I Saw A Film!

Filmed in “psychovision” we’re told! It’s really filmed in Micky Hargitay vision (Hercules playing body-builder most famous for his relationship with the doomed 50’s -60’s bombshell Jayne Mansfield). And lots of bongos in the soundtrack for some reason.

Basically, a crew of photographers and models have arrived at castle hoping to use the grounds for a sexy/dungeon/BDSM style photo shoot, what they don’t realize is that the places is haunted and/or lorded over by a resident who maintains his psychotic connection to a centuries old killer called “The Crimson Executioner”. He isn’t actually the Crimson Executioner, nor, the film tells us, is he actually possessed by the spirit of the monstrous historical character, but instead merely believes himself to resemble him and therefor wishes to carry on his work purifying the race, or so it seems. If this sounds like a convoluted plot to have pretty ladies tied up and put in various perils, you’re right!

The film at first seems to be not taking itself too seriously, there are many moments when we’re asked to be amused by the predicament, but soon enough that Italian Movie Blood starts flowing (Bright Bright red stuff that looks like maraschino cherry juice) and the weird killing-stuff starts happening, along with some seriously Star Trek level fight sequences.

Now, if you’re a fan of Dexter or any slasher films of the last 50 years, this should seem like oddly particular and overly elaborate stuff. The Crimson Executioner, albeit being channeled by a modern loon, seems to prefer the most ridiculous of contraptions for eliciting horrible death, but at the same time, a very obvious sexy fetishist aspect is maintained. So, as the ladies are revolved on a pylon that passes by sword blades, the blades don’t just slice the girls open (gross), they instead delicately remove bits of lacy underwear, before leaving pencil lines of that bright red Italian movie blood. It would probably have been a lot of fun to be on this set keeping everyone straight-faced and imagining the peril. No one fights very hard. And one of the tortures is just cold water, while some other guy gets burned to death, then you’re watching a lady get stretched on a rack, but her arms aren’t even extended. So while you’re snorting up your sleeve, there’s actually supposed to be horror going on! But it’s hard to take it seriously when you’re seeing a close-ups of almost revealed boobs, long lovely legs, and at least a bite of cheek.

My favorite scene has the lovely Moa Tahi weirdly caught in a giant spider’s web. She’s not so much caught in it as she is kind of clinging to it and standing on it while doing her very best to seem in peril while a terrible mock-up of a plush spider threatens her with it’s big grin. On top of this, an elaborate system of crossbows and trip-wires is arranged so no one can approach her to save her. I can’t tell if I’m supposed to think this spider is actual, or if it’s a kind of diabolical torture device arranged by the bizarre killer (if the latter, that really is a high level of kooky). It’s a really great scene though despite it looking like a cheap Halloween prop with a lovely woman providing her best Damsel-In-Distress, if there were more of this kind of sequence I might actually have this on a favorite movies list!

There are several henchmen, and a number of forgettable side deaths before we get to the main course. But the film moves along fairly efficiently with a few silly skits but still rushing to the BDSM/Horror pay-off. No one has the patience for much backstory when you’ve got these beauties to play with. It’s very easy, with just a bit of adult understanding to realize the “death” parts of this are really secondary, and it keeps the sexy amusement “allowed” because it’s actually a horror film! See?

free on Prime! There’s a Rifftrax version of this film I highly recommend as well.

One thought on “Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

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