A Bay Of Blood: The Granddaddy Of The Slasher Genre

A Bay Of Blood is an Italian giallo film directed by Mario Bava. The plot follows a series of murders taking place around the titular bay.

I enjoyed seeing early slasher elements pop up in this film, I thought it was very interesting to see the genre cross pollination. For example the bed spear scene would later be used in Friday The 13th Part 2, as well as the machete to the face kill. If you are a fan of genre cinema or film history that is a really rewarding part of the film.

I thought keeping us guessing about who the killer was, rather than showing us outright was a smart move as I often had my expectations subverted and the end reveal feels satisfying. This is defiantly less of a traditional giallo film as the mystery of who the killer is feels secondary to the body count, which is suitably creative and gory.

I thought it was well paced and none of the scenes felt too long, which is often a complaint of mine. The acting was also strong and all the performances seemed genuine and real, a lot can be learnt by comparing the performances of the teen ‘victim’ character in films like this and in our modern day slasher films; it is night and day, with a less favourable view going to today’s performers. Have our standards dropped?

Overall, if you’re a fan of slasher cinema then you owe it to yourself to watch this film.


Keeping the killer mysterious

The kills

The pacing and the acting

It’s a big part of horror history


It is a little dry by today’s horror standards


Reviewed by Luke

Blood And Black Lace: Even Killers Need Dress Codes

Blood and Black Lace is a giallo horror film directed by Mario Bava. The plot sees a series of brutal murders involving models at a Roman fashion house, these murders seem to be in aim of recovering a secret laden diary.

So, this film shifts from the standard giallo to some degree we start to see more of an early proto slasher, complete with white face mask, much like the one Michael Myers would come to wear years later.

I thought the mystery of the film was probably it’s strongest part, with the focus often straying towards the killer being a good thing for the film in the long run. The mystery itself was not obvious or overly simplistic, it kept me guessing until the end, but when revealed felt natural and well built towards.

The acting is strong if a little over the top, but that adds to the charm. None of the performances particularly blew me away, but nor did they bring me out of it.

Though I can understand why this film is important, in genre, to me it just felt a bit too similar to other giallo films I have watched recently, they have all started to blend together.

Overall, though I can see it’s important the strong mystery and over the top slightly campy performances are the only selling points the rest of the film feel very by the numbers.


The mystery

The genre importance

The over the top camp


Very by the numbers

The characters feel quite thin


Reviewed by Luke  

Tenebre: Inspiration Comes In Many Forms

Tenebre is an Italian giallo mystery film directed by Dario Argento. The plot follows American novelist Peter Neal (Anthony Franciosa), who while in Rome promoting his new book becomes wrapped up in a string of murders that seems to have taken inspiration from his narrative.

This film sits somewhere in between The Bird With The Crystal Plumage and Cat O’ Nine Tails for me, which is to say it is somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, it is a pleasant middle ground. This is a clear return to his roots for Argento as it is far less supernatural in delivery then this other late 70’s early 80’s films and goes back to ‘classic’ giallo; though it still does have a religious spirit to it.

I thought the pacing was strong and the mystery kept you guessing up until the last minute. The twist is nothing new, it has been done many times before, but I didn’t see it coming here and though familiar it still had the desired effect and I was shocked.

The kills, which are a big part of Argento’s contribution to giallo, where somewhat anti climatic for me, compared to his earlier films. Yes, they were suitably bloody and theatrical, but it felt like he was running out of ideas here.

The acting is quite strong, Franciosa is left to do most of the heavy lifting which he does with ease, whilst also captivating your attention for the entirety.

Overall, good but not quite BWTCP levels. A break may have been needed.


The mystery

The pacing and acting

Back to his roots


Weak supporting cast

The kills lack enthusiasm


Reviewed by Luke

Cat O’ Nine Tails: Argento’s Least Favourite

The Cat O’ Nine Tails is an Italian Giallo film directed by Dario Argento. The plot follows a blind man (Karl Malden), as he works with the police to solve a series of murders.

Of the Giallo films I have seen thus far this is by far the worst.

This film has awful pacing, some of the most egregious I have seen in recent memory. It goes on and on and you lose interest quickly. It has a large amount of bloat and a lot of the film feels like it is trying to kill time until the next reveal which it meanders then eventually gets to.

Unlike other Argento films, you don’t care about the mystery here. The plot feels very average and generic, there is no style to it there is nothing to set it apart from any number of other films. The killer, and the reveal feels very underwhelming especially when compared to Argento’s earlier film, The Bird With the Crystal Plumage.

Finally, the lead is dull and uninteresting. You don’t care about them and they feel very hard to root for. Clearly the film was going for the buddy cop dynamic, or what would later become that, of later noir films as they team the blind man with a generic police officer partner, but they just serve as another character not to care about.

Overall, a weak follow up in the Animal Trilogy and it is fairly obvious why this is Argento’s least favourite of his own films.


I enjoyed the soundtrack


It is hard to watch

You lose interest quickly

You don’t care about the characters

It lacks but style and substance and the killer feels bland