A vengeful witch and her fiendish servant return from the grave and begin a bloody campaign to possess the body of the witch's beautiful look-alike descendant, with only the girl's brother and a handsome doctor standing in her way.
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 in a dilapidated building on the estate.Written by
Ed Sutton <email@example.com>
The film's low budget resulted in Mario Bava being his own cinematographer. He had to utilize a simple child's wagon for the film's many tracking shots. See more »
The Count is stabbed repeatedly in his back and then he falls on his back and dies. When the killer is dragging him away, there should be a blood trail leading from The Countess to the door. See more »
An elderly heiress is killed by her husband who wants control of her fortunes. What ensues is an all-out massacre.
From legendary director Mario Bava (who doubles as cinematographer) and legendary horror screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti comes a film that essentially everyone (including Sacchetti himself) accepts as the original slasher film (now fondly referred to as the grandfather of the modern slasher film), and being a precursor to "Friday the 13th".
Some people have given "Black Christmas" credit for being the start of it all, and it does have more of the modern look, but "Bay" has so many stylistic flourishes and plot similarities that it has to be given credit. I also believe "Blood and Lace" is under-appreciated in this regard, though I suppose "Bay of Blood" is the more influential.
Aside from the obvious concept of kids going into the woods and dying, we have some of the classic slasher themes: camera from the killer's point of view behind a tree, the double impalement of a couple making love. Bava was way ahead of the curve with this film, despite claims from Luca Palmerini that it is "predictable" or Jim Harper's calling it "blackly humorous". (Harper also points out the "flimsy story", but seems to be a fan of the film overall and recognizes its importance.)
As usual, the biggest critic is Howard Maxford (who never ceases to amaze me how he got a gig as a horror critic when he seems to hate them all). He tries to be complimentary by saying the film has "occasional pretensions to style", but has the overall opinion that Bava's work is "hard to sit through". Sure, it was not the most exciting film in the world, but if Maxford cannot relax for less than 90 minutes, he should not be a film reviewer.
I think the opening with the old woman in the wheelchair being hung had plenty of style and called to mind the later works of Argento (by which I mean the middle of his career, the late 1970s). Argento was allegedly such a fan of this film that he stole a copy from a theater. That would not surprise me.
While the film as a whole has bland moments and your basic murder shots, this scene seals it for me as making the film more worthy of respect... Bava's influence on others is obvious (the entire Italian horror subgenre more or less owes its existence to his films), but I think the finer points are often overlooked. Do not overlook this film.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this