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Ecologia del Delitto

Bay of Blood
Reazione a Cantena / Twitch of the Death Nerve / Blood Bath & Snuff is My Game / The Last House on the Left, Part II / E Così Imparano a Fare i Cattivi / Odore di Carne

Italy 1971
produced by
Giuseppe Zaccariello for Nuova Linea Cinematografica
directed by Mario Bava
starring Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Camaso, Anna Maria Rosati, Chris Avram, Leopoldo Trieste, Laura Betti, Brigitte Skay, Isa Miranda, Paola Montenero (as Paola Rubens), Guido Boccaccini, Roberto Bonanni, Giovanni Nuvoletti, Renato Cestiè, Nicoletta Elmi
story by Dardano Sacchetti, Gianfranco Barberi, screenplay by Mario Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello, Filippo Ottoni, dialogue by Gene Luotto, music by Stelvio Cipriani, cinematography by Mario Bava

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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A remote mansion overlooking a pittoresque lake: Wheelchair-bound Countess Federica (Isa Miranda) is hanged in a manner that looks like suicide - and by her own husband Filippo (Giovanni Nuvoletti), too. But Filippo is killed right thereafter by a person unknown, and his body thrown into the lake.

Several days later, four teens, Louise (Brigette Skay), Sylvie (Paola Montenero), Luca (Guido Boccaccini), Roberto (Roberto Bonanni) break into a nearby abandoned ressort for a night of partying and sex, but during a spell of skinny-dipping, Louise happens upon the dead body of Filippo - and she and her friends are brutally killed as a consequence by whoever-it-is.

In the meantime, the parties who're craving for the inheritance of Countess Federica get into position, there's her estranged daughter Renata (Claudine Auger) and her husband Alberto (Luigi Pistilli), who arrive at the lake in their mobile home, and there's real estate agent Ventura (Chris Avram) and his secretary/lover Laura (Anna Maria Rosati), who decide to take a stab of making the property their own, and it soon becomes clear that they've all schemed in one way or another and might or might not be involved in the murder of the Countess and Filippo. Other players in the game are Simone (Claudio Camaso), a rough handyman who seems to know more than he's willing to let on, entomologist Foscari (Leopoldo Trieste), who seems entirely too innocent to not be guilty of something, and his fortune teller wife Anna (Laura Betti), who clearly knows too much - so soon, the mystery killer starts to make his/her way through all involved, untangling a web of intrigue while creating nothing but more confusion ...

 

Now stylistically, Bay of Blood is top notch - and it's not that anybody would expect anything less from Mario Bava to begin with, but this one looks excellent even by his standards, it's moody and suspenseful throughout, the killings are inventive and brutal but also fun (from a horror fan perspective of course), and while each frame seems to be carefully composed, the film also has a very natural flow to it and manages to remain entertaining throughout. And while this film is often cited as a blueprint for the seminal summer camp slasher Friday the 13th, the latter film falls several feet short when it comes to directorial finesse. That said, one would be hard-pressed to call Bay of Blood a perfect movie, quite simply because the screenplay is completely muddled, over-convoluted and under-developed. In other words, for a murder-mystery it's too hard to follow as many plot points are just too far fetched and/or lack plausibility while the plot, when connecting all the dots, makes little sense. That said, this is still an entertaining watch - it just would have so deserved a better screenplay.

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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directed by
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written by
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starring
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