director Mario Bava
“Mario Bava’s most influential film,” as A Bay of Blood is known, isn’t necessarily at all his best. I’m still doing my own survey of Bava, which is far from over, but I think I can come to that surmise. Not that it’s bad. It’s good. It’s just not his best is all.
It’s a convoluted plot, which only reveals itself toward the end, about people killing people over a bay to be developed. And inheritance. And a bunch of other reasons? Actually, it’s hard to unravel all of who or why everyone is killed.
But what it has earned its rep on was the way it became a prototype for the “slasher” film. The camera follows the weapon, the camera as the eye of the unseen killer, stalking the nubile young people (and some old people). The spear cam which impales two young lovers going at it and a machete to the face were directly lifted for Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981). So yes, there is that. There is also some grisly gore.
If you ask me, the best thing in the film is the ending, which is extremely perverse and pessimistic. I don’t want to spoil it for you. So stop reading.
It’s on you now. Just as the parents who got together to wipe out the leftover living in this convoluted plot in which almost everyone is complicit somehow (and also murdered somehow), as the parents, who’ve just killed the last of the other characters convene to talk and reconnoiter, we see them get shot down, POV-style. But who could it be?
It’s the kids. The kids kill their parents and then wander off to the lake. Roll credits. Light music. Very ironic, quite dark, interesting.
I was writing earlier about how I need to string my F.W. Murnau films together so that I can develop a clearer opinion, understanding of his work. Bava falls into the same camp for me. Watch more Bava, in closer succession, rather than randomly over many years. Game plan.