Snapshot: A Bay of Blood (1971)

Mario Bava’s 1971 giallo is essentially the grandfather of the slasher movie sub-genre. The tropes are all here: crazy killer(s) with a knack for unique and twisted murders, beautiful naive young people frolicking about, but A Bay of Blood (as its known here in the U.S.) has a lot more going for it than that, namely Bava himself. Despite its B-rate aesthetics, the film oozes style, and Bava the cinematographer often makes his images of horror not only frightening, but compelling. This is where the sex and death connections of the slasher picture all began, but Bay of Blood is also interesting in the way its multiple killers are opposed to one another – one motivated by trauma, the other by greed, knocking off various would-be inheritors to the Bay’s estate one by one. The dialogue dubbing is terrible, the acting is no good either (special shout out here for Claudine Auger, who played the “Bond girl” in 1965’s Thunderball), and the production value is decidedly B-rate, but Bay of Blood is a visually interesting and gruesome look at greed and also at Death’s wicked sense of humor.


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