but not a bad watch. Bava is able to effectively capture the maddening sense of blurred reality and sure I'll say it, surrealism in John's actions and desires. But it's still just okay, and I have no idea why. As others I wouldn't recommend for those just becoming introduced to Bava, but rather as an average watch for a casual [horror] movie night.