Jul 1, 2010

Posted in European Films, Films Categories, Italy, James, Reviewers

Reazione A Catena AKA Twitch of the Death Nerve/Bay of Blood (1971)

Reazione A Catena AKA Twitch of the Death Nerve/Bay of Blood (1971)

Directed by the uncomparable Mario Bava, who was also the Director of Photography on this film, Twitch of the Death Nerve is easily considered one of the first slasher films and the inspiration for the Friday the 13th franchise. Even some of the murders in Twitch are similar to some of the killings in the first few Friday the 13th films.

Thirteen characters, thirteen deaths . . . this film is about greed. Countess Federica Donati (Isa Miranda) is brutally killed by her husband. No more than a few minutes go by and the Countess’s husband Count Filippo Donati (Giovanni Nuvoletti) is stabbed to death. This film has had many titles. My favorite being Twitch of the Death Nerve but Bay of Blood seems to be more logical being that the bay is what this film is all about.

Two characters want to buy the bay from the Countess but she refuses so they get a pact together, convincing the Countess’s husband to kill her and make it look like suicide. Everybody wants the bay as it is a prime piece of real estate. No one wanting to share, they decide that murder is the best decision. The plot gets a little confusing due to the many red-herrings. It definitely has more of a plot than most slasher films with a substantial amount of blood. There is Simon the illegitimate son of the Countess who could inherit the bay. There is the daughter who will do anything, even kill anyone in her way, to make sure she is the one who inherits the bay. Basically everyone is looking to reduce the amount of people in their way to getting the bay.

It has elements of gialli and the modern slasher film. It is hard to find a slasher film that does not owe something to Bay of Blood. I would call this the first body count film save maybe for Bava’s own Blood and Black Lace.

You’ve got a bay, not unlike a lake. You’ve got kids looking to party. You’ve got gore.

The end will either make you angry or very happy.

The version I am using is the Image widescreen uncut version. Special features include a theatrical trailer, photo and poster gallery, director filmography, radio spots. Most important is the Mario Bava biography and liner notes which are awesome by Tim Lucas, the leading authority on Mario Bava. Also, there is a “Murder Menu” which allows you to jump between murders.

I love this film. I don’t think it his best, but I love it. While the special features are great and it is the uncut version, I am disappointed with the picture but mostly I am disappointed in the audio. It is very difficult to hear a lot of what people were saying. I had to turn the volume up as far as it would go, which is normally so load it would be unbearable. I still had trouble with some parts. And then all of a sudden it would get really load. Even having the volume up so much it was hard to follow all the plots.

I would definitely would recommend this film but I would try to find a different print. I know it is also available as a part of The Bava Box Set, Vol. 2.

By James

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