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Dustin Putman

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Capsule Review
Twitch of the Death Nerve  (1971)
2 Stars
Directed by Mario Bava.
Cast: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Claudio Camaso, Anna Maria Rosati, Chris Avram, Leopoldo Trieste, Laura Betti, Brigitte Skay, Isa Miranda, Paola Rubens, Guido Boccaccini, Roberto Bonanni, Giovanni Nuvoletti, Renato Cestie, Nicoletta Elmi.
1971 – 84 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for strong violence/gore, sexual content and nudity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 2008.

Renata and Albert's Daughter:
Gee, they sure are good at playing dead, aren't they?

"Twitch of the Death Nerve" is a great title, provocative, playful and ominous all at once. Why it was released to stateside video in the early 1980s under the stock moniker "Bay of Blood" is anyone's guess. Either way, Mario Bava's graphic giallo involving cold-blooded murder on a woodsy, lakefront estate has widely been considered the inspiration for several identical death scenes in the early "Friday the 13th" movies, most notably the spear-through-the-bodies set-piece from 1981's "Friday the 13th Part 2." In the place of a single psycho, "Twitch of the Death Nerve" hosts a cast of characters who are all crazy, friends and relatives who gather onto the property of a deceased Countess and end up offing each other in order to receive her lofty inheritance. The plot is purely convoluted and the climactic traipsing around in the dark goes on too long, but director Bava displays how ahead of the curve he was in tackling the slasher genre, consequently pulling the film off with style and a brilliantly nasty twist ending. Those searching for horny victims of the teenage persuasion, fear not; four of them, including the fetching, unfortunately-named Brunhilda (Brigitte Skay), randomly show up to vacation in a deserted building on the estate, disrobe, and are slaughtered accordingly.

© 2008 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman