Slashers & Serial Killers In Review : Bay Of Blood (1971)
Fans of Bava’s films know they are more about style than plot. The revolutionary use of color and framing create mood and atmosphere that leave a deep impression. A BAY OF BLOOD is loose and sometimes confusing, but it set the tone for many important films to come after it. The main film is, of course, Sean Cunningham’s FRIDAY THE 13th.
A BAY OF BLOOD centers around the inhabitants of a small bay. Countess Frida, (Isa Miranda,) is murdered by her husband, who is then himself murdered. The murders set off a chaotic chain of events as neighbors and family members fight and back stab each other for control of the bay. Among them is Simon, (Claudio Camaso,) the Countess’s illegitimate son; Renata (Claudine Auger), his step sister, and her husband Albert (Luigi Pistilli); Frank (Chris Avram,) a greedy businessman and his secretary Laura (Anna Maria Rosati), and card reader Anna (Laura Betti), spreading doom and gloom with her insect loving husband. There is also a side story of two young couples camping out in one of the empty houses and falling prey to the killer. The ending involving Renata and Albert’s children also makes no real sense.
FRIDAY THE 13th borrows a lot stylistically from A BAY OF BLOOD. There are a lot of shots of the lake with heightened sounds of birds and insects. Anna makes dire predictions of death with her tarot cards, and one of the characters in FRIDAY THE 13th talks about dreaming of blood. The most interesting thing is Simon walking around with a machete in a white sweater reminiscent of Mrs. Vorhees at the end of FRIDAY THE 13th. In another scene, Simon is walking along the dock, exhausted, after fending off an attack, and the music playing is similar to that at the end of FRIDAY THE 13th when Alice (Adrienne King) is floating along in the boat before being taken down by Jason.
Mario Bava’s films are important not only for themselves, but as influence and inspiration for the craft even today. They show that lighting and angle are important tools in helping tell the story.
Kim McDonald is a contributing writer on Machine Mean, having reviewed for us during last year’s Fright Fest series, The Thing (1982). And this year’s Creature Features series. Kim lives in Charleston and loves all things horror, especially foreign horror. Kim also publishes reviews for LOUD GREEN BIRD, tackling some of horror’s greatest treasures, giving readers a deeper retrospective and often introspective on films like “The Iron Rose,” “Baskin,” “The Conjuring 2,” “The Witch,” and much more. As you can see, she is no stranger to the art of movie reviews. You can follow Kim @dixiefairy on Twitter and you can follow her blog, Fairy Musings, here.
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