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Film / A Bay of Blood

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A Bay of Blood, AKA Twitch of the Death Nerve, is a 1971 horror film by Mario Bava. Designed as a comeback film after he lost his distribution deal with American International Pictures, Bava effectively created a film that has served as the blueprint for the Bodycount/Slasher genre of horror, with many of its sequences copied by other horror films (most notably Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part 2).

The film's plot is a convoluted "Who Done It", as people begin dying left and right during the course of a long weekend at the lakeside home of an elderly heiress. There are multiple murderers at work, as a slew of shady characters (and a quartet of sex-obsessed teens) end up dying in horrific fashion. There is also a surprise ending that will shock you...


This film provides examples of:

  • Anyone Can Die: And does.
  • Asshole Victim: Pretty much everyone who dies except for the heiress, the teenagers, and possibly the entomologist and his wife.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Simon, Renata, Albert, Frank, and Laura are all the killers in the main plot, while Count Donati kickstarts the plot by killing his wife in the prologue (then promptly being offed himself).
  • Death by Sex: Two kids. Impaled. But in this one the girl is on top.
  • Dub Name Change: The English version alters many of the characters' names to sound more "Anglicized":
    • Alberto -> Albert
    • Simone -> Simon
    • Paolo -> Paul
    • Franco -> Frank
    • Louise -> Brunhilde
    • Sylvie -> Denise
    • Luca -> Duke
    • Roberto -> Bobby
  • Don't Go in the Woods: Or swimming in the bay. Or in the cabin nearby. Or... anywhere, really. Just drive away.
  • Eldritch Location: Similar to other offerings in the genre that the film helped inspire, the bay and its environs seem to have a malevolent, murderous influence on people, though this falls into the Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane category.
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  • Extremely Short Timespan: The majority of the action unfolds over a single day. It is not clear how much time elapses between the Contessa's death and the start of the main action, but it does not seem to be more than a few days.
  • Gardening-Variety Weapon: Simon uses a billhook as his primary weapon for murdering people.
  • Gorn: Comfortably Bava's goriest film which sickened audiences back in the day but is now seen as the forefather of the slasher genre.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Averted. The kills are lovingly photographed in detail.
  • Greed: The underlying motivation which kills literally.
  • He Knows Too Much: The reason the teenagers are killed is because one stumbled upon Donati's body in the bay, and the entomologist and his wife are killed by Albert and Renata because the former saw them kill Frank.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: After Simon kills the secretary for the death of his mother, the heiress, it's revealed that he killed all the teenagers for finding Donati's body and made a deal to sell the bay in order to keep it a secret. He seems to show some remorse for his part in all this but is immediately killed by Albert.
  • Hooks and Crooks: One character gets killed when a billhook catches her throat.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Renata and Albert end up being killed when their son shoots them with a double-barreled shotgun, without realizing that they are dead for real.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: The two boffing kids and Simon.
  • Kill 'Em All: Barring the children, everyone is dead at the end.
  • The Killer Becomes the Killed: The Count, Simon, Frank and his lover, and the greedy parents in the finale.
  • Mind Screw: The ending. And most of the movie.
  • Peek-a-Boo Corpse:
    • The Count to one of the teen girls. She doesn't last long after it, though.
    • Later combined with Mirror Scare when Renata goes to bathroom, puts on the light and sees the pile of corpses behind her from the mirror.
  • The Place: A Bay of Blood
  • The X of Y: A Bay of Blood
  • Youth Is Wasted on the Dumb: Some can say this of the four young people who stop for a quick death.

Alternative Title(s): Reazione A Catena


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