original title: Reazione a Catena
aka: Carnage, Blood Bath, Chain Reaction, The Antecedent, The Last House on the Left 2, Twitch of the Death Nerve, Ecology of a Crime
Director: Mario Bava
Starring: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Carnaso, Anna Maria Rosati, Chris Avram
13 Characters, 13 Murders
Countess Federica owns what used to be a very quiet and beautiful little bay, but one night she is brutally murdered and her body is set up to make it look like a suicide. In a strange turn of events, only a few minutes after the first murder, the murderer himself is stabbed to death by another bloodthirsty killer.
This leaves the beautiful bay open for money hungry vultures take ownership over it, including the real estate agent Frank and his lovely girlfriend Laura. They are not the only one heading out to the bay though, a group of young teenagers are going out there simply to just have fun… but the killer is still active and it doesn’t take long before the bay is filled with blood.
Bay of Blood, Twitch of the Death Nerve and about ten other titles. This Mario Bava film is a fun mixture between the Italian giallo films of the 60’s and the upcoming slashers that would dominate the American horror market in the early 80’s. The mystery part of the film is very gialloish while the way the murders are done predates what would be the normal way to kill characters off in slasher films. In that regards it is a film that is ahead of its time and it has an obvious influence on the slasher genre, even having a murder sequence ripped directly off in Friday the 13th Part 2.
It is quite a brutal little film with plenty of murders, gore and even some nudity. As is common with the movies from Bava, there is some brilliant scenes that are shot nearly perfect and even though this is far from his most stylish film, it does show that it is done by someone with experience and knowledge on how to make scenes come to life.
The mystery of the film and the character development are sadly lacking though. I frankly didn’t care much about what was going on storywise in this film. It is also a low budget feature and it doesn’t use the few locations that it has available all that well. The script, which Bava is also credited as a writer on together with Giuseppe Zaccariello and Filippo Ottoni, could really have used some extra work and that does bring the film down. It does have a fun twist at the end though that I seem to enjoy more and more for each time I watch this film.
Bay of Blood is not Mario Bava’s finer work, but it is a fun little slasher film that would go on the become quite influential on the sub genre several years after its release. It is still of course a must see for fans of Bava and I think fans of both slasher films and giallo will find enough to enjoy in this one to make it worth a watch.