I don’t think that anyone would ever say that Twitch of the Death Nerve is Mario Bava’s best film. However, it’s hard to dispute one thing: It does feature the most carnage ever seen in one of Il Maestro’s movies. There are enough impalings, strangulations, throat slashings, and hatchets to the face than most movies can handle.
The gist of the plot is that there are all these greedy ass people trying to get their hands on this bay front property for their own variously shady purposes and are willing to stab, hack, and choke anyone that gets in their way. What is novel about the film is that not only are there multiple murderers running around but also multiple motives for the killings as well.
The downside to having everyone being a cold-blooded killer out for themselves is that not a whole lot of the plot ever really makes much sense. This movie simultaneously has too much and not enough plot. That’s okay though, because I don’t think Bava cared either. In this film it’s not WHO the killer is, it’s WHO the victim is and HOW they will get it that really counts. Twitch also contains one of the looniest WTF endings in cinema history, one you have to see to disbelieve.
Twitch of the Death Nerve was one of the most highly influential horror films to come out of the early 70’s. It was the first real “body count” movie of it’s time. (I liked the way the killers stacked their victims up like cordwood.) Heck, the Friday the 13th franchise pretty much swiped everything wholesale from this flick, particularly the scene where two lovers are humping and get impaled with a spear while doing the deed. Bava is such a madman though that he actually let them finish fucking while they were still impaled! You won’t see that in a Friday the 13th movie, that’s for sure.