Director: Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Screenplay: Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman
Starring: William Campbell, Marissa Mathes, Lori Sanders, Sandra Knight, Karl Schanzer,
Producer: Jack Hill, Roger Corman
Country: USA, Yugoslavia
Running Time: 80 min
BBFC Certificate: 12
A menacing lone stranger stalks the dark city street; in contrast a blind girl sells flowers in this dark mystery, setting the scene for the schizophrenic Blood Bath.
The local artists (watch out for Sid Haig) are amusingly deluded art critics, easily swayed from one direction to another describing a piece of art as genius and quickly changing their mind to decide it is talentless splattering. They speculate over the mysterious Sordi (William Campbell) and his popular but gruesome canvases depicting dead girls.
Sordi an eccentric painter works in his bell tower, once part of his family ancestral home, creating his own special style of art. The demented artist being fond of claret; lures attractive women to his art studio to be dispatched, boiled in wax, and painted for prosperity. In his tortured mind he sees Dorean (Lori Saunders) as a reincarnation from his previous life, which leads to a rib-tickling three Stooges-like chase by the local art group. In juxta-position to the comedic aspects there are nightmarish pursuits, an unnerving merry-go-round ride and the grisly deaths of Daisy (Marissa Mathes) and her sister Donna (Sandra Knight).
The action is interlaced with dream like sequences as Sordi drifts in and out of reality, imagining him-self to be his reincarnated ancestor, returned after being burned at the stake. Through-out the film a discordant vampire appears and the only explanation seems to be that Jack Hill started the film, but was fired and swapped for Stephanie Rothman who incorporated Yugoslavian vampire footage into the new material.
Blood Bath with seedy atmosphere of depravity reminiscent of Herschell Gordon Lewis’s Blood Feast’s grubby portrayal of death is unfocused in direction but still manages at times to be visually stunning, providing some delightfully degenerate imagery. Interestingly Blood Bath (1966) is still in black and white, while earlier films such as Blood Feast (1963) are in colour. This is probably due to a mixture of the protracted history of the film and the variable availability of colour in different parts of the world at this time.
Yes, Blood Bath has some rickety acting, but still an important film for an understanding of the evolution in the horror genre. This Arrow Video Blu-ray release contains not one but four films and the reasons for this are convoluted; Blood Bath was originally Operation Titian, a Yugoslavian film funded by Roger Corman. This film was morphed into Portrait in Terror which was in turn transformed by Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman into Blood Bath and finally it was mutated into Track of the Vampire for television.
That’s not all folks; you also get more extras, including The Trouble with Titian Revisited, Bathing in Blood with Sid Haig, Interview with Jack Hill and stills gallery.
Blood Bath was released on Blu-Ray on the 30th May by Arrow Video, the pre-production disc reviewed had excellent audio and picture quality. I have not however reviewed the finished art work and extras accompanying the official release, which I suspect will add even more to the experience, as shown in the special feature list shown below.
LIMITED EDITION CONTENTS
• Limited Edition collection of the complete Blood Bath
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of four versions of the film: Operation Titian, Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire
• Brand new 2K restorations of Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire from original film materials
• Brand new reconstruction of Operation Titian using original film materials and standard definition inserts • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on all four versions
• The Trouble with Titian Revisited – a brand new visual essay in which Tim Lucas returns to (and updates) his three-part Video Watchdog feature to examine the convoluted production history of Blood Bath and its multiple versions.
• Bathing in Blood with Sid Haig – a new interview with the actor, recorded exclusively for this release
• Archive interview with producer-director Jack Hill
• Stills gallery
• Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artworks
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
• Limited edition booklet containing new writing on the film and its cast by Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt, Cullen Gallagher and Peter Beckman
In summary a very fine addition to your collection, made all the better as you get four films in one package and its out now.