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Badmovies.org Forum  |  Movies  |  Bad Movies  |  "A bay of blood" aka "Twitch of the dead nerve" (1971). « previous next »
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Author Topic: "A bay of blood" aka "Twitch of the dead nerve" (1971).  (Read 1511 times)
Neville
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« on: April 17, 2005, 04:03:32 PM »

People, today I'm a happy man. I've just seen my first "giallo". Well, not exactly, because a year ago, after reading several articles on the genre I rented Dario Argento's "Sleepless", which I found a quite satisfying, if flawed, film.

But I though that I should watch more "giallos" in the future, and since the critics of one of my favourite film magazines seem to have this title in high regard, I just decided to watch this film by Mario Bava in the first place.

And I have to warn everybody that I was not ready to see it. See, as most viewers today, I'm used to a very different type of filmmaking than this one. This movie is not only an Italian film, but also of the 70s era. It was quite jawdropping at first to see the peculiar camerawork by Bava, or the behaviour of some characters. It took me a second viewing to understand that although Bava's style is certainly more deliverate than other more modern, it certainly is not contemplative nor pointless. During the second viewing I managed to notice how imaginative are his camera  setups (the killer POVs have an ellegance difficult to imagine, while absolutely every camera movement has a meaning) or the fascinating use he makes of the scenarios (the first killing, in a room decorated with renacentist paintings is glorious).

The plot? Oh, well, there's this bay in Italy, a very peaceful and picturesque site, that is about to be converted into a touristic complex. And of course, after the owner of the land is killed at the beginning of the movie, the rest of the characters won't stop until they make sure the place is theirs. Which of course ends up with a highly entertainning hide-and-seek game where nobody is as innocent as they look and the body count escalates every time any character leaves the room.

Any viewer could have a ball by trying to figure out who killed who and, more important, why (althogh I've heard of many  "giallos" that don't make any sense, this one does) alone. As the body count rapidly scalates, this task can left the viewers quite overwhelmed, but it's just fascinating. And for hardcore viewers, the killings themselves are also lots of bloody fun.

I've had a grat time with this film, and I've made the decision to watch more "giallos" in the future. Some more Argento, like "Suspiria" and "Deep Red" are already on my list, but if I ever hear of any other good "giallo" by Bava I'll do my best to catch a copy as well.

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Mr_Vindictive
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« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2005, 07:01:24 PM »

I don't know if I would consider Bay Of Blood a giallo due to the fact that they are mainly Italian slasher films where beautiful young women are murdered.  This one was an equal oppurtunity murderer.

I caught it near Halloween on IFC.  I was a bit underwhelmed

Here's the review from my site:

 Summary
A countess is killed in her home on a beautiful bay in Italy. Soon everyone in the area is being hacked up by a crazy killer.

Review
IFC really amazed me this Halloween with the film lineup. They had an entire night of Dario Argento, and showed his most classic films. It was great to see Suspiria, Inferno and Deep Red getting the attention they deserved.

They really followed through the next night with a lineup of Mario Bava films. They started off with Black Sunday, and then went immediatly into Bay Of Blood which I had been looking forward to for a long time. I poured myself a glass of wine, sat down and got ready to watch some great Italian horror filmmaking.

Unfortunantly I didn't get anything like I had expected. What I got was a straight up slasher flick complete with skinny dipping teens, inventive murders, and a convoluted storyline.

And it was great.

The film starts off with an elderly woman being murdered in her beautiful home on the edge of a bay. We watch, only to see the murderer in turn get murdered. This opening might make you think that you are actually watching a smart horror film, but you are completely proven wrong when you see:

THE TEENAGERS.

What slasher film wouldn't be complete without some teenagers? They are there for no apparent reason other than to prove fodder for the killer. The teens are horrible actors and really drag the movie down. If everything involving them had been completely cut, Bava would have had a masterpiece.

I won't even begin to get into the plot interworkings being as it was convoluted and confusing enough to make you vomit. But, that is not why people watch films of this nature. People watch these films to see the characters die a grisly death. Bava certainly set the bar high in that respect.

The deaths are inventive for their times, there is no doubt about that. We see throat slashings, decapitations, chokings, head gashing, and even the films crowning moment - a double impalement.

The film does work though, and it's worth seeking out if you're a fan of the slasher genre. Bava did a great job of creating the slasher genre, but it's only really entertaining for nostalgia purposes.






Side Notes:

1. Friday The 13th took heavily from this film. The whole "Someone is killing people on the edge of a body of water." thing is here, and F13 almost completely copies some of Bava's scenes from the film.

2. More F13 relations. The double impalement scene was copied in F13 Part 3. Just as I mentioned before, it's filmed almost shot for shot.

3. It seems that Bay Of Blood fell under the curse of renaming back in the 70s and 80s. It was all a plot to get you to rent the film again, but under a different name. Tricky bastards. A lot of films had the same problem during those times. It seemed that whoever released Bay Of Blood in the US was targeting Craven's 'Last House On The Left' Market. Here are some of the alternate names:

Antefatto (1971)
Bay of Blood, A (1972) (USA)
Before the Fact-Ecology of a Crime (1971)
Bloodbath (1980) (UK)
Bloodbath Bay of Blood (1971)
Bloodbath Bay of Death (1971)
Carnage (1971)
Chain Reaction (1971/II) (Italy) (literal English title)
Ecologia del delitto (1971)
Ecology of a Crime, The (1971)
Last House on the Left Part II (1973) (USA) (reissue title)
New House on the Left (1971)
Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971)

Twitch of the Death Nerve is the main one that you'll find it listed under today in the US.

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« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2005, 07:49:13 PM »

I have BAY OF BLOOD qued up on Netflix, but I think I have it at #30 or something on my list. Maybe I'll move it up my list.

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Neville
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« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2005, 04:59:26 PM »

Skaboi wrote: " don't know if I would consider Bay Of Blood a giallo due to the fact that they are mainly Italian slasher films where beautiful young women are murdered. This one was an equal oppurtunity murderer."

I am a bit confused about the differences, really. "Sleepless" could be seen as well as an equal oportunity murderer film (almost every character is a suspect), but Argento calls it a "gaillo" several times through the "making of". Maybe when I've seen "Deep Red" or "Suspiria" I'll see the difference.

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Gerry
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« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2005, 05:55:29 PM »

My favorite Argentos are in order of fave to least fave:

DEEP RED
INFERNO
SUSPIRIA
TENEBRAE

Other Bava Giallos:

FIVE DOLLS FOR AN AUGUST MOON (1970)
BLOOD AND BLACK LACE (1964)

Of course, ANY Bava is worth watching IMO, and most of his were supernatural horrors rather than straight-up Giallo.
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