Thursday, October 30, 2008
#107: Bay of Blood
Bay of Blood
Directed by Mario Bava
Written by Mario Bava, Filippo Ottoni, Dardano Sacchetti and Giuseppe Zaccariello (from a story by Franco Barberi)
Released September 8, 1971 (Italy)
While I've already covered legendary Italian directors Lucio Fulci and Dario Argento this month, I would be remiss not to mention the work of Mario Bava. Hell, the guy made the movie from which Black Sabbath took their name! Sadly, my education on Bava is pretty limited, so this probably won't be the last time you see me reviewing one of his movies in the next 8 or 9 months.
Also known as Twitch of the Death Nerve, The Ecology of Murder, Carnage and even marketed at one point as Last House on the Left 2 (even though it has nothing to do with that movie, and was made a year before it), seems to have been one of the biggest influences on the Friday the 13th. This is not only because it features a faceless slasher making short work of teenagers who party by a lake, but more specifically in a couple of the murder scenes which wind up surfacing years later in at least one of the 13th flicks.
I'm really not giving too much away by telling you that the teenagers who show up in this movie are in trouble. Anyone who knows anything about Horror movies knows that when Hippies show up, they're gonna die. Bay of Blood also employs what would become a convention of Horror movies: the old Killer's-P.O.V. cam that puts us behind the eyes of a stalking murderer.
Thank god for those Hippies, because some of them get some truly great hack n' slash deaths. As a matter of fact, these murders are pretty much the main draw, since Bava makes so many strange twists and scene changes that you'll find yourself confused at more than one point. Unlike those redundant Jason Vorhees movies, Bay of Blood has a plot that is far more convoluted, with an entire cast of characters -- from the Tarot card obsessed woman who looks like Marc Bolan of T.Rex to the insect collector or the guy who takes bites out of squid as he fishes them out of the water -- who may or may not be the murderer. Or, maybe there's more than one. . .
Look, maybe it's just best to not pay that close of attention. Put this on at a party as some great background footage, something that will constantly grab attention. You might as well play some music over it as well, since people aren't going to be able to follow it in any sort of linear fashion.
Honestly, I'm going to have to give Bava another shot on another day. Bay of Blood just wasn't doing it for me. Between the teenage hippies, the flashbaks and the land/estate dispute, I didn't know what the fuck was going on by the end of the first hour.
(Halloween fans: go check out my music blog, Pimps of Gore for a big old chunk of spooky mp3's...)
For more on Reazione a catena:
- Movie information at IMDB and Wikipedia.
- The Wikipedia entry on Mario Bava
- Buy the DVD, or check out the alternate version, Twitch of the Death Nerve.
The stylish Bay of Blood trailer: