The Revision Redux: Valentina: Baba Yaga

Valentina was an Italian TV series based from 1989, based on Guido Crepax’s comics. Demetra Hampton plays the title character, although her voice was dubbed by Claudia Balboni in Italian.

I don’t hate this but I wouldn’t call it good.

The “Baba Yaga” episode progresses mostly the way you’d expect — Valentina is barely hit by a car and Baba Yaga takes her garter clip. There’s the hole in the house. There’s the doll. The bits about the cursed camera are absent, though.

But apparently, there is only so much that can happen in about 30 minutes. Valentina is in bondage in a cage after Baba Yaga seduces her (at least that’s close to the comic). Also, there are at least thigh-highs here (although not fishnets) so that makes for at least a decent Crepax reference. I do appreciate that Assumpta Serna’s Baba Yaga is the right amount of sexy. Hampton at least looks the part as Valentina, but she also has very little character here.

If it had a bit longer to expand the story, I think this would’ve been a decent enough adaptation. It’s so very compressed, though, and it doesn’t have the time to develop the weirdness that the comic (or the movie for that matter) had. Sure, it works that Phillip (Russel Case) swoops in and saves her but it’s also kind of exhausting.

I do think this suffers from the problem that the movie did — if you don’t know this story, it’s all fairly meaningless. It rushes the story beats to a point where there’s barely even a story. It felt like it ended just as it was beginning.

I get this series was supposed to be “sexy” but other than some naked women and a very brief scene between Valentina and Philip, it’s actually pretty boring on that account. I either wanted more of that or none of it.

Mostly, to me, it’s notable that this TV series exists in the first place. And then they did just a bad job with it. I know Crepax is well-known but his work isn’t the sort where I’d automatically think “yes, this would be a great TV show.” (I did watch a couple of the other episodes and they suffer much the same problem this one does). I’ll give them some points for trying. I really don’t think anyone needs to try again, though.

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