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(aka "Reazione a Catena" or "Ecologia del Delitto" or "Twitch of the Death Nerve" or "Blood Bath" )

 

directed by Mario Bava
Italy 1971

 

A picturesque piece of bay property is the motivation for murder in Mario Bava's A BAY OF BLOOD (aka CHAIN REACTION or THE ECOLOGY OF CRIME or TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE or BLOOD BATH or LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT, PART II). Countess Federica (Isa Miranda, THE NIGHT PORTER) is murdered for profit by her husband Filippo (Giovanni Nuvoletti). Seconds later, however, Filippo too is murdered by an unseen assailant and his body hidden. Upon news of the Countess' mysterious death (and her husband's disappearance), a number of victim-fodder characters converge upon the bay. There's Simon (Claudio Camaso, brother of Gian Maria Volante), the countess' illegitimate son who lives as a squid fisherman in a shack on the bay, Filippo's daughter Renata (Claudine Auger, THUNDERBALL), her husband Albert (Luigi Pistilli, FOR A FEW DOLLARS MORE), their children (DAMNED IN VENICE's Renato Cestič and Nicoletta Elmi of Argento's DEEP RED and Lamberto Bava's DEMONS), medium Anna Fossati (Laura Betti of Pasolini's TEOREMA and Bava's earlier HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON) and her amateur entomologist husband Paolo (Leopoldo Trieste, CALIGULA), profiteering land developer Frank Venura (Chris Avram, THE EERIE MIDNIGHT HORROR SHOW) and his slinky secretary Laura (Anna Maria Rosati). Oh, let's not forget the bubbly, scantily clad quartet of youths Denise (Paola Montenero, MAN, WOMAN, AND BEAST), Duke (Guido Boccaccini), Robert (Roberto Bonanni, FORGET PARIS), and skinny-dipping Brunhilda (Brigitte Skay, who also appeared in Bava's FOUR TIMES THAT NIGHT). Soon enough, a watchful presence (or several since many of the characters are seen spying on each other for various sexual and violent motivations) starts whittling down the cast in increasingly bloody ways. The solution may not be a question of whodunnit, but of "who's left?" Mario Bava was originally proposed to do the special effects for Dino Di Laurentis' KING KONG, which ultimately went to Carlo Rambaldi (who slathers on the gore here).

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: 3 May 1972 (USA)

Reviews        More Reviews       DVD Reviews

Comparison:

Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL vs. Arrow Video (English Export + Italian Versions) - Region FREE - Blu-ray vs. Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL vs. Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 0 - PAL

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas and Gregory Meshman for the Screen Caps!

1) Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Arrow Video (English Export + Italian Versions) - Region 0 - PAL - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Raro Video
Region 2 - PAL
Runtime

1:24:02.078

Italian Version: 1:24:53.630

1:20:30 (4% PAL speedup)

Italian Version: 1:21:21 (4% PAL speedup)

1:24:09 1:21:24 (4% PAL speedup)
Video

Disc Size: 46,731,409,195 bytes

Feature Size: 22,484,219,904 bytes

Italian Version: 10,532,468,736 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.96 / 13.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

1.89:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.64 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.21 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.87:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.5 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Arrow Video Blu-ray (English Export Version)

 

Bitrate:

Arrow Video (English Export Version)

 

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay (English Export Version)

 

Bitrate:

 

Raro Video (Italian Version)

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow DVD (Italian Version)

 

Audio LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1152 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 1152 kbps / 24-bit

LPCM Audio Italian 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

English Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono

Subtitles English, none English, none none English, Italian, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

 

Disc Size: 46,731,409,195 bytes

Feature Size: 22,484,219,904 bytes

Italian Version: 10,532,468,736 bytes

Average Bitrate: 29.96 / 13.99 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG-4 AVC Video 1080P

 

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas
• The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sachetti (33:09 in HD!)

Joe Dante remembers TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (12:23 in HD!)
• Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic - interview with assistant cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia ((21:15 in HD)
• CARNAGE trailer with Edgar Wright (3:56 in HD!)
• TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE trailer with Edgar Wright (1:17 in HD!)
• Radio Spot 1 (0:58)
• Radio Spot 2 (0:28)

Blu-ray Release Date: December 20th, 2010
Unknown

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Arrow Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.89:1

Edition Details:
• DISC ONE:
• Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas
• Joe Dante remembers TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE (16:9; 11:53)
• Shooting a Spaghetti Splatter Classic - interview with assistant cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia (16
• CARNAGE trailer with Edgar Wright (16:9; 3:45)
• TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE trailer with Edgar Wright (16:9; 1:13)
• Radio Spot 1 (0:56)
• Radio Spot 2 (0:26)
• Easter Egg 1: German title sequence (16:9; 1:58)
• Easter Egg 2: BLOOD BATH title sequence (16:9; 2:37)
• 4-panel reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork
• Double-sided fold-out poster, and Collector's Booklet by Jay Slater
• DISC TWO:
• Italian Cut of the Film
• Argento! Bava! Fulci! The Giallo Gems of Dardano Sacchetti

DVD Release Date: December 6th, 2010
Amaray in Slipcase

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Tim Lucas
• Theatrical Trailer [as CARNAGE] (16:9; 3:07)
• 2 Radio Spots
• Still & Poster Gallery

 

DVD Release Date: 23 October 2007
Slimline in boxed set

Chapters 16

Release Information:
Studio: Raro Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.87:1

Edition Details:
• THE ART OF CRIME (4:3; 23:55 - with optional English subtitles)
• Theatrical Trailer (16:9; 2:57)
• Director's Biography
• Director's Filmography

 

DVD Release Date: 6 December 2010
Amaray

Chapters 10

 

Comments

ADDITION: Arrow DVD (Italian version) - (December 2010) - The Arrow Italian version has the exact same bitrate and runtime as the Raro DVD and may be a direct port of that PAL MPEG2 stream as I can see little difference between the Arrow SD Italian version and the Raro transfer (it has the exact same running time and bitrate - compare the bitrate graphs - the 1080P version on the Blu-ray runs longer because its framerate is 23.976). The English subtitles, however, are rendered in a different font. Disc 2 also features an interview with screenwriter Dardanno Sacchetti.

Eric Cotenas

NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Arrow Region FREE Blu-ray - (November 2010) - Like Eric, I was sent a an early single-disc screener with no packaging. It is a dual-layered Blu-ray (almost 47 Gig) and it has both the English export (at 22 Gig) and the Italian version (at a little over 10 Gig) plus most of the extras already discussed below in Arrow's SD-DVD package but in HD (this includes the Tim Lucas commentary, 1/2 hour Giallo Gems of Dardano Sachetti featurette, Joe Dante piece, cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia etc.). The English export appears quite strong in motion. It is, obviously, from the same source as the DVD but almost 4X the bitrate. It shows more texture, depth and looks much more like 'film' than the flatter, video-like, DVD presentation. I can't speak to the muted colors. The 1080P Italian version doesn't fare as well - with, predictably, more noise (1/2 the bitrate of the Export transfer), but it also seems brightness boosted with visible flaring and the image may be horizontally stretched with characters appearing with abnormally fatter faces. This, however, seems true of the Raro DVD as well though and is probably due to the available source being compromised.

Audio also get a healthy bump to HD (a linear PCM track at 1500 kbps) but remains faithfully mono. Stelvio Cipriani's eerie and funky original music doesn't gain any range but has improved depth and bass response. There are optional English subtitles available. It appears as though the video extras on the Blu-ray are now in NTSC running time (as opposed to PAL speed on the DVD) and like the two features played fine on my region-locked Oppo player. This confirms the disc is region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

Beyond the body count this is often considered one of the pinnacles of the Giallo genre and despite the inherent inferiorities of the Italian version - this seems like another very adept package from Arrow that will have Bava fans drooling. Keep it coming...

  - Gary Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs: Only disc 1 featuring the new transfer of the English version and the bulk of the extras was provided to me for review. As with most of the English versions of the film, music and effects are louder (and sometimes prone to high-end distortion) while the dialogue track is lower (the English version has been equipped with optional English subtitles). While the increased amount of detail from this HD-mastered transfer is truly revelatory (some shots look like they were filmed yesterday), the telecine operator has sapped some of the film's Technicolor hues (the spurting blood in some of the gore scenes look more like rust compared to the earlier transfers). There is also a faint image trembling during the first reel. The transfer occupies 4.51 GB of the dual-layer disc's total 6.85 GB.

Arrow has carried over the Tim Lucas audio commentary from the Anchor Bay edition. One annoyance is the long introductory credits to the interviews (one of these intros eats up a minute-and-a-half of the twelve minute Joe Dante featurette that itself only devotes less than three minutes to discussing BAY). There is also a 20+ minute interview with assistant cameraman Gianlorenzo Battaglia (who first assisted Bava on HATCHET FOR THE HONEYMOON and subsequently became son Lamberto Bava's cinematographer of choice) who speaks about working with Bava as well as some of the cast members. Edgar Wright comments on the two trailers (he cites the CARNAGE version as the inspiration for his DON'T trailer for GRINDHOUSE) but the trailers themselves are not offered without commentary. Disc 2 (which was not provided) presents the Italian cut of the film (which is virtually the same but some dialogue sequences were shot in both English and Italian) and an interview with screenwriter Dardano Sacchetti. While the color timing on this new edition is disappointing, the new transfer is still an essential view for Bava fans (it would be interesting to see an HD-mastered BARON BLOOD which which was made just after this and features a similar mix of earthy tones and gelled lighting - with less subdued color). A Blu-ray of the Arrow edition is set for December 20, 2010 (HERE).

Anchor Bay's DVD has better audio (an improvement over the out-of-print Image Entertainment disc which featured a nice 16:9 transfer but had virtually inaudible dialogue and loud music and effects) and it is only available in 6-disc THE BAVA COLLECTION VOLUME 2 (which features eight films - nine if you include the alternate version of RABID DOGS). The transfer features bolder colors. The audio commentary track with Tim Lucas that is featured on the Arrow disc was recorded for this edition (along with three others for this set). The CARNAGE trailer is included here sans Edgar Wright commentary as well as the radio spots. The Image DVD had special access to the film's thirteen murders (in addition to the normal scene selection options). Raro's DVD presented the Italian cut of the film in a not-so-pristine 16:9 transfer (it appears that the telecine operator for the HD version based the color timing on this Italian master, although even the Raro version has stronger colors) in Italian with optional English subtitles. The Italian track is more elegant and sophisticated so it is fortunate that it was also carried over to the Arrow sets.

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - RIGHT)


 

 

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

Subtitle sample (no subtitles on Anchor Bay edition)


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


1) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Arrow Video (English Export Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay (English Export Version) - Region 1 - NTSC - THIRD

4) Raro Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - FOURTH

5) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow Video (Italian Version) - Region 2 - PAL - BOTTOM

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Sound:

Arrow Video - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Extras: Arrow / Blu-ray
Menu: Arrow / Blu-ray

 
DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

Arrow Video

Region FREE - Blu-ray

Arrow Video

Region 0 - PAL

Anchor Bay
Region 1 - NTSC
Raro Video
Region 2 - PAL


 

 




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Gary Tooze

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