Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Baba Yaga (1973)

...aka: Black Magic
...aka: Devil Witch, The
...aka: Kiss Me, Kill Me

Directed by:
Corrado Farina

Lanky, short-haired fashion photo-grapher Valentina (Isabelle De Funes) takes time out of her busy schedule snapping photos of naked babes to soak up the advances of tall new boyfriend Arno (George Eastman, Mr. Antropophagus himself in a rare good guy role). Out of nowhere appears Baba Yaga (Carroll Baker), a mysterious black-clad lesbian sadist something-or-other who challenges Arno for the affections of our malnourished heroine and uses her supernatural powers in nasty ways to get her. She also has a bottomless pit under a rug in her living room (that leads to hell?) and an S&M doll named Annette who comes to life in the form of sexy Ely Galleani to do her bidding. This extremely pretentious (but still fairly entertaining) Eurotrash effort masquerading as an art flick was based on a popular Italian comic book by Guido Crepax, which actually does a fair job of capturing the spirit of its source material. It's full of comic stills and female nudity and features an interesting role for the amazingly wooden Baker during her prime weird period. Angela Covello (TORSO) also has a small role.

I saw this under the title KISS ME, KILL ME. It wasn't released to video in the U.S. at all during the video boom era (to my knowledge), but later a censored print would became a fixture on all those cheap DVD sets. In 2003, Blue Underground released an uncut and restored print of the film, which looks excellent.


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