In Italian director Mario Bava's sumptuous Technicolor Gothic horror classic an American student Peter Kleist travels to Austria on summer holiday to learn more about his family roots. By reciting an incantation on a piece... more » of ancient parchment, he succeeds in scaring up a genuine ancestor--Baron Otto von Kleist, a 16th century sadistic nobleman whose appetite for cruelty earned him the nickname "Baron Blood." Before Peter can reverse the incantation, the parchment burns...How many innocents will die before Peter learns how to send the evil Baron back to the hell from whence he came?« less
""Baron Blood" is a very solid effort from Italian horror master Mario Bava. The film has the added bonus that it was made some fifteen plus years into his career. As a result, all of the Bava stylistic standbys are here (countless dramatic camera zooms, atmospheric lighting, bizarre and imaginative sets, and imaginative direction) and are executed with a growing assurance by Bava. The film's plot is rather standard fare (actually resembling the "Evil Dead" and "Equinox" storyline) about a bloodthirsty, long dead baron brought back to life by the living. When unleashed, he soon begins to take victims. The murders and scenes of suspense are all handled with proffesional ease by Bava, which makes for a fun and classy film. As always, Bava's excentricies transcend the admittedly formulaic plot, and his themes (a cursed family heritage,the occult and how people are drawn to it) add to the story. The only reason the film doesn't get five stars is it is not as accesible to non-Bava devotees as some of his other films. It helps immeasurably to already be well-versed in his style of filmmaking. Also, the pace of the film is rather uneven. Once again, this uneven pacing of Bava is typical, and it helps to know his style. Otherwise, this is a fine effort by one of the unsung masters of cinema."
PHANTOM OF THE CASTLE
wdanthemanw | Geneva, Switzerland | 04/21/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Baron Von Kleist is a vague cousin of Count Dracula, Baron von Frankenstein, Mr. Hyde and this old chap - the Phantom of the Opera-. Yes Sir ! Altogether. It's really a pleasure to find them reunited in BARON BLOOD, directed by Mario Bava in 1972. The action is set in a castle ( ghosh !) near Vienna, Austria. Nowadays. Elke Sommer - the girl with the mini-skirt - is in love with the american heir of Baron Blood. And, blinded by love and the fog, they set free the bloody Baron and lose the incantation to send him back to hell ( ghosh ! again ).So the baron, who loves to torture people before killing them, is going to chase the couple but won't bother at all Joseph Cotten, the new owner of the castle.The copy presented in this DVD presentation is first-class with no white or black spots at all. So you will enjoy the long chase in the fog and the interesting special effects. Of course, you have to be, in the first place, a movie lover who is curious and who won't be afraid of the numerous zooms (forwards and backwards) put in BARON BLOOD, a Mario Bava gimmick by excellence.A DVD dedicated to the nostalgic ones."
Bava Gothic Shock Horror
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 09/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Elke Sommer plays Eva Arnold, an architectural student employed on the restoration of Baron von Kleist's creepy castle from the 11th century AD, whose boss introduces her to Peter, Kleist's American nephew, and a real good looker played by an actor who you'd never place as American.
Karl Hummel, the math professor, is played by Massimo Girotti, who stepped off the set of BARON BLOOD and onto the French locations of Bertolucci's LAST TANGO IN PARIS--quite a stretch for our Massimo! Dr. Hummel has a lovely wife, a cottagey-type home in the Austrian village on the outskirts of the castle, and his daughter, Gretchen, a plain-looking redheaded tyke filled with mischief and given to spying. There are so many scenes with Gretchen poking her head through the banister of the staircase, as the grownups talk on downstairs while drinking Austrian wine, that I expected she would get her head caught between the bars. Instead she develops an unexpected acuity and she's the only one who a) can identify Joseph Cotten as Baron Blood and b) can tell Elke Sommer and Peter how to return Baron Blood back to his crypt, from which they have accidentally awoken him. That little girl seems like a nut, and she's ugly as sin, but she's got brains and she's got courage. Later she played an important part in Dario Argento's PROFONDO ROSSO, and still later she was the usher girl in Bava Junior's DEMONS.
BARON BLOOD is a terrifying Mario Bava shocker with a wicked cool performance by Joseph Cotten as the revived Baron von Kleist. In his wheelchair and waxy makeup he seems treacherously close to death. Indeed it's hard to imagine that Cotten himself would be alive for another 20 years after wrapping up his shoot here. His face looks like it's been Botoxed long before anyone had ever heard of the term. And yet his eyes "glow with evil," as little Gretchen notes. She's no dumbkopf that Gretchen. A sinister bond seems to link the little girl with the ageless, cadaverous stranger in town: a takeoff on his role as Uncle Charlie in the Hitchcock-directed SHADOW OF A DOUBT I suppose?"
Robert Cossaboon | The happy land of Walworth, NY | 04/17/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was the supposed sequel to Lisa and the Devil, Bava's shimmering, near-incomprehensible masterpiece. In Baron Blood, Bava has toned the story line down considerably. One of the overiding themes still is cause and effect; that is, in the world of Bava, our actions that we know are wrong but that we do anyhow can have horrifying consequences. At least in this movie, the repercussions manifest themselves in the lifetimes of the principal characters. The story resolution is much more believable (not to say digestable) than Lisa and the Devil. Unfortunately, by stepping a little more into the mainstream with Baron Blood (less risks are taken with the principle characters this time around), Bava has sacrificed much of the haunting uneasiness that made Lisa so enjoyable. He also doesn't have Telly Savalas in this film either!"
Robert Cossaboon | 10/13/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"A reasonably enjoyable film, enhanced by the presence of sexy Elke Sommer and talented Joseph Cotten. Although "Baron Blood" has the characteristic failings of horror films of that era, particularly the non-U.S. ones, I would say that it's superior to most of the others of that time, which tended to be inept and cheaply made."