An elderly heiress is killed by her husband who wants control of her fortunes. What ensues is an all-out murder spree, as relatives and friends attempt to reduce the inheritance playing field—complicated by some teenagers who decide to camp out for fun in a dilapidated building on the estate.
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The first distillation of everything that exploitation slashers would be known for, A Bay of Blood was first, but it's akin to the lesser of the form, eschewing tension and sustained suspense for gory kills. A lack of a focus on character dimension also makes it feel detached and unfocused. It may be one of the few Mario Bava films that's style still prominent today, but oddly, it's one of the master's weaker works.
An aggressively stylized and unembarrassed-to-be-dumb cavalcade of murder and sleaze, A Bay of Blood strikes me as having been made w/ both love and contempt for the market slot into which it knowingly slithers. This is pure cinema of exploitation, a category which primarily denotes a kind of mercantile concern. Specialized entertainment for the not-particularly-uniquely sick. Opened the freakin' floodgates.
The first 8 minutes are a perfect example for Bava's art: The panorama views around the bay, the circling of the camera, the counterpoint of other movements like the wheelchair, the use of music to build up a climax and its abrupt ending with the first murder, than the introduction of moments of the uncanny (e.g. with sounds) leading to the second murder. And there are some great match cuts throughout the film.
[Spoilers] A thriller masquerading as a horror flick, its non-sequitur nods towards the iconic, burgeoning lore of the slasher genre it helped to create (e.g., killer children, randy teens roaming through the wilderness) distract from a dull cast of repellent, double-crossing adult characters.
It's a giallo yes but it's already not a giallo anymore because it lacks two elements indissociable from this peculiar genre: a police investigation and a hero with whom audience could identify. The mother of Hollywood slashers. Highly recommended.
Surprisingly , i kinda stuck with this genre from now on. Watching this kind of genre for the first time were really brought me a rare pleasure that only can be found from another stuff like this. Giallissimo !