A Bay of Blood
a bay of blood | mario bava | giuseppe zaccariello | filippo ottoni | claudine auger | luigi pistilli | claudio camaso | mystery | thriller | italy | giallo | anna maria rosati | chris avram | leopoldo trieste | laura betti | brigitte skay | isa miranda | paola montenero
Film: A Bay of Blood (Ecologia del delitto)
Director: Mario Bava
Writer: Mario Bava, Giuseppe Zaccariello and Filippo Ottoni
Starring: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli and Claudio Camaso
This was a film I had heard about from podcasts and made it a point that I needed to see in the near future. It did intrigue me to see that this movie helped to spark the slasher craze that hit the United States. This classic comes from Mario Bava, who is one of the best Italian directors in the genre of horror. I’m also now giving this a second viewing as part of the Where to Begin with Giallo series over on the TPUTS Collective. The synopsis for this film is the murder of a wealthy heiress by her husband triggers a series of brutal killings in the surrounding area.
I do have to admit; early on I was confused by the story. It jumps right in and the death of the heiress Countess Federica (Isa Miranda), which I thought was good. It has a creative way to make it look like a suicide. Immediately though, the man who kills her and he is immediately stabbed to death. This is all in the first five minutes.
As the film progressed, it started to make sense and I ended up getting sucked into what is going on. This film isn’t a traditional giallo though. I don’t want to spoil anything here for those that have not seen this film, but I can say that it gets crazy. Everything starts to make a lot of sense as the story unfolds. What is going on is pretty logical, it is just something that would be extremely hard to get away with in this day and age. I do have to admit, I hated what happens at the end. At first I was on board, but there is one last thing that really hurt it for me. I guess it kind of ties back in with the rest of the film, but I just wasn’t a fan.
To go a bit deeper here, everything is surrounding this bay that Federica owned. We know that her husband, Count Filippo Donati (Giovanni Nuvoletti) murdered her. The question then is who killed him? There is a Frank Ventura (Chris Avram) that wants to sell the bay and see him with his mistress of Laura (Anna Maria Rosati). The death of Fliippo draws his daughter, Renata (Claudine Auger) and her husband of Albert (Luigi Pistilli). Part of this is that she wants to see if she will inherit the bay. There’s Simon (Claudio Camaso) who is a local fisherman who is tangled in this along with an eccentric couple of Paul Fosatti (Leopoldo Trieste) and Anna (Laura Betti).
All of this also gets complicated when a group of young adults of Luca (Guido Boccaccini), Bobby (Roberto Bonanni), Brunhilde (Brigitte Skay) and Sylvie (Paoloa Montenero) get tangled in this when they come to the bay. We get some cool deaths as these characters are picked off and trying to piece together who the killer or killers are.
The acting though was good in that I believed all of the characters and their motives for what they were doing. I do think that it was a little bit farfetched that some of these characters would go to the lengths that they did, but what is at stake, it is not out of the realm of possibility. I mean there could be a social commentary here about capitalism and how far greed would take people. I also liked that the traditional gender roles are ignored. There is a woman who convinces her male counterpart to man up to kill someone. She isn’t afraid to kill as well. I thought this was interesting for when the film was made. I thought the acting was pretty strong for this type of movie and it fit for what was needed.
It is pretty impressive that this movie could suck me in again even though I had seen it before. I couldn’t remember who the killer was, but things fell into place for me as I went on. Duncan said something about this giallo was coming at a time when it was at its height and was trying to almost do a last hurray for it. That really makes a lot of sense with what this does in breaking troupes for sure.
The effects for this film is where I’m going to take this next. They were done practically and looked real. After the first couple deaths, I was on board for that alone with how well they were done. The blood, deaths and the effects in general were just on point. There are a couple of times where someone is supposed to be dead, but we can see them breathing though. I will give the film a pass on this as I have seen this in similar films before. The blood might be a bit orange, but I love that about the 70’s. There are also some deaths that slasher movies pulled straight from this. I have to give credit here. Also the cinematography is great, but I expect that from someone like Bava.
The last thing to go over would be the soundtrack. Having seen this previously, I definitely noticed it more now that I wasn’t trying so hard to piece together the story. It isn’t one of favorites or even in my top lists. I do like the theme song though. The sound design was also good in my opinion.
Now with that said, if you are a fan of giallos or slasher films, I would recommend giving this film a viewing. Friday the 13th series actually borrowed two of their deaths straight from this film and I found that to be interesting. Bava did a great job here with just some slight flaws for me. The acting is good for a movie like this in my opinion. The effects were great and I was thoroughly impressed. I think this is a good film and definitely worth a viewing, I will warn you that it is a bit bloody. If you are into that and like the genre, I think you’ll be on board like I was. What I will say though is that this is dubbed. It was common for the Italy for the era, so I would just say keep those in mind coming in here. Regardless though, I personally found this to be a good movie that I just bordering on great.
My Rating: 8.5 out of 10