Kino Classics just released 2 new titles in their Mario Bava Collection, Five Dolls for an August Moon aka Island of Terror and one my personal favorite Bava films A Bay of Blood aka Twitch of the Death Nerve. I find it very fitting they chose to release these two films together, since some will argue that Five Dolls for an August Moon was a very subdued dry run for A Bay of Blood.

While both films share a similar plot, a group of people in a deserted area are picked off one by one by a mysterious killer. The difference is where Five Dolls for an August Moon does it under the conservative guise of a whodunit thriller, where A Bay of Blood does it with utter abandon with all the gore and nudity you could possibly want.

Now for the films, click the images for actual screenshots of the Blu-ray:

Five Dolls for an August Moon


Five Dolls for an August Moon (5 bambole per la luna d’agosto) was released in 1970 and is the story of a group of with-it hipsters on a remote island for fun and relaxation. One of the guests (as it turns out) is a chemist who has developed a revolutionary chemical process. When negotiations to purchase it break down, guests start dropping one-by-one.

This is due to all the participants in the would-be deal all carrying a check for a million dollars made out to cash.

The film claims to be in the style of Agatha Christie, but is more of a slasher without the nudity and gore. I found it enjoyable enough, but not quite as satisfying as A Bay of Blood. This is probably the reason the film has gone unreleased in the US until 2001 due to Bava’s reputation in as more of a horror director.


The disc is bare bones except for a trailer and a commentary by Tim Lucas the author of the definitive Bava book Mario Bava: All the Colors of the Dark. Tim really has some great insight on the film, which makes for a great watch with in depth discussion on the production. I would suggest Bava fans picking it up for this alone.

The transfer is on the disc is surprisingly gorgeous; it’s bright and has a great contrast throughout. Although there does appear to be some damage to the print it was sourced from. I honestly enjoy when transfers have small imperfections, because I think gives the film a bit more character.

As for the audio, only the English dub is included with this disc, but it is surprisingly good even for a mono mix. The dialog is clear and sounds warm and natural, only the sound effects seem to sound a bit artificial on the track.

A Bay of Blood


A Bay of Blood (Ecologia del delitto), released in 1971, is probably one of the more popular and most violent Bava films. The film had a huge influence on what later became the slasher sub-genre/body count film and still holds up really well to this day. The film is the story of a greedy family on a killing spree all trying to claim a massive inheritance by killing each other off. This ridiculousness of the plot is not lost on Bava who manages to drive home some great themes while delivering a very satisfying narrative.


This film was also released by Arrow on Blu-ray back in 2010, but this appears to a brand new transfer. Comparing the two, the Arrow transfer appears to be darker and a bit muddier than the Kino disc, which displays a brighter and cleaner transfer. While the Arrow disc was packed with extras, the Kino disc sports only the essentials. You get the Tim Lucas commentary and the Italian version of the film as well as trailers.

A Bay of Blood, unlike most Italian features, was shot twice: once with dialog completely spoken in English and again in Italian. While the Italian version included is not a great transfer, for completists looking to compare the performances its all you could ask for. Some argue the performances are slightly better in the Italian version due to that being the native language of most of the cast.

This film comes only with a mono mix on either version as well, while not as good as Five Dolls for an August Moon it features the best soundtrack work ever done by Stelvio Cipriani. This is definitely one of the soundtracks I wish someone would re-issue on vinyl. Also another difference from the Arrow version I think this version benefits from is the Carnage trailer is presented without Edgar Wright commentary. Carnage was one of the many fitting titles for this film and it’s one of those really iconic trailers that really exemplifies the aesthetic of films of this era.

Final Thoughts:

Five Dolls for an August Moon is a fun little Italian mystery and I honestly think Tim’s commentary on the film alone is worth the price of admission for any hard-core Bava fan. While I would have liked a little more extra-wise, I am just happy Kino did such an amazing job with this disc.

A Bay of Blood is definitely worth the upgrade at the price. While the extras on the Arrow edition still make for a satisfying package, the folks at Kino really delivered a great transfer that is the best this film has looked as far as I am concerned. The inclusion of the Italian version is also a great feature, since while both cuts share some similarities they also have quite a few differences that make it worth your time to check out. The Italian version does include English subs.

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