in Horror Movie Reviews

A Bay of Blood Review

A Bay of Blood
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What could be worse than having one crazed killer in a movie? Well, having the ENTIRE cast as crazed killers! This is exactly what happens in the 1971 movie A Bay of Blood.

Often deemed Mario Bava’s most influential film, A Bay of Blood is regarded as the grandfather of the modern slasher film. It shares the same premise as Friday The 13th (1980) in that teenagers are slaughtered near water. Indeed, two of the killings in Bava’s movie are taken directly from two killings in Friday The 13th Part II.

Bay of Blood has a very unique concept: more than one killer murders people one by one. This movie is definitely one of the most crazy kill-fest flicks I have ever seen. It shuns character build-up in favour of a straight in-your-face murder spree.

The movie opens with a scenario involving a wheelchair-bound and wealthy countess, who owns the lands of a disputed bay. A mysterious assailant cold-bloodedly hangs her. That assailant turns out to be her husband, and he is immediately killed. The crime scene is falsified to make it look as if the old woman has taken her own life. Later on, an unknown assailant brutally murders two young couples in the titular bay. The inheritors of the countess’s fortune all then strive to get their greedy hands on the place, resorting to murdering each other.

Throughout the maze-like story, we jump from one character to the next, having scant time to get to know the people in the movie. Their deaths suddenly take on a surprisingly contemporary aspect. This twist represents a rather bold, risky approach to the conventional slasher flick. However, to judge by the many favourable reviews, it’s an approach that seems to have paid off really well.

One gimmick used to promote the movie was reminiscent of the kind William Castle would employ in his movies. Every ticket holder had to pass through The Final Warning Station. A theatre worker warned you that this may be the last ‘shock’ film you will ever want to see.

A Bay Of Blood was such a pivotal movie, as significant as Hitchcock’s classic Psycho. Bava’s film signalled the moment where giallo cinema overspilled into slasher horror.

What sets Bay of Blood apart from similar slasher movies is Bava’s unique visual style, coupled with wry humour and a heavy jazzy score. Bava’s presentation is absolutely spot on, with intermittent atmospheric interludes utilising the natural features of the landscape.

I won’t say too much about the ending of Bay of Blood, as I wouldn’t want to spoil the twist for you. Suffice to say that it does have a rather cheeky slant to it.

A Bay of Blood is definitely a movie that you should add to your collection.

Alan Toner