Twitch of the Death Nerve (1971) **1/2
D: Mario Bava
C: Claudine Auger, Luigi Pistilli, Laura Betti, Leopoldo Trieste, Claudio Volonté, Chris Avram, Anna Maria Rosati, Brigitte Skay
Plot Synopsis: An elderly heiress is killed by her husband who wants control of her fortunes. What ensues is an all-out murder spree as relatives and friends attempt to reduce the inheritance playing field, complicated by some teenagers who decide to camp out in a dilapidated building on the estate.
Review: Twitch of the Death Nerve is pretty much one over the top death sequence after another. If you want plot or character development, look elsewhere, because you aren't going to find it here. If you want gore, sex, nudity and lots of creative deaths with a sense of dark humor, then you're in luck.
As per the course for a Mario Bava film, it's stylishly directed. There are many striking visuals. The horror set pieces, mainly one slashing after another, are effectively staged. The special effects of Carlo Rambaldi still hold up well in this day & age, a testament as to why Rambaldi is a legend in this field.
The best moment comes at the very end though, in a finale that has got to be one of the most dementedly absurd moments in modern horror film history. It's senseless violence for the sake of senseless violence, much like the movie itself, with politically incorrect humor. The offensive nature of this scene juxtaposed against the cheeky presentation makes the finale all the more demented, but demented in an eye opening, outlandishly entertaining sort of way.
For most, Twitch of the Death Nerve is best remembered as the slasher that set the ground work for others that followed in its wake with its thirteen scenes of death. It's funny that Friday the 13th Part 2 ripped off so many elements from this movie considering that both films were marketed heavily with an emphasis on the thirteen gimmick. That aside, it deserves praise for having an audacious vision and following through on that, even if that vision happens to be to offend as many people as possible with gratuitous scenes of death stacked on top of one another. [R] 84 minutes.
AKA: A Bay of Blood
AKA: Last House on the Left II
AKA: Chain Reaction
AKA: Blood Bath
AKA: The Ecology of Crime
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