OR: Reazione a catena / A Bay of Blood / A Mansão da Morte / Antefatto – Ecologia del delitto / Bahía de sangre / Banho de Sangue / Bloodbath / Bloodbath Bay of Death / Blutrausch des Teufels / Carnage / Chain Reaction / Chimidoro no irie / Den blodige bugt / E così imparano a fare i cattivi / Ecology of a Crime International / Im Blutrausch des Satans / Kanli körfez / Kravgi tromou / La baie sanglante / O Sexo na Sua Forma Mais Violenta / O krikos ton eglimaton / Sfagi sto akrogiali tis idonis / The Antecedent / The Last House on the Left, Part II / To spiti me ta alysidota eglimata / Twitch of the Death Nerve as it was also know. (Inofficially this film reigns supreme as The Nasty with the most alternative titles. A sure sign of the detachment of the creator from the final product, if ever one were needed.)
[Early Sunday morning.
Sat in living room, staring at the TV, eating cereal.
A housemate’s girlfriend comes in, awake long before he is]
“What are you watching?”
“Oh just some half-crappy horror film. Video nasty, banned in the 80’s, and stuff.”
“What’s it about”
“Well, it’s Italian, women run around half naked and get murdered horribly.”
“A bit, well a bit like this”
“And lots of red. Lots and lots of BRIGHT red.”
“This isn’t going to end well.”
“No, oh dear, that’s unfortunate.”
“Well that would spoil anyone’s day, wouldn’t it.”
“Why is it SO red?”
“Possibly because it’s shot on really cheap film stock. Decays very quickly, the colour balance goes a bit crazy. It is pretty colourful, now you mention it.”
“Is there any sort of story to this, or does it just..?”
“An old man and a woman at the beginning, one kills the other, then he dies, something about a will, something about some plans regarding a property development.”
[A bedroom scene on screen. From the perspective of the murderous voyeur we see the amorous couple get impaled, both at once, with a single spear.]
“Well, that’s symbolic, I suppose.”
Which neatly surmises a horror film which indeed revolves around a land dispute. The more inane the conflict, the more inventive the gore we demand.
In a film offensive enough to spook arch Dracula-himself, Sir Christopher Lee, from the premiere obviously warrants some note, but a sneaking suspicious creeps that maybe he snuck out not for reasons of common decency, but rather out of sheer boredom. The cut, thrust, slash and jab of the film is an incessant butchery of barely established characters for even weaker reasons. The critic might scoff that this is the very core of any ten-penny horror film, but a synopsis does not a film make, and there is scant meat on these very gory bones.
To even a passing viewer, such as the housemate’s other half, the gore is absurd to a point beyond the horrific. It doesn’t even stretch to a level of comedy value, with the result effect being much a kin to seeing someone drop a slice of buttered toast on the floor: ‘Oh dear, what a mess, nevermind…’
A single scene of a gangrened corpse being revealed beneath a similarly green tinged octopus was enough to momentarily put me off the Rice Crispies®, but that was more personal shudder than anything else. Not, should it be clear, that I have anything against cephalopods: some of my best friends are cephalopods. It’s just a bit too ick, in a way the rest of the film just isn’t, and more’s the shame for that.
A demented pull-back-and-reveal ending straight out of left-field is buoyed by an equally demented and deliriously upbeat closing number featuring the budget horror film staple I’m growing to love: the demented bongo solo. A cheery conclusion to a dreary dredge of a film. Save yourself some time and take greater excitement and trepidation out of the film’s quite superb original UK VHS cover, than you would in the sum total of the film.
[The above cover is by way of the superb Video Cultures project, from Birmingham City University. They don’t claim any copyright, they just put it out there. Well done them.]