13 deaths. No less than 13 deaths. That's an impressive amount of killing for any horror/thriller, even by modern day standards. We're talking Voorhees-style slaughter too, not your standard stab-stab-shoot. Machetes through faces, double-impaling with a spear, even a head getting split wide open with an axe. That's some pretty serious shit, especially for 1971. You've gotta hand it to those Italians, Mario Bava in this case, they sure no how to shed blood on camera.
Twitch of the Death Nerve is the story of multiple groups of seedy assholes who will go to any length to get what they want. In this case it's a hot piece of wilderness property on the ocean. The movie starts out with the murder-made-to-look-suicide death of the proprietor of this hot property, an old lady in a wheelchair. This first murder was committed by her young, greedy husband. He in turn was murdered within minutes by a mysterious knife-wielding maniac, who we learn more about later, but he is only one of several amoral bastards in this movie. Lets not forget the young husband's poor daughter and her good-for-nothing husband. She's actually responsible for the highly grotesque headsplitting I was talking about earlier. Then we move on to the estate handler, the man who is most responsible for the old lady's death, consideing he is the one who manufactured the fake suicide. Didn't that blow up in his face. Let's just say this flick is something of a Scumbag Olympiad.
This movie also set the stage for slasher movies that would plague the market almost a decade later. Not only with the over-the-top slaughter, but the gruesome deaths of unsusp[ecting sex-crazed teenagers. That's right kids, teenagers die for no good reason. fuckin' rightious. One scene involves a spear going through a copulating pair. Now doesn't that remind you of something that happened in a later movie? hmmm.....
This is actually the first Mario Bava movie I have seen and it is definitely not the last. I was quite impressed the camera work, done by bava himself, because the budget was ridiculously low from what I've read. The special effects were quite good and ahead of their time. When a machete went a kids face, it was quite realistic, especially when it was being pulled out. It brought a smile to my face. From what Nate says, this was a good movie to start with. i know I'll be watching several more over the next couple of weeks, maybe days.
Any fan of your modern day slasher flick (post 80's) would think this film is the cat's meow, and if you don't, well, you're probably an adult bedwetter.