Bay of Blood (1971)

   
Directed & Cinematographed by: Mario Bava

Written by: Mario Bava, Filippo Ottoni & Giuseppe Zaccariello

Story by: Franco Barberi & Dardano Sacchetti

Starring:

Claudine Auger .... Renata
Luigi Pistilli .... Albert
Claudio Camaso .... Simon
Anna Maria Rosati .... Laura
Chris Avram .... Frank Ventura
Leopoldo Trieste .... Paolo Fossati
Laura Betti .... Anna Fossati
Brigitte Skay .... Brunhilda
Paola Montenero .... Denise
Guido Boccaccini .... Duke
Robert Bonanni .... Robert

Release Date: Theatrical: September 8, 1971 (Italy); May 3, 1972 (USA)
*Images courtesy at: www.sonofcelluloid.blogspot.com

 

 

 

Rating:

 

An elderly heiress in a wheelchair named Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda) is murdered by her greedy husband Count Filippo Donati (Giovanni Nuvolletti) only to be murdered as well by a mysterious killer in which this brings up friends and relatives hosted by a married couple named Renata (Claudine Auger) and Albert (Luigi Pistilli) attempt to reduce the inheritance playing field in which they seem to go berserk killing one another as well.
There's also a combination with your everyday teenagers going to the resort like area on a school break only to become victims as well to the killer being hacked away one by one.

 

The film seems to start off impressively with an elderly woman in a wheelchair named Countess Federica Donati looking around and suddenly is pushed off her wheelchair and hung as this looked quite disturbing watching someone helpless choking to death especially when they're not able to walk as a nice key to a slasher flick. We spot her husband who was supposedly the killer as well walking in to see her dead but then getting murdered himself in which this makes things a little confusing but yet impressive showing that there is a mysterious killer as well who wants both of these people dead too.
The story adds some flavor with a couple cuddling up towards one another as a bit of flirtatious romance seems to fit in well for a horror flick before more terrors start to happen here.
The film tries to be humoress with a character named Paolo is trying to catch butterflies with a net in a forest and is in a heavy discussion with Frank Ventura but yet this seems to fall flat as I never found it funny. But it seems to work in well for the storyline here since we do need some humoress moments before the terrors happening later on in the story.
Of course what's a slasher film without throwing in some teenagers as we catch them speeding away in a car acting full of life and trying to grab some leaves from a tree which seemed to look fun to watch acting happy with them going away on a break from school. From there it's neat to see them entering a cabin by the ocean and partying out along with one of them named Denise stripping it off and going skinny dipping into the ocean which seems to be a total slasher tradition before this sex pot gets killed for being naughty by doing this in which I'm convinced that this was what inspired American horror flicks to use elements by spotting stuff like these types as Italian horror delivered many of these moments from the start. Yet she is swimming in the water for a very long time before something is about to happen. Meanwhile it's cool to see the others partying and dancing to some music as well as one of them deciding to scare one another wearing a freaky mask and a speare. Seem familiar to a 1981 American slasher flick taking place at a summer camp???
Then later on in the story we go back to Denise still swimming nude in the ocean and about to climb up a ladder on a pier as then we spot a dead body floating in the water near her and she doesn't notice it just yet but this looked pretty creepy and gruesome while we spot this and then of course she freaks out and half naked while running away as well as entering some aort of a barn and noticing a dark figure there in which this looked pretty spooky as well as her running out and trying to get away. It looked nicely done when we spot some sort of a deadly looking dagger/machette hacking away at her. Even if this looked brutal we can still spot her breathing when she's supposed to be dead as this was a total goof up.
There's even a moment with another teen named Robert opening a door and a hatchet slams into his face in which this moment was supposed to make you jump but it almost seems a bit obvious. Yet it was close enough to make you jump. Just slightly cheesy that's all. Then the killer stabs a couple fornicating in bed with a spear but yet they groan a bit too much before they finally die as this seemed a bit phony to watch. These killing definetely sound familiar to a slasher film happening ten years later which is of course having Jason killing his victims in the exact same style. It's cool to see an italian slasher film doing these long beforehand.
What's really creepy is that one of the people named Renata who arrives to the same cabin with her husband Albert spots some sort of an octopus on top of something and then it's a dead body in which this looked pretty shocking to watch as well as her nearly getting sick in which she seems hesitant to throw up while running into the cabin and another perfect shocking moment is when she catches a bunch of corpses lying there in the cabin which looked like a grizzly form of art. It was for sure dark but then we catch the killer a little too soon after all of this and she tries to protect herself from him.
Then the story starts to go in a bit of a slump after that as well as very confusing as it seems that everyone at the cabin is a killer and not just one person in which it looks like that they're killing for greed or something along those lines. Plus we spot some flashback sequences on that lady in a wheelchair and the reason behind her as to why she was murdered. It was fairly interesting to watch this though.
A nice scene to watch is when someone named Simon acts vicious towards Laura and while she backs up there's a pot of water boiling on the stove which we get the idea that she will use it to splash on his face to try and get away. At the same time it seems pretty obvious as the camera shots focus on this alot.
Another shocking death scene is that we spot an axe lifting high in the air to chop of someone's head and showing the results. A slasher film during this time period couldn't get better than this as it sparked alot of controversy during it's theatrical release for sure. This almost seemed like a moment that the first Friday the 13th got an idea to combine both of this into two separate scene's and made these terrifying moments look just as dark and disturbing to watch like we spot it here.
What's really controvertial of all is when two little kids think they're playing a game by killing their parents which can easily have people offended and start a picketing in front of the theatre but hey this stuff really sells and gets others motivated into checking this film out.
Bottom line is this is the film that inspired many of the American slasher flicks that we see later on in the years like Halloween and Friday the 13th borrowing alot of the killings and dark moments. However, I enjoyed those movies alot better than this film not to say that this is a bad movie at all since it seems to really grab the viewers attention but it's hard to understand it quarter way through and the teenagers involved get a quick killing and then it seems to go into a different direction with adults being the maniacs and killing each other. A movie worth checking out for the fun of it and there's great locations shot here and plenty of blood too. Italian horror flicks seems to work out cleverly I must say.

The acting is overdubbed with American actors but I will do my best to see who is worth reviewing here. Lead actress Claudine Auger (Renata) seems to show off a good tough and stern attitude with whatever she does in her performance and making alot of this look very energetic like. She also does well by freaking out whenever she experiences something terrifying and rolling with the punches here. Plus she's great by acting crazy and losing control of whatever she does later on in her performance too. Shows some good energy whenever she acts stern with someone. Does well with her screaming and shocked reactions after spotting a corpse along with acting like she's going to be sick making this look fairly realistic and she really got into this all. She also does well after spotting corpses inside the cabin as well as reacting energetic with her struggling while trying to protect herself from a killer with her energetic reactions to all of this.
Luigi Pistilli (Albert) comes across as perfectly serious along with an almost passive type of behavior into whatever he does in the film. Plus he had a nice rough look to his appeal which suited the role that he was playing. He can be fairly remembered into what he did in the film as well as knowing on how to have a great menacing attitude too showing off an interesting versatality into his role along with his expressions on this. Perfect blocking moments with him plunaging a spear with a great menacing reactions.
Claudio Camaso (Simon) has a voice over which seems a bit too mellodramatic and over the top. However he seems to get into what he does in which if we don't understand italian language he may very well sound different and really into his role as he pulls off a nice obnoxious type of attitude into everything that he did in the film making him seem like someone who can be very dangerous if he ever tried to attack you. Does well sneering and slowly stomping towards someone. He shows some nice painful reactions in a certain scene. He does well howling in pain while being impaled by a spear. So I'd say he made some great effort on his behalf.
Leopoldo Trieste (Paolo Fossati) seemed to be quite a ham in his role as someone who is obsessed in catching insects for his collections and just acting goofy and wild about everything. He certainly showed a nice hyperactive attitude into everything that he did and shows a real effective supporting role here. He's a true character actor that I found here. He really role in with the punches here along with everyone else and had a perfect wide eyed look to his part which was another great plus. He shows terrific intense like reactions with his eyes growing wide and choking out while being strangled.
Laura Betti (Anna Fossati) was another great character actress and a natural ham too as someone who is into fortune telling and showing a high paced energetic behavior by focusing on alot of this. Does well with her wide eyed expressions and really getting into her fortune telling cards with some decent wit here.She seemed to know her part inside out and comes across as believeably eccentric too. She definetely deserves great credit with her performance.
Anna Maria Rosati (Laura) had that wholesome look like a type in those really old fashioned films and shows a nice calm type of behavior into her role as someone who is the mellow type who is the least threatening. She was not too bad into what she did on her performance and breezed through pretty well on and off wherever that she appeared in a scene and not seeming to lack into what she did here.
Paola Montenero (Denise) as a lustful looking teenager seemed to stand out okay with her sharp looks but at the same time seemed to lack into pulling off a character and letting her looks do most of the talking. You can tell that she lacks a bit in her frightening behavior when the terror surrounding her starts to happen here which explains why she was mainly just a Playboy model in Italy. There's a phony looking expression on her after spotting a corpse in the ocean in which she seemed to lack energy a bit as well as running away and then phony reactions with her after she gets killed in.

Paola Montenero is naked top to bottom taking it all off while going skinny dipping into an ocean and having a long swim.

A person is bloodily stabbed
Gruesome looking corpse is revealed in an ocean
A neck is cut in half by a dagger
Face is sliced in half by a hatchet
A couple is bloodily stabbed in bed by a spear
Head is chopped off with the remains revealed
Person's stomach is bloodily stabbed by a spear next to a tree

Alot of terrific music composed by Stelvio Cipriani in which he composes alot of jungle type congo playing especially during the beginning and ending credits in the film along with some flute playing too which works in well. There's also chilling type sounds as this blends in well with the killings as well as hearing some good hissing sounds. There's even peaceful classical piano playing and violin music too for the still and quiet moments in certain scene's of the film to top it all off. It's nice to see someone concentrate hard on showing a variety of music for different aspects of the story.