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Bay of Blood

2 Ratings: 3.5
A movie directed by Mario Bava

Though most do not watch Mario Bava films for their tightly constructed plots, this film still provided much of the inspiration for the first two FRIDAY THE 13TH films, as well as some of the actual scenes. The plot hinges on a bunch of murderous relatives … see full wiki

Director: Mario Bava
Genre: Horror
Release Date: January 1, 1971
MPAA Rating: Unrated
1 review about Bay of Blood

Reazione a catena – Bay of Blood

  • Sep 17, 2002
Pros: great camera work & direction

Cons: very violent & bloody, not necessarily a con

The Bottom Line: Great film work

After seeing Planet of the Vampire, and my adverse reaction to it, as well as the comments regarding Bava’s work, I decided to give him another go around. Bay of Blood is touted as being one of his best works, so the selection was actually easy.

The story is centered around 4 young and hapless yuppie types, a lucrative piece of seaside real estate, legends of times gone by and an old woman in a wheel chair. Make no mistake about it, this is a damn bloody movie, in fact probably one of the goriest ones I’ve seen in quite some time. But I don’t go into these movies thinking I am going to see Sound of Music.

As the surviving widow (mother, sister?) the wheelchair bound woman wants to hold on to this beautiful piece of property. However, schemers want to develop a vacation getaway for the rich and famous. Many tactics are used lure her out of the house, but she isn’t buying it one bit.

Enter the 4 bimbos on a day in the woods. First I must comment that the area, and the times, looked desolate and bleak. In addition, from the jackets, etc., I got the impression it was chilly, if not actually cold. However, as the sprites scamper in the woods, one of the airheads decides to go swimming. Why are they always so dumb to separate themselves from the pack?

The other three investigate other areas nearby. Two slip off into a bedroom for a little scroggin, leaving the boyfriend of the swimmer to tend to himself. All three end up quite dead. Nasty.

The blonde swimming bimbo hears something and scurries back to land. Well, no duh, dummy, haven’t you ever seen a horror flick before? Running back to where she thinks she will find her alive and breathing friends, she is garroted, perhaps beheaded. Even I averted my eyes.

Somewhere around this time I got very confused. There were a few players I couldn’t sort out. Some rich lawyer type that was trying to tweak the old lady out of her digs, and his secretary were involved. Then again, there was another 3-piece suit and his babe involved as well. And a mysterious brother shows up that is related somehow to the departed gent that owned the property. Strangely enough all these people looked vaguely the same and acted similar. Frankly I got lost, but I’ll explain why later.

Also on the scene were two children, who I think belonged to the second 3-piece suit and his babe. At least that is what I picked up from the ending.

Of course, the ending is what solidifies the story entirely. It took me 15 minutes to clean the Pepsi off my TV screen.

acting, directing and all that jazz
This was my major beef, and part of my confusion. Although it is a foreign film, it is dubbed in English. No problem with that part. However, the speaking tones were so quiet, I mean almost a whisper. Very sultry and seductive, would be my guess. So I had to really crank up the volume on the set to hear what was being said.

However, intermittently there would be a loud and harsh sound. I mean really loud and obtrusive. Under normal circumstances this probably wouldn’t rankle me so much, but my roomie’s bedroom is right off the TV area and it was 6 AM, so I was attempting to keep the sound at a minimum. So that is how I lost a lot of the descriptive character studies. At least, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

As far as directing and cinematography, it was simply outstanding, even if it did put me on blood sensory overload. Many unique shots were used by Bava. In particular, when the old woman is sitting in her chair, looking out the window, her expression reflects the bleakness of the surroundings. In effect, I felt it mirrored her own outlook on her future. As he pans back from her face, the raindrops, which you hadn’t noticed before, become the prominent feature of the picture, with her own cameo a blurred and faded scene behind the glass. Again, reflective on her life. I found it very intriguing.

In addition, the overt use of glaring red throughout the homes was noticeable. For the most part everything is drab and dark in the main house, suddenly shots of red intersperse throughout – a phone, a picture, pillow, throw. And of course, the blood. The other house, the lawyer and his secretary, was starkly modern (for the era) with a lot of crisp white and electric blue, then poof – a hunk of red just for good taste.

The third house, the mysterious married (?) couple was a trailer, parked somewhere on the lake, with two young kids stuck in it. No red, blue, white or green here, just boring and blasé.

Overall the production was quite good. Jarring in many cases, lighting well done. Even a story involved, if you could grasp it. The acting was a little loose, not quite polished, but I give a lot of that to the time involved. And the outfits these bimbos wore, Jesus, did we really dress like that back then?

Perhaps one of the most violent and bloody movies I have viewed. Many give the impression of violence, but it is often done off camera. Bava, however, shoves it in your face like a well done peanut butter & jelly sandwich, and likewise, it sticks right there and doesn’t leave you. This was the predecessor of the Friday the 13th & Halloween series of movies. You can definitely tell where their ideas originated – right smack dab there on the film of Bava.

So although it ranks high on the slasher type of film, I give it a big thumbs up, just because I’m the mom.

Directed by Mario Bava, written by Franco Barberi, Mario Bava, Joseph McLee, Filippo Ottoni nd Dardano Sacchetti. Starring Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Camaso, Anna Maria Rosati and Cristea Ayram.



Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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