FINAL GIRL explores the slasher flicks of the '70s and '80s...and all the other horror movies I feel like talking about, too. This is life on the EDGE, so beware yon spoilers!

Aug 27, 2013

Film Club: Bay of Blood

Mario Bava's Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve, aka A Zillion More Titles No Really Look Them Up, 1971) is widely considered to be the grandpappy of the slasher/body-count genre and it doesn't take a huge leap of logic to figure that hey, as such, the film is gonna have a bunch of gore and a bunch of violence and it's probably going to turn off a lot of people. In this regard, Bay of Blood certainly does not disappoint. And let me tell you, friends, that despite all the sights we've seen in the 40-plus years since this film hit, it's still as much of a shocker as it was then.

Some of this is due to the graphic nature of the kills- impalements, decapitations, face-hackings, throat-cuttings, and more are all on full display and, of course, many of these scenes would be aped later in "dead teenager" offerings such as Friday the 13th and its sequel.

More than the gore, though, it's the lingering shots Bava employs that serve to disturb the viewer as we're forced to watch that ol' death nerve a-twitchin'. All in all, the film is a downright nasty piece of work.

It's tough to put together the pieces of this murder mystery until roughly halfway through its running time. Up until then, you may find your patience wearing thin as you try to suss out who is who and who's killing who and who's zoomin' who as characters enter and exit the show with little explanation as to motivation and/or how they relate to one another. But when it all comes together, it comes together fast and Bay of Blood reveals itself to be not only a nasty piece of work, but also a delightfully gleeful black comedy in which terrible people do terrible things all in the name of greed. The familiar "inheritance plot" spirals out of control as people simply must be killed- you know how these things go- and eventually no one is left unscathed. When her husband questions if all the death is really necessary, cold-hearted snake Renata (Claudine Auger) explains, "Will you stop being such an old maid? You have to rely on instinct in certain situations." In other words, if someone gets between you and the money, it's murderin' time.

Though Bay of Blood may not rank among Bava's best work, it's still far better (and far more stylish) than the majority of the films it would influence later. And if nothing else, it's given me a burning desire to be a wealthy Countess so I, too, can dismiss people by simply saying "I'm late for my nap."

Film Club Coolies: show 'em some love!
Death Blog! The Blog That Eats People! 
Life Between Frames
Scarina's Scary Vault of Scariness
Squealing Tires on Dirt
From the Depths of DVD Hell
Groovy Doom
Vegan Voorhees


Michael Perridge said...

You write with wit and I've enjoyed your blog for some time, however this theme update is terrible (for us old gits anyway - fine for those meddling kids no doubt) :-(

W.B. Kelso said...

Great stuff, as always. And if I may be so bold to present this morbid little Parker Brother's knock-off for your perusing pleasure:


Jason Adams said...

I did a Thursday's Ways Not To Die way back when for both BoB and Friday the 13th and one of their similar kill scenes. Love this movie.

Stacie Ponder said...

How is the update terrible? Does it not work with a certain browser or something...? Or you just don't like it? If there's a tech issue, I might be able to fix it.

Unknown said...

Dayum, I forgot to email you...
Here it is if it's any consequence...

Hud xxx

Michael Perridge said...

Tiny white type on black with a very long line length makes it very hard for older folks (yup that's me squinting at the screen). Style-wise it's fine (altho a little too myspace for my tastes). I just can't read it (and I do admire that voice of yours). Hate to say it but I'd grown to love it as it was. Don't worry I'm in the minority I'm sure.

Elwood Jones said...

This month's film club finally gave the kick to sit down and watch some Bava.

True it left with me with mixed feeling as covered in the review, but the end almost made up for it.

Bloody Mary said...

Damn. I missed the deadline once again, but I did post some comments from the makers of the Friday the 13th series regarding the "inspiration".

Stacie Ponder said...

Mr Vegan Voorhees, you've been added!

Regarding the layout, I can see where white-on-black may be troublesome. Perhaps I'll poke around and see if I can switch it up. The thing is, I wanted a layout where I could have bigger pictures and utilize screen space a bit better, and I think this layout does that. I'm limited in terms of what I can do because I have no coding skills to speak of and so I must rely on what's out there.

As for the MySpace-iness of it, well, I'm always a good ten years behind the curve so that seems appropriate. :)

Stacie Ponder said...

Hmm, well, I changed it up some obviously. It's a work in progress, so I appreciate the feedback! The last thing I want to do is make it difficult to read.

Michael Perridge said...

Well, you've made it readable to me at least and for that many thanks. Sorry to be an old coot about it.

Stacie Ponder said...

No worries...I mean, if people can't read the site, then there's no point in having it. Besides, old coots are the best coots! Help a coot today.

Marc Edward Heuck said...

It's so wonderful that you've written this piece, not just because BAY OF BLOOD is great, but also because it ties in nicely with the release of YOU'RE NEXT, which I henceforth refer to as Mario Bava's HOME ALONE.

Meanwhile, I have given you a blogging award. If you want to participate in passing it around yourself, it's all presented here.

A.J. Axline said...

Stace, if you do become a wealthy Countess, please tell me that you'll hire the creepy chauffeur from "Burnt Offerings" to drive you around so you can throw VHS copies of "Wolfen" at people.