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Review: A Bay of Blood

Well, it must be snowing in Hell, because I actually had enough time and energy to watch a movie after work tonight. Sticking with my recent Halloween theme, I went with Mario Bava’s A Bay of Blood, the missing link between giallo and the modern slasher. The film’s opening moments play as a sly, tongue-in-cheek deconstruction of the former: an unseen, black-gloved murderer brutally strangles an old woman; then, once the grisly deed is done… the camera pulls back, revealing the perpetrator’s face without much fanfare. From there, the narrative ventures closer to the territory of the latter—though because this is such a seminal work in the genre, many of the now-common tropes are conspicuously absent. It lacks, for example, an iconic monster analogous to Freddy Krueger, Jason Voorhees, or Michael Myers; instead, we get a veritable parade killers, all driven by greed (the most mundane of motivations). The result is a strange hybrid, neither as technically and formally precise as Bava’s own earlier, Hitchcock-inspired efforts, nor as imaginative in its bloodshed as its eventual imitators. Still, it remains valuable for its historical significance.

[Originally written October 24, 2018.]

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