Sundays tend to be movie watching days, I’ve noticed. Not sure why I pick Sundays to watch but maybe because it’s a “relaxing, chill” kind of day. I wasn’t planning on watching this specific movie, I was looking towards something else. But thankfully, having Shudder provides you with different options.
However this movie and watching is a little different than I had anticipated. And by that I mean this movie made me go “this movie is influential, this movie is like a grand poobah of future horror movies”. I’m talking about a director who goes by the name Mario Bava. I’m talking about an early 70s horror film called A Bay of Blood.
Let’s talk about it!
First off, I enjoyed this movie. It’s a true slasher in the genre. It’s gory, violent, in your face, the blood is so obnoxiously red that you only see in giallo films and yet I was so into who the killer could be, how many deaths (I counted 13) and how the movie would end. And what I expected at the end, took me for a loop, too.
How can I start off in this review? Music? Cinematography? The fact that I had flashes of horror movies WELL after this movie taking bits and pieces of this movie and making it their own? The deaths? We’re gonna start there cos there’s one specifically I wasn’t too cool with. Of all the kills, the stabbings, full upclose decapitation, a hanging type of situation, the one that really bugged me was towards the end involving a man strangling a female protagonist. I think because it was prolonged and it felt more personal than the other kills, I wasn’t here for. It reminded me a bit of Blood and Black Lace where a female protagonist was basically tortured and smacked around and I remember thinking, why? Why is this necessary?*
*Side note, I don’t watch a lot of those revenge type of horror where most of the time, our protagonist (a woman) is assaulted and that’s the whole driven plot. I’ve seen The Last House on the Left and A Clockwork Orange and yes those movies are very graphic and you want to take a shower and they tell a good story but they aren’t my jam. There is an audience for that but I don’t belong there. Back to the review.
The characters are a mix of disposable and I wish we had more time to explore them and their background.The music was an interesting juxtaposition to what was being shown on screen. Music does play a huge role in giallo films and the music felt out of place but on purpose and I dug that a lot.
The plot was very simple: people fighting over property and resorting to killing. Ironically, we do not see the killer(s) until later in the film but it is an easy film to just watch and not think too hard about. The biggest take away was seeing this movie and then realizing huh, I see Friday the 13th (1980) and Part 2 (1981) in this movie. Or The Burning (1981), Halloween (1978), Black Christmas (1974), so many things are huge takeaways. The point of view of the killer(s), we are in the shoes, we are stalking the prey. A certain kill or two in A Bay of Blood is almost replicated and hinted at in both Friday and Part 2 and I’m aware that TONS of Italian horror inspires western or American horror but it dawned on me right then and there. Also it was one of the only few movies where I kinda kept count of the deaths… body count. That was a new experience as well.
A Bay of Blood stars Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Volonté, Laura Betti, Leopoldo Trieste and Brigitte Skay and is directed by Mario Bava. I give A Bay of Blood 4 out of 5 stars. I would highly recommend it if you are a fan of italian/giallo horror and slasher films.