Bay of Blood

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

At night in her bayside mansion, wheelchair-bound Countess Federica (Isa Miranda) is attacked and strangled to death by her husband Filippo Donati (Giovanni Nuvoletti). In turn, an assailant suddenly stabs him to death. Donati’s corpse is then dragged to the bay. The police find what they believe to be a suicide note written by the Countess. Donati’s murder goes undiscovered.

Real estate agent Frank Ventura (Chris Avram) and his lover Laura (Anna Maria Rosati) plot to take possession of the bay. They had arranged with Donati to murder his wife after she had refused to sell her house and property to them. To finalize their scheme, Ventura needs Donati’s signature on a set of legal documents. They have no idea that Donati has been killed.

Four teenagers break into Ventura’s cottage. Shy Bobby (Robert Bonnani) stays behind in the house while his date Brunhilda (Brigitte Skay) skinny-dips in the bay. Donati’s rotting corpse rises from the water and collides with the nude girl. Terrified, she rushes out of the water — but an unseen assailant hacks into her throat with a billhook, killing her. The killer then goes to the house and slams the billhook deep into Bobby’s face. Bobby and Brunhilda’s two companions, Duke (Guido Boccaccini) and Denise (Paola Rubens), find a bed upstairs and are in the throes of sexual passion when the murderer finds them; a long spear is thrust through them, bloodily killing both at the same time.

Simon (Claudio Volonté), the Countess’ illegitimate son, is the killer. He had earlier killed Donati and is now conspiring with Ventura. Offered a large amount of cash, Simon agrees to sign all the legal documents and turn the land over to Ventura. However, it turns out that the Countess had a daughter, Renata (Claudine Auger), who is resolute about the property becoming hers. A search for the Countess’ will proves unsuccessful, and Ventura, who believes Renata may be the rightful beneficiary, suggests that Simon finish her off.

Renata and her husband, Albert (Luigi Pistilli), arrive and go directly to the house of Paolo Fassati (Leopoldo Trieste), an entomologist who lives on Donati’s grounds. Anna (Laura Betti), Fassati’s wife, tells them that the Countess’ death was due to Donati, and says that Simon will probably end up with the property. Renata, who until that moment had no idea she had a half-brother, immediately makes plans with her husband to murder Simon, who at the same time is planning her demise.

Renata and Albert find Donati’s gruesomely mangled corpse on Simon’s boat, then go to Ventura’s house. Ventura suddenly attacks Renata and tries to kill her, but Renata manages to stab him instead with a butterfly knife. Fassati has witnessed everything, and when he starts to telephone the police, Albert strangles him to death. In order to ensure that there are no additional witnesses, Renata murders Anna by decapitating her with an hudson axe.

Laura arrives, hoping to meet up with Ventura. When Simon discovers that it was she and Ventura who had plotted with Donati to kill his mother, he slowly strangles Laura to death. Seconds later, Simon is murdered by Albert. The wounded Frank suddenly reappears but Albert kills him in a short struggle.

Albert and Renata know that since there are no other living heirs, the property is guaranteed to be theirs, and they go home to wait for the announcement of their inheritance. Their own children are at the front door waiting for them with a shotgun, and they shoot their parents to death (thinking they are playing dead). The young boy and girl gleefully jump over the corpses and rush outside to play.

REVIEW:

This afternoon, we venture into obscure horror territory with Bay of Blood. I wonder who out there has actually heard of this because, before a couple of weeks ago when I heard someone talking about it, I had no clue it even existed. Now that I’ve watched it, do I wish I could forget about its existence? Only one way to find out!

What is this about?

When a man murders his heiress wife, her relatives set out to narrow the field of inheritors by going on a killing spree.

What did I like?

Short and sweet. I’m no horror fan by any stretch of the imagination, so I wasn’t really that invested in this film from the onset. That being said, I am glad that it was short, sweet, and to the point, rather than dragging on for days a story that no one cares about. The fact is that this is a slasher flick and all people want to see is the death toll.

Violent murder. Speaking of the death toll, for a film made in the early 70s, the level of violence is astounding. I dare say that the deaths rival those of today’s so-called “torture porn” franchises like Saw, Hostel, and the like. Does that mean I felt this was too much? Hardly, when the murders happened, I was ever so glad! It was a shot in the arm that this film needed. These murders are one of the highlights of the picture, rest assured of that, dear readers.

What didn’t I like?

Cohesiveness. Perhaps one of the most common complaints I have in my reviews is how they lose me. Part of that is just my ADHD, but the majority is on these films that don’t do or say anything that is worthwhile. A story that captures the audience and keeps them glues to their seat is all I ask, especially with horror. It makes the scares much more effective. As you can guess, this film did not heed this warning and just flounders around with some kind of plot that I couldn’t tell you what happened if my life depended on it and the aforementioned murders. As bad as this is to say, the one time I really sat up was when Brigitte Skay’s character went skinny dipping.

Gun control. Allow me a minute to get on my soapbox. One of the hot button topics of the last year or two has been gun control, what with all the shootings and whatnot. Hell, on Friday at one of the area high schools, some kid took a gun to school because “he didn’t like the teacher’s face!” We’ve seen what happens when these guns don’t get detected. This brings me to the end of the film. Thinking they’re playing an innocent game, the kids shoot their parents with a shotgun and think they are playing dead. Do I really need to say what I think of this? The film makes it seem as if this was meant to end on a comic relief moment and at this point in history it may have worked as such. Looking at it through today’s eyes, though, it doesn’t work that way.

Slasher flick. It is my understanding that this is a precursor to the slasher flick that were such a big thing in the 80s and early 90s. Rumor has it that some footage was used in the original Friday the 13th. If this is all true, then more power to this film. For me, though, I didn’t really feel the same sense of fear that I do when I watch Jason stalk his prey or the sheer terror knowing that Freddy Kreuger is out there and could kill you in your dreams. These are just two reactions that I wasn’t expecting to have, but I was thinking there would be something that could be akin to it. Given that there isn’t a specific murderer behind the killings, it makes sense. I still would have liked to have had that sense of fear and dread that comes with watching a good slasher flick.

Final verdict on Bay of Blood? Well, it does live up to the title. That bay is sure to run red with the blood of everyone that dies in the film. Is that enough to warrant recommending this to someone? No, not by a longshot. As a matter of fact, I will say that this is a film that you are better off doing something.

2 out of 5 stars

 

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