Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Kill, Baby...Kill! (1966)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Kill, Baby...Kill! (1966, It.) (aka Operazione Paura, or Operation Fear)

In director Mario Bava's mis-named, disorienting Euro-horror ghost story with a compelling Victorian Gothic flavor, set in Romania in the early 1900s - one of Bava's best works:

  • in the opening pre-titles scene, terrified young female Irena Hollander (Mirella Panfili), employed as a maid at the haunted, decaying, creaky, cob-webbed estate of Villa Graps in the small 'cursed' rural Transylvanian village of Kermigen, felt inexplicably compelled to fall forward to her own suicidal death onto a spiked iron fence surrounding an abandoned church
  • during the opening title credits, a young ghost-child girl in a white dress (later revealed to be Melissa Graps (Valeria Valeri)) was briefly heard madly giggling and seen walking down stairs (only her feet were visible); later, it was told in a local superstitious legend that in 1887, 20 years earlier, the seven year old went to fetch her ball during a village festival and was trampled by a horse - she had been left to slowly die and bleed to death on the street by the town drunkards - and she had vengefully returned in deadly, cursed spectral visitations to haunt the villagers
  • the introductory investigation of Irena's mysterious death, with the arrival of handsome, autopsy-performing coroner Dr. Paul Eswai (Giacomo Rossi-Stuart), with the assistance of former town resident and naive medical student Monica Shuftan (Erika Blanc), and at the request of local police constable Inspector Kruger (Piero Lulli) and the town's ineffectual, bald-headed Burgomeister Karl (Luciano Catenacci); Kruger was investigating a string of bizarre, unexplained murders ("a chain of bloodshed")
  • the images (and sounds) that accompanied the evil spirit of Melissa - including giggling, views of her playground swing (and a disorienting pendulum camera shot from her POV, zooming in and out), and a bouncing white ball
  • the shocking autopsy discovery of a silver coin in the dead girl's heart - and according to Monica, a very old local legend stated that "only with money in the heart will one who suffers a violent death ever rest in peace"
  • the ubiquitous presence of raven-haired, black-clad witch-sorceress named Ruth (Fabienne Dali), an exorcist who aided the superstitious villagers to ward off evil spirits (including the ghostly girl) with various charms and talismans (i.e., a leech vine girdle); Dr. Eswai watched as Ruth performed a ritualistic, S&M-like flogging (while conjuring "Death, where you can find no door you will come no more, Lift your hand from her flesh and her blood, Keep away!") on the bare back of topless Nadienne (Micaela Esdra), the innkeeper's terrified daughter, who claimed the ominous face of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl peered through the window at her; Ruth was the Burgomeister's secret mistress-lover
  • Dr. Eswai's meeting with the reclusive, crazed and tormented matriarchal Baroness Graps (Gianna Vivaldi) at the ruined mansion known as Villa Graps; she was the grieving, embittered mother of blonde spectral-ghost Melissa (the Baroness was also Monica's mother - one of the film's plot twists) who had cursed the town as revenge; she kept a collection of Melissa's creepy dolls
  • Dr. Eswai's chase after Melissa, seen carrying a white ball, and her flight down a spiral staircase within Villa Graps featuring labyrinthine corridors
Appearances of Young Blonde Ghost-Girl Melissa Graps
At the Window
Appearing to Dr. Eswai
In a Painting
At Nadienne's Window
In the Burgomeister's Cabinet
Amongst Her Doll Collection
  • the nightmarish dream sequence, when Monica was menaced by one of Melissa's threatening dolls that suddenly appeared at the foot of her bed
  • the further mysterious deaths included those of the Inspector (shot in the right temple) and Nadienne (suicidally impaled in the chest by a sharp candle-holder) after seeing Melissa at the window
  • the shock moment that Burgomeister Karl entered his attic to find historical documents about Monica's past, when he was confronted by Melissa hiding inside the locked cabinet - she was holding the sealed packet of documents and offered him a hideous smile that caused him to suicidally slit his own throat; the packet of papers burned to ashes
  • the discovery of Melissa's gravestone in the lower part of the abandoned town church, marked 1880-1887
  • and a second spooky moment when Melissa was seen sitting amongst her doll collection in her mother's Villa
  • the striking sequence in the Villa Graps of Dr. Eswai's pursuit after Monica's screams through red-curtained doors leading into identical rooms, again and again, and when he finally caught up to a fleeing male figure - the shocking moment when he grabbed the figure's shoulder, spun him around, and found himself looking at his own mirror image - he discovered that he had been chasing himself
Dr. Eswai's Pursuit After Monica -
Realizing He Was Chasing Himself
  • and then when he stepped back in the locked room, up against a cob-web covered fresco or mural painting of the villa's exterior framed on the wall, he found himself entangled and was suddenly transported outside the villa
  • the giggling Melissa's chase after the completely-scared Monica down the spiral staircase - with camera effects (zoom in, zoom out, and spinning), and the young girl's lethal stare
Exorcist Ruth vs. The Baroness (Choked to Death)
Ruth Lethally Stabbed in Chest
  • in the climactic ending at the Graps manor, there was a deadly confrontation between Ruth and the Baroness - Ruth: "You have killed for the last time because I'm going to kill you. I have come to put an end to this bloodshed...You are the cause of it all. You called Melissa from the dead to murder those you hated. Now they have made you the object of Melissa's curse...You are afraid of Melissa even if you are a medium. You put her against the poor creatures to be killed by her and now you shall be!...You're an insane killer. You would even let her kill your daughter Monica"; the Baroness threatened back: "You are inviting your own end. You are destined to die in this villa" - Ruth was lethally stabbed in the chest with a fireplace poker, but was able to choke the Baroness to death before falling dead on top of the Baroness (Ruth: "Now the nightmare is over. The chain is broken. I have kept my promise")
  • with their deaths, there was a happy ending -- the ghostly and cursed power of Melissa dissipated as it was terrorizing Monica

Suicidal Death of Irena Hollander

Young Ghost-Girl in White Dress Waking Down Stairs

Investigative Coroner Dr. Paul Eswai

Coroner with Medical Student Monica Shuftan

Exorcist Ruth
(Fabienne Dali)

Ritualistic S&M Flogging

Baroness Graps (Gianna Vivaldi) - Melissa's Evil Mother

Spiral Staircase in Villa Graps

One of Melissa's Threatening Dolls

Death of Local Police Inspector Kruger

Melissa's Gravestone


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