April 24, 2013

Movie Review: Blood Bath (1966)

I did not set out to watch Blood Bath on purpose. It is one of those movies I had tossed into my Netflix queue to revisit somewhere along the line. Well, that future time came the other day when I was looking for something to watch, preferably short, this happened to come up. It is a title I was rather unfamiliar with but with a word like "blood" in the title, I was more than willing to press play.

Blood Bath is a Roger Corman production from 1966. It is a movie with a troubled production history. Jack Hill, who would go on to helm such classics as Spider Baby, Switchblade Sisters, and Foxy Brown, was the original writer/director but when Roger was unhappy with the footage, he took it away and gave it to Stephanie Rothman (The Student Nurses, Terminal Island). On top of that, there was also orders to incorporate footage from another failed production that was being shot in Eastern Europe. If the film seems a little schizophrenic, disjointed, and nonsensical, just accept what is happening and move along. The movie doesn't even hit seventy-minutes as it is!

At the center of Blood Bath, also known as Track of the Vampire, is Antonio Sordi (William Campbell from Bucket of Blood). He is an artist with a somewhat tenuous grasp on reality, you see, h is convinced he is a vampire, based on the belief that one if his ancestors was also a blood sucker. The artist likes to paint women in near death poses, working out of a lighthouse.

He has a competition of sorts with another local artist, Max (Karl Schanzer). Max seems to spend his time with a group of beatnik artists (including one played by Sid Haig), where they discuss different artistic approaches, like getting rid of the artificiality of the brush and applying the model directly to the canvas.

Suspicions begin to arise when the lovely women who model for Sordi begin disappearing. We know that Sordi is guilty and we watch as his grip on reality loosens. We watch Max and the beatniks go on the hunt for the truth. Then things get weird with certain things that Sordi has around the lighthouse.

Blood Bath is a trifling of a movie and it's production history may be more interesting than the movie itself. Still, I enjoyed the movie enough. There are plenty of lovely women throughout, clearly cast more for their looks than their acting ability. There is the strange contrasting tones, it is fairly easy to pick who directed what scenes. I liked it enough, it goes by pretty quick. With that short runtime it does not overstay its welcome.

Best I can say is if you like old school B movies and have a short time to squeeze something in, give this a shot. You could certainly do a lot worse and perhaps get some insight into existential artistry.

Mildly Recommended.

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