Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Edward Mannix Week: A Bay of Blood

Welcome back readers if I have any left after the cannibal/zombie showdown film of Zombie Holocaust. Trust me, I suffer its scars more than you. Unless you went out and saw it. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT??!!!! Anywho, hows about a scary Italian horror movie? Okay stop running, it is not Bruno Mattei. I'm talking the master of the Giallo movies, the cream of the crop of scare, the building blocks that made Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci want to be directors. The one and only Mario Bava (Hercules in the Haunted World, Black Sunday, Evil Eye, Blood and Black Lace, Kill Baby, Kill, Danger: Diabolik, Blood Brides, Baron Blood, The House of Exorcism and Beyond the Door II). This is A Bay of Blood a.k.a. Twitch of the Death Nerve, The Last House on the Left Part II, The Antecendent, Bay of Blood, Bloodbath, Blood Bath, Ecology of a Crime, Chain Reaction and Bloodbath Bay of Death.

Robert Evans Italiano!

This film is better known by Twitch of the Death Nerve in the states but that's a bunch of savages that know no better. Pity them. No offense fellow Americans but A Bay of Blood just sounds soooOoO much better a title. Twitch of the Death Nerve sounds like an organ harvesting film.

Our macabre tale opens with some 360 pans and a view of the lake house. Photo phobics, it wasn't bad tracking like an Uwe Boll flick. You will be alright. A spinster wealthy wife (Isa Miranda of Everybody's Woman, The Secret of Helene Marimon, Abandoned, A kiss for a Killer, When Stangers Meet, Compact and The Avengers TV series) has met her end of days violently. The reason? Well it was either too many bedpan changing or the sick amount of money she was worth.

Hangin' out. Hangin' out with my homies..Gonna have ourselves a party.

Won't lie to you, her "suicide" is creepy from the gag for air, to her body swaying limply from hanging. With a suicide note planted by her dearly grieving husband, a mysterious switchblade is jabbed into is back by person unknown. Hmm guess this is a lot of dough offhand.

Soon family members, daughter Renata (Claudine Auger of Thunderball, Yoyo, Black Belly of the Tarantula, The Devil's Lieutenant, Secret Places, The Repenter and Love of a Woman) and her husband Albert (Luigi Pistilli of For a Few Dollars More, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The Great Silence, Illustrious Corpses, Antonio Gramsci: The Days of Prison and Luigi Ganna detective) start poking around the lakehouse trying to make heads or tails of Renata's late mother's suicide and where has her father gone off too. A real estate agent Frank (Chris Avram of Time to Live, The Rage Within, Sentence of God, So Sweet, So Dead, Cuore, Enter the Devil, Voodoo Sexy and Emanuelle in Bangkok) is hoping to charm and swarm his way into Renata's heart for the signature on the house for some cool breezy cash for land development. He can't miss, right?

And I am told I never put up nudity. Pshaw!

Two couples zip off around the lake in what looks like Jon Pertwee's Bessie to frolic and be teens/twenty somethings...only they seemed to have by one.

With a bit of sleuthing, Renata seems to feel as though there may be more people involved for the land and money of her mother's. She even starts questioning whether Albert didn't have a hand in it. With this amount of dough on the table, everyone and anyone is a suspect.

Will these murders be solved? Are there still more to come? Who is to blame?

Worry not readers as Edward Mannix graces us with his insidious voice as Albert's English dubbing. Thought I forgot, didn't you? WELL ANSWER ME!!!

A quick bit of trivia, this film has had an impact on Friday the 13th Part 1 and 2 as two of the murders in it are lifted and almost shot for shot exact as homage. Hell even the locations where the murders take place are so similar it is eerie as hell.

The shooting locations had no woods to speak of, so Bava waved several different tree branches in front of the cameras to give the illusion of a run or romp through the woods. According to Laura Betti, it looked so silly to view this, the cast and crew had a hard time not laughing at the simple yet brilliant solution to a lack of woods in the area. Yeah a dude waving sticks at the camera would have made me chuckle too. Hell the tracking shots are so steady and smooth, you would swear they are dolly tracked but no. Turns out Bava with years experience in cinematography shot these amazing images with...get this. A frigging kid's wagon. Yeah the little red wagon saved the day. The camera was mounted on a pole, surrounded by sandbags to reduce any wiggle and just rolled along. Awesome right?

Because of its intensity, unearthly vibes, good story presentation and decent casting a lot of folks consider this a precursor to the slasher genre and I am inclined to agree. I mean Black Christmas, The Town that Dreaded Sundown and even Halloween have to tip their hats to their grandfather of macabre. Still love Last House on the Left Part II title considering Craven released the original a year after this flick but who needs nutty things like timelines and consistency?

Hold me closer, Tito Fuentes...