As bad as it is, A Bay of Blood stands as a moment in time for cinema.
Director Mario Bava
Screenplay Mario Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello, Filippo Ottoni, English Version: Gene Luotto
Starring Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Volonté, Laura Betti, Leopoldo Trieste, Brigitte Skay
A Bay of Blood is so absurd, it would be hard to take seriously were it not for its ingenuity. The plot of the film involves murder after murder in an attempt to secure the rights to a bayside mansion. Who is killing who becomes obvious by the beginning of the third act. At that point all bets are off until the last drop of blood has been spilled.
There is no real challenge or even thought at hiding evidence. After all the killing is done, no one would be above suspiscion or able to claim the property. This is all secondary to the methods and grotesque nature of all of the killings. Several of the scenes have been lifted and placed into other films, like a few Friday the 13th films and Edgar Wright’s Hot Fuzz.
The reactions of the people getting murdered is comical, for the most part. Several body movements defy believability in how they continue on after they have been stabbed or slashed. Even so, for 1971, this is shocking enough, most viewers would not be thinking about probability while sheilding their eyes.
As bad as it is, A Bay of Blood stands as a moment in time for cinema. Bava is not without a sense of humor. And I could look at Auger’s gorgeous Renata endlessly. The former Miss France and Bond girl occupies much of the 2nd half of the film and its a wonder she wasn’t a bigger star for her looks alone. Aside from the historical context and the beauty of the film’s lead, there is not much to recommend here.
(** out of *****)