Retro Horror: Blood Bath (1966) - Arrow Video

We review Blood Bath, new on Arrow Video. 

Blood Bath is one of those films where the story behind the production of the film is far more interesting than the film itself. It started out as Operation Titan, a Yugoslavian spy-thriller that was produced by Roger Corman but was considered to be unreleasable in that state. Corman then hired director Jack Hill to add some additional sequences to the film to salvage it and turned it into Portrait in Terror, a horror film about a man who murders women and turns them into wax statues.This was later transformed into a vampire horror flick called Blood Bath and even further transformed by adding more footage and shown on television under the title Track of the Vampire. Confused yet?!

Arrow Video recently released a blu-ray set with restored versions of all four films as well as some interesting extras and a visual essay about the production. The transfer on all the films is great looking and it's neat to be able to own all the different films in one collection. I would say that Blood Bath has one of the most convoluted histories of any horror flick. And you thought Blade Runner (1982) had a lot of versions! This review is only going to cover the particulars of Blood Bath as it's one of the better known iterations of this saga.

Since this film had some much additional footage that wasn't initially planned, the story doesn't make sense for the most part and is disjointed and unfocused. It lends an unintentional feeling of surrealism to the proceedings, though it doesn't make for a coherent narrative. The plot follows an eccentric artist named Antonio Sordi (William Campbell) who ends up being possessed by a malevolent vampire spirit. For some reason, his vampire affliction doesn't follow the normal rules and he is able to walk around during the day. It's pretty damn silly, to be honest. There are also weird side plots involving some beatniks and an avant-garde ballerina girl. Since it's the late sixties there's lots of weird ass dancing interludes that are in no way integral to the plot. The killings are boring and generic as well.

However, as a production curiosity the behind-the-scenes information about the making of all four films is intriguing. It would make for an interesting documentary someday. If all this sounds like your cup of tea, then this Arrow set is the one to pick up!

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-Michelle Kisner