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Monday, September 9, 2013

A Bay of Blood (Blu-ray) - Friday the 13th Part 0.0

There's a reason I run an Italian Horror Week each July. It's because of movies like A Bay of Blood aka Bay of Blood aka Twitch of the Death Nerve (one of the best names in the history of horror). I remember Bay of Blood from the days of bootleg catalog gold where it was referred to under one of its other US release titles, Last House on the Left Part 2. While I never did indulge in the bootleg copy under that rather sensationalistic name, I remember it well to this day and not simply because its director, Mario Bava, helped to create a genre and a movement. I remember it best because it gave Sean Cunningham and Steve Miner some money in their pockets with a couple films called Friday the 13th and Friday the 13th Part II. The good news is that you no longer have to watch cheap copies with faded cover art on VHS. The digital age and Kino Lorber have seen to giving us a beautiful print of A Bay of Blood on Blu-ray.

Synsopsis (from Kino):

When crippled Countess Federica is murdered at her isolated mansion, a gruesome battle ensues to secure the rights to her valuable property around the bay. Everyone, from illegitimate children to shady real estate agents, stakes a claim, only to be killed in increasingly bizarre ways, from simple shootings to impalement by fishing spear.
Trailer:

Not from the Kino release

This movie looks far superior to some of the earlier DVD releases of the picture though the Kino DVD will be good for you if you haven't made the jump to Blu.  I have enjoyed Bay of Blood in the past from a stylistic perspective, but this is clearly an excellent master, carefully restored with attention to preserving it in line with the period in which it was shot. Do not fear this Blu-ray release. I know it may come as a shock, but there are fans of a certain age who reject the quality of that this hi-definition format can afford a release based on their initial personal experience with a film. Let's move forward. There was a time when you couldn't get releases like this in country, but we've come along way.

This release also features the Italian edition featuring about a minute of additional footage though at the price that it isn't fully restored, is in Italian and thus has subtitles. This puts some viewers off, but fans of the red stuff need apply. A Bay of Blood is known for its influential creative kills with a superior share of red Crayola blood. Just look at the name if you have any questions as to how much blood. This is no misnomer. The series of kills featured in this movie have become iconic though not necessarily at the hands of Bava's work, at least Bava's influence continues to inspire horror fans.

My first Italian Horror Week featured an article by Nathan Hamilton that detailed the similarities between Friday the 13th and its sequel and A Bay of Blood. Nathan went through and shot for shot compared the feature films. I dubbed this series of article Bava Shot First, a play on the Han Shot First meme surrounding the Star Wars showdown between Greedo and Han Solo. What Mario Bava created in 1971 became the genre-generating classic Friday the 13th. Intentionally or not and for the betterment of the horror genre.

This disc is a healthy upgrade from previous DVD releases, and while light on special features, will be an excellent way to get into the work of Mario Bava. You can stop by Kino Lorber and view their Mario Bava Collection. You can pick up this release at DiabolikDVD.

Friday the 13th is this Friday. Maybe celebrate with a different tale that has strong ties to our unofficial horror holiday.

-Dr. TERROR

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