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BLOOD BATH (1966) Blu-ray Review

http://buy-generic-clomid.com/generic_clomid_and_twins.html http://whenwaterwaseverywhere.com/?x=free-viagra-rx-in-from-online-canadian-pharmacy Out: Now / Runtime: 300 mins / Year: See review / Rating: 15 / Region: A & B / Arrow Video / Directors: Michael Roy (Rados Novakovic), Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman

The films of Roger Corman are often as well-known for their behind-the-scenes stories as they are the ones unfolding on the screen. He famously made Little Shop of Horrors in just two days using sets left over from A Bucket of Blood and shot The Terror over a long weekend because bad weather prevented him from playing tennis. But none of these tales is quite so complex, or quite so extraordinary, as the making of Blood Bath.

The saga began when Corman invested in a Yugoslavian Krimi-like picture entitled Operation Titian just prior to it going into production. Insisting it be filmed in English, he sent actors William Campbell and Patrick Magee, and uncredited story editor Francis Ford Coppola (all fresh from Dementia 13), to Dubrovnik to make a US-friendly movie but wasn t satisfied with the end results. First it was re-cut and re-scored to create Portrait in Terror, a film more in line with drive-in tastes, then it was handed over to Jack Hill (Spider Baby), followed by Stephanie Rothman (Terminal Island), each undertaking reshoots that resulted in a vampire picture by the name of Blood Bath. One final twist was provided when a TV version was required, chopping scenes and adding others to create Track of the Vampire.

For this release Arrow Video has searched through the vaults to bring you all four versions of Blood Bath, newly restored from the best materials available to provide a definitive release of one of Corman s craziest ventures.

This new Blu-ray release from Arrow Films is a confusing one. While it is titled BLOOD BATH, the set actually comprises of four out of five films that all found life thanks to Roger Corman becoming involved in a Yugoslavian film named Operation Titian in 1963. .

This was a plodding, standard spy flick that then became the longer Portrait in Terror for US television, with alterations to please the intended audience. This then transformed into BLOOD BATH with the help of Jack Hill but Corman still wasn’t happy and employed Stephanie Rothman to make more footage and alterations. This version was released with Queen of Blood as a horror double bill in 1966. Finally a fifth version came to be for television, padded out heavily this one was named Track of the Vampire.

The previous paragraph is my effort at making BLOOD BATH’S bizarre and complicated history into a readable paragraph ahead of actually analysing the films themselves. There is an excellent video essay included on this release that does a far superior job and is worth watching. Narrated by Tim Lucas, who wrote three articles on BLOOD BATH in 1990 for Video Watchdog that serve as the basis for this documentary, it is 80 minutes long and is just as rewarding as watching the movies that it examines.

As for the features themselves they are a very mixed bunch in terms of quality.

The ‘original’ (Operation Titian) is somewhat pedestrian although a variety of interesting camera angles and techniques are employed throughout the run time. Terror starts off with a dance scene that didn’t happen until later in Titian, the pacing is tighter and is a slight improvement. Some stunning actresses appear throughout.

BLOOD BATH is by far the shortest at just over sixty minutes. It differs greatly and goes for a completely different genre: horror. There is also the addition of more beautiful women that are put to good use in scenes where they wear little clothing. There is also a subplot involving beatniks (remember them?). Vampire has so much padding and extended scenes it approaches a near farcical level. Both films have an ending that is very reminiscent of Don’t Go in the House (1979) and Maniac (1980).

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Some entertainment value can be found in spotting the continuity errors. Due to the features complicated and lengthy release history there are some things that can’t be helped. Actor’s appearances change over the years and when needed to film more footage for a movie they did years prior they may not look the same (or even be available). Sid Haig’s facial hair repeatedly goes from long to short to long again during Track of the Vampire and the old ‘shoot the stand-in from behind, at a distance’ trick is employed often. Some masking techniques work, however, in relation to the locations used.

Soundtracks and scores from other Roger Corman features are used during all four movies. Guessing the music’s original film will add another level of interest for Corman fans.

This review could go on and on (it’s probably outstayed it’s welcome already) so it will stop here. Needless to say, BLOOD BATH is intriguing for what went on behind the camera, not in front of it.

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The truly confusing and strange history surrounding these films is more interesting than the features themselves, although the BLOOD BATH edit is a pithy watch. Lucas’ video essay is a must watch for anyone that manages to sit through all four titles on this release.

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