Reazione a catena (A Bay of Blood) (Twitch of the Death Nerve) Reviews
Consider its obstacles. Bava's past films (including "Black Sunday", "Blood and Black Lace", and "Kill, Baby, Kill") were opulent horror movies sumptuous in their visual stylings, death-defying in their dread - box-office success was unavoidable. But by the 1970s, Bava's relentless artistic prowess had staled in favor of new mavens like Dario Argento. Decently high budgets withered away, and so did audiences. But Bava's spirit never died, and despite setbacks from the lack of money pumping into each scene, "Bay of Blood" feels alive, opposite of the dead-on-arrival monotony of later splatter-fests of the "Friday the 13th" mindset. His enthusiasm shines through the shoestring chintz.
It follows the blitz that won't seem to leave the bay of Countessa Federica Donati (Isa Miranda) alone, following her intricate murder. (Consider that her husband stages her death to look like a suicide, only to get knifed just a few seconds later by an unknown assailant.) With her demise leaving the sizable property ownerless, it sets the stage for a madcap race for its takeover, that race being soaked in blood, guts, and flesh. Participants (and/or victims) in the nasty competition are kept under the impression that their plan to claim ownership is foolproof; but with so many people keen to fill the shoes of the Countessa, self-confidence seems trivial.
Never mind the fact that the property isn't even that nice and it's a shock that so many people want it, that there's no way that that many murderers would want the same prize, that the teenagers that break into the bay's beachfront home early in the film die simply because stakes have to be raised for paranoia to seep. "Bay of Blood" is an exciting horror movie because it is helmed by a master of the genre, working his usual magic in ways updated to the time period.
In the 1960s, he populated his films with unsettlingly shadowy Technicolor and eerily gothic emotions, mostly working with the supernatural but settling down for precursing "Halloween" every once in a while just for the thrill of it. As Bava aged, though, his carousel of colors toned down to fit the cynicism of the era, camera techniques relying less on pigmentation and more on long-tracking shots, quick cuts, and inventive zooms. The gritty, considerate photographic style increases the suspense to near behemoth levels; all the gore wouldn't mean much if not for Bava's optical splendor, his cinematographic patience.
It's not hard to admit that "Bay of Blood" would be a subpar slasher movie if not for Bava's directorial fervor - the story is rote, the acting even worse - but nothing is more electrifying than a filmmaker making something out of nothing, with originality, no less. If it had the same Technicolor heftiness of his '60s films, "Bay of Blood" would perhaps be a masterpiece. But for now, taking his earlier, more subtle works into consideration, it'll have to do.
A younger man married to a rich elderly wife thinks he has the perfect strategy to become rich. He plans to kill the woman and obtain her money. When news spreads of her death, friends and family come to the estate looking to narrow down the numbers on who will receive the inheritance. There are also some campers near the house. A string of unique murders occur.
"What if it fails?"
"It won't fail."
Mario Bava, director of Black Sunday, Evil Eye, Roy Colt and Winchester Jack, Lisa and the Devil, Black Sabbath, and Blood and Black Lace, delivers Bay of Blood. The storyline for this picture is actually entertaining and fun to watch unfold and the kill scenes were well done. The cast delivers solid performances and includes Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, and Isa Miranda.
"You want to get me in your dirty, filthy games."
I came across the Mario Bava collection on Netflix and add them to my queue. I will say this was one of my favorites of his...for sure. This isn't perfect, but it is a wonderful slasher film. It reminded me of the first Sleepaway Camp for some reason. Overall, I feel this is a must see for campy horror movie fans.
"I really never thought you had it in you."