B-Movie Corner: ‘Bay of Blood’ is a film horror movies are modeled after

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Photo submitted by Derek Warren

Mario Bava established himself as a world class and influential horror director prior to the release of “Bay of Blood.” However, many were not ready for the unrestrained and quite bloody hand Bava was prepared to deliver.

Upon the films initial release in 1971 many critics were sickened by the onscreen violence and companies struggled to promote the film. The film was viewed as a flop and spent a great number of years touring the drive-in circuit before being relegated to home video.

However, once on home video the film began to find its intended audience. The film also had become quite influential to horror films, namely those in the slasher genre popular in the ’80s and has become a cult underground classic.

The film opens at night in a bay-side mansion where a wheelchair-bound Countess Federica is attacked and strangled to death by her husband, Filippo Donati in a rather bizarre manner. He secured a noose at a lower level and once around her neck he kicked the wheelchair out from under her.

Once she is dead an assailant suddenly stabs Donati to death and drags his corpse off to the nearby bay. The police find what they believe to be a suicide note written by the Countess, but Donati’s murder goes undiscovered.

This seemingly random opening is explained when real estate agent Frank Ventura and his lover Laura discuss their plot to take possession of the bay. They had arranged with Donati to murder his wife after she refused to sell her house and property to them. However, to finalize their scheme they need Donati’s signature on some legal documents. They have no idea that Donati has been killed.

While this sounds like an episode of Scooby-Doo the film goes into dark territory that Scooby and Shaggy never dared tread. Soon, teenagers show up and break into Ventura’s cottage. They decide to skinny dip in the bay and soon discover Donati’s rotting corpse and, as one of the swimmer runs away in terror, she is killed by an assailant who cuts her throat.

The terror just begins as a killer is loose and is dispatching all the inhabitants in gruesome and violent manners. This is most definitely a violent, gory film and where some may cutaway during the gory scenes, “Bay of Blood” highlights it all.

Many of the scenes in this film are recognizable to horror diehards as they were directly lifted from it and used is popular slasher films in the 1980s.

“Bay of Blood” laid the groundwork for the modern slasher film in the most violent of ways, but its influence is still felt today.