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us title: A Bay of Blood
italian title: Reazione a catena
year: 1971
director: Mario Bava
composer: Stelvio Cipriani
full details: IMDB
overall score: 70

Bottom Line: Must-See
A quintessential example of the genre.

WARNING: Spoilers Below

score analysis

Mario Bava's A Bay of Blood is known by many alternative titles, but the most interesting one is its original Italian title: Reazione a catena, which translates in English to "Chain Reaction". This title makes more sense once you're able to grasp the somewhat intricate (and a bit convoluted) plot which revolves around three distinct murderers and their reactions to the various events that transpire throughout the film.

But more importantly, the irony of the title is not lost on anyone who understands the connection between A Bay of Blood and the American Slasher film genre. Bava's epic body-count thriller, which is essentially a classic Giallo, provided the spark that inspired a chain reaction of films released in the 1980s. 

All references to slasher films aside, A Bay of Blood is a Giallo that could not have been made by anyone other than Mario Bava. At a time when the genre was heading towards its peak, Bava challenges his own conventions by constructing a Giallo that replaces glitz and glamour with raw and visceral and yet still has the unmistakable Bava look.

Scoring on this was a bit subjective. Other than the four unlucky teens who are killed to ensure their silence, nearly everyone in the film is responsible for murder in some way. And yet none of them seem too interested in discovering who the killer is - likely because they're consumed with their own motives. Because of this, no points are awarded for Amateur Detective and many of the other genre cliches (other than the token J&B bottle) are avoided.

The film requires multiple views to really appreciate its significance withing the genre (and the genre it inspired). Until recently, most video transfers of the film were dark and deterred viewer from the true visual experience of Bava's brilliant cinematography. But recent Blu Ray releases have rectified this problem so there's no better time to experience this film if you haven't already.

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score breakdown

Hint: Hover over a score item for more details
Staples : 45/60
Italian Director10 points
Hidden Identity10 points
Black Gloves5 points
Classic Period (1970 - 1975)5 points
Motivation: Blackmail/Gain5 points
Avoid Capture: Killed by Police or other character5 points
Director > 15 points
Standards : 21/30
Body Count >= 34 points
Flashback Revelation3 points
Italian Location3 points
More than one killer or accomplice4 points
Nude Scene >= 13 points
Suspects >= 34 points
Signatures : 4/10
Animal, Number, Color, or "Death" in title1 point
Chase scene1 point
J&B1 point
Photography/Glamor/Modeling/Art1 point
Total Points : 70/100



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Published: 2013-03-08