Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood (1971) is an Italian giallo (murder mystery) film that is both incredibly fun and considered to be widely influential. The movie contains a total of 13 murders, and since it is currently the year 2013, and seeing as how 13x2 equals 26, and today happens to be the 26th, and since numbers have been proven to mathematically exist, here's a list of 13 REASONS YOU SHOULD WATCH A BAY OF BLOOD:
1. - The Murders:
The special effects were done by Carlo Rambaldi, and they're quite effective, especially the machete to the face. The blood is that sick, candy red color that was popular in Italian (and other) movies of the era, such as A Lizard in a Woman's Skin (1971), Deep Red (1975), and Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1973), all of which Rambaldi worked on. Carlo would hit the big time working on iconic films like Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977; realization of the "extraterrestrial"), Alien (1979; 'Alien' head effects), and E.T. (1982), but I personally think some of his best work is on the intensely batshit Possession (1981), which means that, yes, the same guy that made and designed the lovable E.T. also made the fuck-monster in Possession.
A Bay of Blood is almost in your face with its carnage, as it comes quite often and is, indeed, bloody, but it is the slow revelations of the motivations for these murders, and the identities of the murderers (plural), that gives the movie its twist of mystery and intrigue, making it more than just a bodycount film.
2. - The Mystery:
The mystery of this move is, admittedly, not that complicated or maybe even that thrilling, but I appreciate the novelty of a movie where everyone is a killer (more or less) and how that drives the plot forward instead of a search for a killer. Granted, it is a whisper-thin plot, but watching the movie play out (and all those murders play out) reveals clues and further insight as to why all these various people want or feel the need to kill. Basically I like that it's not just a slash and stab picture, even though there is plenty of both.
3. - The Cinematography:
4. - Mario Bava, the godfather of Italian horror cinema:
In case you're unaware, Bava is considered to be a legend and one of the most important figures in Italian genre cinema, having created some of the special effects for and worked as the cinematographer on Italy's very first horror film (I vampiri ), sword-and-sandal epic (Hercules ), and science fiction film (The Day the Sky Exploded ), before going on to direct films of his own and introducing the world to Barbara Steele with his solo directorial debut Black Sunday (1960) and also helping to create the giallo subgenre of horror films with his one-two punch of The Girl Who Knew Too Much (1963) and Blood and Black Lace (1964). His films are gothic, occasionally psychedelic, innovative, influential, and incredibly fun, with even his lesser efforts offering memorable or standout sequences. He is a master of the genre and while I wouldn't say A Bay of Blood is representative of his work as a whole, it's a good gateway into his films.
5. - That gross ass Octopus, crawling all over that Corpse Face:
That shit is nasty.
6. - The Influence on Friday the 13th and other slasher films:
Of all the giallo films I've seen, I would say that A Bay of Blood is the one that feels most similar to a slasher film, as it is basically a movie populated with characters that are lined up to die. Good thing most of them are good looking or interesting to look at...
7. - The Cast, full of good looking Ladies and Weirdos:
The lovely Brunhilda (Brigitte Skay) certainly gives the film its requisite amount of nudity during the scenes she bounces around in, and Laura (Anna Maria Rosati), the real estate agent's lover, plays only a minor part, but she looks good doing it.
My favorite character might be Paolo Fassati (Leopoldo Trieste), a weirdo entomologist who lives along the bay with his weirdo, tarot reading wife Anna (Laura Betti). Paolo is first seen running around with a net trying to catch some bugs, his enthusiasm childlike. He seems to associate more with insects than he does with people, making him a great off-kilter side character. Trieste also has small supporting roles in Don't Look Now (1973) and The Godfather: Part II (1974).
Laura Betti worked with Mario Bava on Hatchet for the Honeymoon (1970) and the two of them came up with the basic story for A Bay of Blood simply as a means of working together again (she gets no final credit in the film, even though there are six screenplay credits[!]).
8. - The Soundtrack:
Dig the groove, man.
9. - This Guy's Hair! And both of their Turtlenecks:
10. - All the Alternate Titles:
original pre-production screenplay title: Odore di came (The Odor of the Flesh)
shooting screenplay title: Cosi imparano a fare i cattivi (Thus do we live to be evil)
after production title: Antefatto (Before the Fact)
first release title: Ecologia del delitto (The Ecology of Crime)
pulled from theaters and retitled and re-released as: Reazione a Catena (Chain Reaction)
again, pulled from theaters and retitled and re-released as: Bahia di Sangre (Bay of Blood)
first US release title: Carnage
second US release title: Twitch of the Death Nerve
UK titles include: A Bay of Blood, Blood Bath, and Bloodbath Bay of Death
strangest re-titlings: Last House on the Left - Part 2 and The New House on the Left (?!)
11. - That Buggy Car:
12. - That fucking Ending. . . :
13. - This Theatrical Trailer:
Should a trailer be a reason to watch a movie? In this case, yes.
Isa Miranda, who played the wheelchair-bound Countess, also co-starred in David Lean's Summertime (1955) and the controversial and sadomasochistic The Night Porter (1974).
Barely in the movie, except for a couple scenes, Renata's red-headed daughter is played Nicoletta Elmi, who would go on to play the Baron's daughter in Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1973), the weird lizard girl in Deep Red (1975), and Ingrid, the usherette in Demons (1985).