Sunday, September 21, 2014

Bloody Pit of Horror (Il Boia Scarlatto) (1965)

Bloody Pit of Horror (Il Boia Scarlatto) (1965) stars Mickey Hargitay, one-time Mr. Universe. It was made one year after his divorce from Jayne Mansfield. Here, he plays Travis Anderson, an actor who has retired from movies for a life of solitude and moral purity, and now lives as a recluse in a castle previously owned by The Crimson Executioner, a Medieval madman whose body and spirit were entombed in the basement of the castle. When a group of sleaze publishers show up at the castle looking to take some lurid photographs for the cover of their books, they accidentally open the tomb and unleash the wrath of The Crimson Executioner who is none too happy with their perverse and sordid ways.

Directed by Massimo Pupillo, it was written by Romano Migliorini and Roberto Natale and supposedly based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. It is campier than Corman's Poe movies, but also far sleazier and more violent. Where Corman suggested perversity, director Massimo Pupillo revels in graphic depictions of devious pleasures. Plenty of gothic torture chambers and scenes of lurid violence. Great set design (the whole movie takes place in the castle). Occasional moments of goofiness, such as the killer monster spider who makes even Sam Katzman's monsters look realistic, but even that has its charm and is enjoyable. The highlight, of course, is Hargitay and his monomaniacal zeal. Every scene he is in is brimming with batshit psychosis. Overall, a good, sleazy, low-budget, sick, fun movie. 

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