Baba Yaga

1973 [ITALIAN]


IMDb Rating 5.8 10 1743

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Carroll Baker as Baba Yaga

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 5 / 10

Odd art-house giallo flick with intriguing plot ingredients and poor execution

This film is a bit of an oddity, a movie that has more in common with art-house cinema than the more conventional stalk-n-slash murder movies that were popular at the time. The story of a woman descending into madness is a familiar one that was utilised through the '70s, so don't expect anything new from the plot. The style of direction, the fashions and the camera-work is also very typical of the period which gives this film a solid grounding as well as making it extremely dated – but hey, isn't that part of the fun of watching?

Ultimately, BABA YAGA, DEVIL WITCH is a disappointment because nothing seems to happen. Once the story has evolved, the movie alternates between scare scenes and dialogue, neither of which are done very well. It's a shame, because many of the horror ingredients here have the opportunity to be extremely frightening, had better use been made of them. The idea of a hole in the ground leading to hell I loved, and the weird fetish doll is an extraordinarily creepy idea. As another plus, Carroll Baker is effective in the role of Baba Yaga, the witch, even though she isn't given much to work with...she certainly gave me the chills!

Sadly too much of the film is filled with filler material, and it seems that the director struggled to adapt this movie from its comic book roots. There seems to be a focus on female nudity rather than plot, and minor characters like the black man come and go with little impact on the actual storyline. There's no faulting the acting, as Isabelle De Funes' heroine is pleasingly complex, far more than a simple screaming victim, and big George Eastman gives one of his better performances early on in his career. It's just that BABA YAGA, DEVIL WITCH is so familiar. There's absolutely nothing in the way of originality here, and while a good few individual moments are decently done, as a whole the film is run-of-the-mill entertainment.

Reviewed by Hitchcoc 3 / 10

Out of My Element

I watched this with an awareness of the pseudo-art of the seventies. I'm sure the people who made this thought carefully about each shot, put together some silly plot, set up some titillation, and went from there. The movie is mess because the editing is a mess. If they thought they were making a serious film, it needed to be put together with some sort of point. The story is a bit ghost story/fantasy. A photographer makes a good protagonist because of her ability to encounter a cross section of characters. Many are superfluous, there so we could see them unclothed. This is just more of the junk that was put out in the seventies in Europe. It was a liberating time but it brought out hack artists. From reading other reader comments, apparently this particular character has a comic book connection. Having seen none of them, I can't judge this based on that form. As a movie, it isn't much. Good old Carol Baker. She never really amounted to a whole lot, did she?

Reviewed by claudio_carvalho 6 / 10

The Seductive Witch

In Milan, the professional photographer Valentina Rosselli (Isabelle De Funès) takes a ride close to her home with two friends in a party and decides to walk alone in the middle of the night. She saves a dog from a fancy car driver by Baba Yaga (Carroll Baker), a mysterious older woman that insists to drive her home. From this moment on, the life of Valentina changes and she has nightmares and her camera seem to be cursed. She believes Baba Yaga is a witch and that she is under a spell to possess her but her skeptical friend and filmmaker Arno Treves (George Eastman) does not believe. Until the day Valentina visits Baba Yaga´s house.

"Baba Yaga" is a film with stylish cinematography, beautiful music score that becomes tiresome after many repetitions, and a storyline typical from the Italian films from the 70´s (especially from Jesse Franco) with eroticism and cult elements such as references to Goddard and "The Golem". The conclusion is a plus in this interesting witch movie. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "Baba Yaga - A Bruxa Maldita" ("Baba Yaga - The Coursed Witch")

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