October 4, 2011

31 Days of Creepy Kids, Day 4: Melissa (Kill, Baby... Kill!, 1966)

The name Mario Bava should make any true Horror fan feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He is definitely one of the grandfathers of the genre, and his works still stand strong today; Black Sabbath is still one of the most terrifying Horror films ever made; Twitch of the Death Nerve (aka A Bay of Blood) is considered by many the true start of the slasher genre... watch it and then watch F13th, you'll see what we mean.

And then there's Kill, Baby... Kill! It's a clinic in Gothic Horror filmmaking, and a classic ghost story, told with Bava's unique visual style and flair. Particularly of note here, is Melissa, the evil, creepy-eyed little ghost girl who runs around staring people down and unsettling them by mainly just standing there... and staring them down. Also, claiming their souls.

Um... please stop looking at me like that.
In order to avoid spoilers, lets just say the story involves Melissa wanting to claim the souls of the villagers who did her wrong so long ago, and her Mother who loved her Daughter and will do anything to make them pay as well. Sounds familiar, eh? Reminds you of another story in which a vengeful mother avenges the accidental death of their child, huh?

Mrs. Voorhees?
The movie has style and atmosphere to spare, with its creepy fog and colors, and all the while a creepy ghost girl runs around claiming souls... or is it a girl? In the movie it is, but Melissa was actually played by a little boy named Valerio Valeri. That kinda makes her/it all the more creepy.

Valerio, not Valeria.
This is Horror Cinema at its best, as well as some damned effective creepy kid usage. One viewing of this movie and anyone can see the films and techniques it likely inspired. I dare say that even Argento may have learned a few tricks from Uncle Mario. Check the movie out asap, and not just for the creepy kid goodness, but for its awesome Gothic Horror goodness as well.


What a creepy little boy-girl ghost thing.

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