Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)


As “racy” as it is for 1965, I can’t help but think Bloody Pit of Horror would have been more effective had it been made a few years later. For example, when two scantily clad women are strapped to a “spinner rack of death,” the blades that the villain are pounding closer and closer to them as they go around merely paint lines of “blood” on their chests and tug at their bikini tops/bras. It feels like a missed opportunity to not have them sliced off completely.

.

Indeed, for the subject matter, it’s a very tame film. With a story based, no matter how loosely, on the writings of the Marquis de Sade, you’d expect more sex and violence… especially since it was made in Italy. As it is, it’s remarkably innocent in its delivery, if not in its content. It also reeks of the 60’s, especially with its groovy score by Gino Peguri, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

.

Publisher Daniel Parks (Alfredo Rizzo) is in the market for locations to photograph book jackets. He takes a photography crew (so large that they use three cars) to what they think is an abandoned castle. Little do they know that it’s inhabited by the current owner, Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay), an eccentric loner who coincidentally fled his relationship with the production manager, Edith (Luisa Baratto.)

.

Neither are they aware of the history of the castle that we learned in the opening moments of the movie. Centuries ago, a sadistic killer called, “the Crimson Executioner,” was sentenced to death and placed in a dungeon in one of his instruments of torture, a coffin/sarcophagus-thing with spikes on the door. As the door is closed and sealed, and blood drips from the crack in the bottom, he cries that they’ll never be able to kill him and swears revenge.

.

With the familiar plot, it’s no spoiler to say that one of the members of the sizable crew is going to release the Crimson Executioner. Surprisingly, that part is a bit ambiguous. Just before Raoul (Albert Gordon) forces himself upon the non-resistant Suzy (Barbara Nelli), he knocks an axe off the wall and breaks the seal. As it slowly cracks open, we see through the “window” in the door that the ancient “monster” opens his eyes.

.

Soon, the coffin/sarcophagus-thing is empty, and a shadow moves across the great stone wall toward its first victim. When the killings begin in earnest, it's revealed that the perpetrator is Travis, who’s supposedly possessed by the spirit of the Crimson Executioner. What happened to the body? Was he ever revived, or did he perhaps crumble to dust when the door opened and then his spirit moved (much faster than the movie does) into its new home?

.

There are attempts to make Bloody Pit of Horror more substantial. There’s a never-ending gang of Batman henchmen, all dressed in wide-striped shirts, to help Travis carry out the Crimson Executioner’s vengeance. There are cursory attempts at misdirection with mannequins, dead bodies, and skeletons. It’s all silly fun and flaws would have been forgivable if not for the plodding pace established, I assume, by the director, Massimo Pupillo.

.

As always, I watched a foreign film in its original language. In this case, I think poor dubbing would add to the wackiness of the events. You can watch Mickey Hargitay spread oil on his impressive chest and soldiers and hear him ranting about how much he despises humanity in Italian; however, reading the words might distract you from his frantic actions. Or you can listen to voices that don’t match the characters and transcend from the mundane into the ridiculous... wonderfully so.



28 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All