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Monday, February 18, 2013

The Hatchet Murders (1975)

This past "What Movie Wednesday" was a double feature (something that seems to be rather common here in The Corner), and the first one I'll be reviewing is Dario Argento's "The Hatchet Murders" (originally titled "Profondo Rosso"- "Deep Red").
Marcus is a pianist who becomes a witness to a grisly murder.  Soon, he finds himself following a trail of clues that will lead him to a shocking confrontation with the killer... but may cost him his life.
Dario Argento is well known in the horror community for his movies "Suspiria" (1977) "Opera" (1987), and "Dawn of the Dead" (1979 as producer)- and deservedly so.  His movies tend to have a quality about them that sets them apart from most horror films.
The premise of "The Hatchet Murders" is simple and effective.  The story is well paced, interesting, and engaged my mind nicely.  Not once did I sit there not wanting to see where things were going to go.  I wanted to ses what was going to happen next.  I had a hard time finding a moment in this movie that was wasted, and didn't serve the overall story in some way- either in terms of plot development or character development.
The characters were well crafted, likable, and essential to the story- right from the psychic at the beginning, to Marcu's friend's mother, to the female reporter, to even the little girl witchy girl.  There wasn't a wasted character in this movie.  Even the author and her housekeeper- though in the movie for only a short time served a purpose in moving the story forward.  People weren't introduced just to get killed.
The acting was quite good too.  Macha Meril as the psychic was good- though some might think her scene at the beginning might've been overly theatrical.  David Hemming was well suited for the role of the pianist Marcus, and brought a charm and likability to the character.  I also really enjoyed Glauco Marui in the role of Professor Giordani- the psychic's assistant.  A couple of his scenes are rather theatrical, but still quite well done.  Gabriele Lavia was decent as the drunken Carol, bringing a sense of tragedy to the character in his few appearances on screen.  Daria Nicolodi, who played Gianna the reporter looked good, and added to the mood of the movie by bringing a feeling of possible instability to her role.  A really good job done by all of them.
There is some amazing camera work in "The Hatchet Murders".  From the opening sequence, through the opening credits, to the final confrontation and the end credits we were treated to creative and interesting camera movements, angles and close ups.  I can't really single out any ONE moment that sticks out, because every single one of them adds up to a beautiful masterpiece of cinematic horror storytelling.
Ultimately, this is a movie that I would willingly pull of the shelf on any random day and rewatch- and this one isn't even the original version!  I highly recommend this movie.  I'm placing "The Hatchet Murders" in The Good.
Special Shout Out:

Thanks to everyone that voted in this week's "What Movie Wednesday," especially those that voted for "The Hatchet Murders":

Jay (from "We Came From the Basement")
Jason Wiggins
Shiro Seirei Kitsuna

The next "What Movie Wednesday" will be February 20, 2013!
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