Sunday, 12 June 2011

A Bay of Blood

Year: 1971
Director: Mario Bava
Screenplay: Mario Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello, Filippo Ottoni and Sergio Canevari, from a story by Dardano Sacchetti and Franco Barberi
Starring: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Laura Betti
Running Time: 84 minutes
Genre: Horror, slasher, mystery

Summary: In her mansion beside a beautiful bay, the elderly Countess Federica (Isa Miranda) is murdered by her husband, Filippo Donati (Giovanni Nuvoletti), and arranged in a way to make it look as if she comitted suicide. However, no sooner is Donati finished arranging the crime scene when he is brutally stabbed to death by a mysterious assailant.
Believing that the Countess killed herself and her husband has disappeared, real estate developer Frank Ventura (Chris Avram) and his girlfriend Laura (Anna Maria Rosati) travel to the bay to get Donati to sign a series of legal documents which will enable them to take posession of the bay to devlop it as a holiday resort.
Also travelling to the bay is the Countess' daughter Renata (Auger) and her husband Albert (Pistilli) who are determined to get control of the bay by any means necessary.
Already at the bay are four teenagers ready to spend a weekend of drinking and partying at one of the abandoned bayside cabins.
However, the mysterious killer is still stalking the bay and the bodies are piling up in the water.

Opinions: This film is one of the classic Italian giallo films. "Giallo" is the Italian word for yellow and it came to refer to a series of cheap pulp fiction paperbacks which had distinctive yellow covers. The term came to refer to a series of horror and crime films which were notorious for lengthy and stylish scenes of extreme violence.
Mario Bava was a noted and well-respected film maker who specialised in horror movies, and this film got a very negative reaction from many critics due to the gruesome violence.
The movie proved to be very influential though and it's impact can be felt throughout the "slasher" and "splatter" horror film genre. The Friday the 13th films in particular with their killers stalking bucolic woodland locations are a direct descendent from this.
The storyline is fun and full of countless twists and turns. The impressive special effects were provided by Carlo Rambaldi, who went on to huge acclaim for the effects in E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982).
The acting is kind of bland, although it is hard to really judge due to the dubbed dialogue.
It is definitely worth watching for horror fans and giallo fans. Although it is worth remembering that it has been released under a wide variety of titles including Twitch of the Death Nerve, Blood Bath and Carnage.

Laura Betti and Leopoldo Trieste in A Bay of Blood

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