Twitch Of The Death Nerve/Review
From The Grindhouse Cinema Database
In many ways A Bay of Blood (aka Twitch of the Death Nerve) can be seen as the first slasher movie, while the years prior to the release of Bay of Blood there were other movies that inspired many slasher movies and you can even see the influence in Mario Bava's Blood and Black Lace, but here with Bay of Blood there are a lot more slasher elements than most Gialli, which already have some to begin with. A lot of the clichés that would later become very common with slasher flicks are seen in Bay of Blood.
This is a very interesting Giallo where pretty much every character is some how involved with murder. There really aren't any innocent characters. But the problem is the concept while excellent it isn't really executed that entirely well. I do think Bay of Blood is a classic of the genre, but as classic as it is, it's also very flawed.
The screenplay by Mario Bava, Filippo Ottoni & Giuseppe Zaccariello is rather weak. The characters really lack any depth and it's kinda hard to tell them a part. There is actually a lot of plot here. Everybody is some how tied into the murders and it's hard to keep track of all the plot twists. Bay of Blood is a little complicated to follow. It's not that the plot is complicated it's just the writing is weak. There are many ideas, but they are sort of poorly delivered.
I'm as big a fan as you will find of Italian horror flicks, but in general it's not about the writing. I have seen many Italian horror flicks that are very well written, but normally it's about the look and murder scenes rather than a coherent plot.
As a director Mario Bava is able to keep the pace moving pretty good for the most part. Bava is a great director, but his storytelling skills might be a little weak. There is more to directing than just telling a story, granted that is the most important aspect, but there is more and Bava is able to create a great visually stunning movie with a lot of tension. While I don't think Bay of Blood is his strongest picture I do think it might be his most enjoyable.
The first half moves rather quickly with about 6 murders in a 40-minute span; but after that the pacing is a bit uneven mainly due to the amount of plot twists. Bay of Blood isn't the first Giallo, but you can see the impact this movie made on filmmakers like Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci. The biggest impact Bay of Blood made was on Friday the 13th and it's first sequel. The setting is similar, plus the murder scenes are a lot a like. It's very clear where the makers of the first two Friday The 13th movies got their ideas from with the murder scenes.
As I stated there were other Gialli before this as well as other movies that inspired the slasher flick, but this was one of the first if not the first to feature characters we would later see in countless slasher flicks. There's a subplot involving 4 characters, two guys and two girls. They are young and looking to party, but meet rather grisly ends.
The biggest problem with Bay of Blood is the writing; the characters lack depth and the writing wasn't strong enough for all these plot twists, and the 2nd half can have some boring moments, but as a whole Bay of Blood really is a well done movie. Despite the flaws Bay of Blood works well; this is also possibly the first body count film, visually the movie looks amazing and the kill scenes are excellent. There is some decent gore, but remember this is 1971, gore flicks were still sort of new and the Make Up F/X artists were still learning their craft, but you get a double impalement, a cleaver to the face, slit throats and even a decapitation.
The ending has been described as idiotic by some and brilliant by others. One thing I can say is the twist is something you would never see coming. As idiotic as it is, it's also really brilliant.
Reviewed by Biohazard