Tuesday, 18 October 2011



It's strange. Here we are in 2011 and complaining left and right about the iron fist of the BBFC rejecting a whole two - count 'em, TWO - films on the grounds of graphic sexual violence (The Human Centipede Part II and The Bunny Game), yet back in 1967 a total of 15 films were rejected by the Board. A few of that year's banned titles have been reissued and are now deemed perfectly acceptable, such as The Trip and Common Law Cabin, but most have never been resubmitted. This is one of those titles: rejected August 4th, 1967, and never seen again, though it would probably pass unscathed these days. Happily it's available in a 12-disc R0 import box set of indifferent horror movies from various sources (this one's in the public domain) and while some of them are genuinely unwatchable in terms of audio and picture quality, some are passable. At least it's in widescreen (albeit non-anamorphic, in lurid colour and irritatingly pixelated at times).

Back in the whateverth century, a homicidal maniac dressed as a Mexican wrestler and known as The Crimson Executioner rampaged through Italy judging everyone as sinners, and torturing and murdering them. Eventually captured and sealed up in his own dungeon, he vowed he would return and wreak his revenge. Cut to 1967, and a group of dim fashion models and disposable idiots turn up at the supposedly deserted castle looking for a photoshoot location. What they find is a former movie actor now living as an embittered recluse with only a couple of bodybuilders in stripey shirts for company. But it's not long before "accidents" occur and the models and photographers start being picked off. Could The Crimson Executioner really have returned?

Shot in "Psychovision" (meaning "colour"), Bloody Pit Of Horror is generally pretty poor stuff: the acting is mainly terrible, there's little gore or nudity and the special effects highlight - a woman trapped in the web of a venomous rubber spider the size of a rugby ball in a room full of tripwires linked to blowpipes with arrows in them - is not only laughably nonsensical but astonishingly badly executed. Nor is the horror and violence is helped by a wildly inappopriate "lightly latin" soundtrack that seems to think everything's more terrifying if a bossanova is playing constantly in the background. If the film has anything going for it at all, it's Mickey Hargitay as The Crimson Executioner: a cackling, gloating, egotistical sociopath torturing helpless models with undisguised relish (and still dressed as a Mexican wrestler). He's great fun, and Hargitay is clearly having a blast. Everything else is sadly pretty mediocre. Directed by Massimo Pupillo under the unconvincing pseudonym "Max Hunter", and nominally based on the writings of the Marquis De Sade.


No comments: