Hatchet for The Honeymoon 1967 ***

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The late, great Italian master of horror Mario Bava was incapable of making a dull-movie, and several of his late sixties giallo have a real touch of Hitchcock. Opening with a POV monologue from a dapper killer John Harrington (John Forsythe) that sounds like a scene from Brett Easton Ellis’s American Psycho, Hatchet For The Honeymoon balances an earnest police procedural thriller with an elaborate phantasmagoria of the disintegration of a killer’s mind, as Harrington struggles to keep his murderous hands of clients at his bridal shop while harboring dark thoughts towards his nagging wife (Pasolini’s muse Laura Betti, giving vent to her frowsy side). Bava’s imaginative framings and mind-bending colour-coding of images is given full reign, and despite the lack of gore, Hatchet For The Honeymoon is a tart, astringent thriller in the vein of Psycho.

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The Rules of Attraction 2002 ****

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Pulp Fiction’s co-writer Roger Avary was an ideal choice to adapt Bret Easton Ellis’s follow up to Less Than Zero, and he throws the kitchen sink at it, using split-screens, video-diaries and all kinds of tricks to get to the dark and dangerous heart of the novel. James Van Der Beek is Sean Bateman, brother of American Psycho’s Patrick, who sells drugs, abuses women, and generally makes a monster of himself on a university campus. Eric Stolz plays a stoner lecturer with elan, and Faye Dunaway has a memorable turn as a concerned mother. With the opening credits appearing some twenty minutes into the film, The Rules of Attraction is a decidedly unconventional film, and one that takes liberties with Ellis’ novel, yet somehow ends up making the right kind of satirical jabs.