Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Day 8: Bay Of Blood

Day 8 of #10daysofjezoween! As enjoyable as this has been, I’m looking forward to the end. Being forced to watch (and later write about) a movie every single day is kind of exhausting. I just want to watch reruns of What Not to Wear! Anyway, our movie for today is *Bay of Blood* a 1971 Mario Bava movie that is as influential as it is disgusting.

Plot? Eh, who cares. A family is trying to kill off anyone that stands in the way of their inheritance in as gruesome and bloody a way as possible. Look, I know that everyone likes to consider Black Christmas (1974) or even Texas Chainsaw Massacre (’74) to be the great grandfathers of the slasher films but as South Park would say “Bava did it!” Well, I would extend that to most of the Italian schlockmasters, Bava, Argento, Fulci, etc. Anything that was done in American Horror Cinema was done by the Italians years or even decades before. This predates the aforementioned Black Christmas and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. It also predates Halloween, Friday the 13th, I Spit on Your Grave, Cannibal Holocaust, and yes, even Last House on the Left. Those that bemoan the recent trend of so called “torture p**n” would do well to remember that the Italians have been produced this for FORTY YEARS. Not that it excuses this, but it’s by no means a recent phenomenon or sign of the times or evidence of social decay, or anything along those lines.

This movie, above any other, I would probably classify as such though I am loathe to use that term. It is intensely violent, gory, and bloody. That being said the gore is well executed, Oscar winner Carlo Rambaldi (Um, ever heard of Alien? Yeah) can be thanked for that (heh), the direction is stylish and striking, and the overall production is relatively top notch. There are some beautifully well done shots and the landscape itself is quite lovely to look at. This is probably the most influential and important movie in the slasher genre. It kicked start the 1980s trend of teen horror films and even still today 45 years later it still manages to inspire and demand homage. Friday the 13th, Part 2 directed cribbed at least two death scenes nearly shot for shot. I Know What You Did Last Summer? Cribbed it.

Another interesting thing to note that while this movie was almost exclusively ABOUT the death scenes (13 in all) in the previous year Bava made 5 Dolls for an August Moon which is a murder mystery film without any actual murders witnessed. An interesting juxtaposition when viewed together. That being said I would recommend this movie to almost no one. It’s hugely influential and important to the genre but it’s also difficult to watch. It’s as brutal as it is beautiful and the score is effective and haunting but it’s also a hard pill to swallow. This is for (heh) die hard fans only. Those with sensitive constitutions should stay away. I give it 4.3 butts out of 5. The point 3 is because someone hacked away most of the butt so you’re just left with a tiny, bloody chunk.


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