Seeking a gothic background for a horror photo shoot, five sexy cover girls and a handful of photographers break into what they assume is an uninhabited castle and are soon taking a series of macabre stills in its dungeon.... more » But--surprise!--residing in the castle is demented actor Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay) who thinks he's the reincarnation of The Crimson Executioner, a 17th century madman whose body is entombed in the castle's iron maiden. When Travis recognizes one of the models as his former fiancee, his already unhinged mind completely snaps. He gleefully subjects the trespassers to a variety of bizarre and elaborately-conceived tortures: "The Crimson Executioner cries out for blood!"« less
"This is definitely a MUST PURCHASE DVD for any die-hard euro-horror fan! This ridiculous and extremely entertaining 1965 Italian horror-romp stars Mickey Hargitay (Jayne Mansfield's husband) as "The Crimson Executioner". He struts around bare-chested wearing red tights and admiring his muscular body in the mirror as he rubs it all over with oil. When a film crew comes to his castle, he starts torturing and killing them off one by one, overacting all the way! Mickey is a true ham and jumps around the screen like a lunatic throughout. One great highlight is a room with a giant spiderweb and a hungry spider. And then, of course, there's the torture chamber. There's a rotating torture device that Mickey ties bikini-clad women up to and as it turns a sharp blade rips and tears at their skimpy brassieres and lightly scrapes their flesh! And with Mickey running around half-naked throughout in his red tights, were they also going for a gay audience? It's all quite tame by today's standards, but at the time, this must have been quite a sensation! It's a great sleaze-trash classic NOT TO BE MISSED! The DVD presents the film in it's U.S. 73-minute abbreviated version. 9 minutes were trimmed out of the complete version ("A Tale of Torture") by it's American distributor. The deleted scenes are included as a supplement (including the alternate title sequence), but it's too bad they didn't restore the footage back into the film. Something Weird offers the complete 83 minute version "A Tale of Torture" on VHS under the "Bloody Pit" title so you would have thought this would be the same print. BUT it's not... maybe because the print used here looks a lot better than the "Torture" print and it's fully letterboxed whereas the "Torture" print was only marginally letterboxed. Also, the movie has never looked better than this transfer...the colors are vibrant and sharp and the detail is quite good (although there is some minor artifacting). So, having the deleted scenes as a supplement only was probably a good decision.Other extras include a rather worn (and kind of lame) U.S. trailer, a clip from the movie "Primitive Love" with Jayne and Mickey shot around the same time and another clip called "Cover Girl Slaughter" which shows a lurid magazine cover photo shoot featuring women staged in murder or death scenes (mildly amusing). The best extra is the gallery of exploitation art and ad-slicks for lots of ultra-rare horror and trash flicks from the 60's and 70's. It's accompanied by an audio track of rare radio spots including the notorious "Last House on the Left" - It's Only a Movie spot, the "Mark of the Devil" - Vomit Bag spot and many more! All in all a great DVD. Buy It Now!"
Bloody Pit of Fun!
D. Holt | laurel, md USA | 11/24/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"STORY: Seeking a gothic background for a horror photo shoot, five sexy cover girls and a handful of photographers break into what they assume is an uninhabited castle and are soon taking a series of macabre stills in its dungeon. But--surprise!--residing in the castle is demented actor Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay) who thinks he's the reincarnation of The Crimson Executioner, a 17th century madman whose body is entombed in the castle's iron maiden. When Travis recognizes one of the models as his former fiancee, his already unhinged mind completely snaps. He gleefully subjects the trespassers to a variety of bizarre and elaborately-conceived tortures: "The Crimson Executioner cries out for blood!" PICTURE: 4/5 Where did Something Weird Video get this print? It looks great! Bloody Pit of Horror is shown here in PsychoVision (1.85:1) and like i said looks great. The picture is sharp with nice stong colors and deep blacks. I only saw two scenes that had print damage and it was not distracting at all. Overall, a great looking picture for such a old film. SOUND: 4/5 The sound is Mono English dubbed and sounds very good. The track is clean and sounds clear. EXTRAS: 3/5 You get some really weird stuff here. First you get the films trailer which does not look no where as good as the film looks. Next you get some deleted scenes, a long art galley with some cool radio spot for a ton of other films and some weird short films. OVERALL: 5/5 If your a fan of movies that are so bad that there good, then this DVD of Blood Pit of Horror is for you. Pick it up today. Plus, Mickey Hargitay's performance as the Crimson Executioner is so crazy and goofy, you have to see it!"
"You'd have to be a creep to live in a place like this."
cookieman108 | Inside the jar... | 12/20/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Back in the day it wasn't uncommon for producers to take foreign made films and change the names of the cast and crew, apparently to assist in passing them off to xenophobic American audiences...subsequently, Bloody Pit of Horror (1965), originally titled Il Boia scarlatto, directed by Max Hunter aka Massimo Pupillo (Django Kills Softly), co-written by Robert McLoren aka Romano Migliorini (Kill, Baby... Kill!) and Robert Christmas aka Roberto Natale (Vengeance Is My Forgiveness), features Walter Brandt aka Walter Brandi (Curse of the Blood Ghouls), Louise Barret aka Luisa Baratto (Two Pistols and a Coward), Alfred Rice aka Alfredo Rizzo (Go with God, Gringo), Barbara Nelly aka Barbara Nelli (The Amazing Doctor G), Nick Angel aka Nando Angelini (The War of the Planets), Femi Martin aka Femi Benussi (Finders Killers ), along with those whose names didn't need changing like Rita Klein (Tarzak Against the Leopard Men), Moa Tahi (Dr. Goldfoot and the Girl Bombs), Ralph Zucker (King of Kong Island), and Mickey Hargitay, one time Mr. Universe and ex-husband to blonde bombshell Jayne Mansfield, and one of a number of muscle men to venture abroad to make sword and sandal pictures.
The movie, claiming to be based on the writings of the Marquis De Sade, begins in the year 1648, where we see The Crimson Executioner, who has recently been tried and convicted for torturing and killing the innocent, being put to death by one of his own, macabre devices, but not before he issues a bunch of nonsense about returning from the grave and avenging his own death...yadda, yadda, yadda...anyway, his body is sealed in a funky iron maiden in his castle, which is left standing as a constant reminder of his crimes against humanity. Fast forward to the present, and we see a crew of photographers and models arriving at a castle (I'm betting its The Crimson Executioner's old digs), as they're looking to take some lurid cover shots for some horror novels. Also along is Rick (Brandi), author of the novels (he's former investigative reporter) and Edith (Baratto), the wardrobe and make up girl. Nobody answers, so they bust in, only to discover the joint is home to reclusive actor Travis Anderson (Hargitay), star of various muscle man films. At first Anderson is adamant that they leave, that is until he sees Edith, who seems on the frumpy side, but you can tell she's hiding quite the bushel in her basket. Anyway, as you can imagine, the group, who now has limited permission to use the castle (the dungeons are out of bounds), begins shooting, and someone accidentally breaks the seal to The Crimson Executioner's tomb...uh oh...and now the killings begins, as Anderson has become possessed by the spirit for the long dead executioner, in a sequence I won't soon forget. As he's donning The Crimson Executioner's attire (a scarlet cape, hood, tights, ill-fitting black mask, and huge, gold medallion), he starts slicking up his muscled frame (from a chalice full of oil he had handy), spewing forth the following bit of dialog...
`I was forced to retreat to this castle. Mankind is made up of inferior creatures...spiritually and physically deformed who would have corrupted the harmony of my perfect body.'
He yaps on like this for a while, before finally getting down to business, that being killing those who deserve killing...which is just about everyone, as The Crimson Executioner's thirst for vengeance is insatiable...
While this isn't the trashiest European feature I've ever seen, it's certainly the trashiest homoerotic European feature I've ever seen. One thing's for sure, Hargitay, who's certainly no actor (he used that `1,000 yard stare' expression a little too often), sure had screen presence, oily as it was...he seemed almost get into his role a little too well, perhaps as it appealed to some repressed, sadistic tendencies (`roid rage?). This thing is worth getting alone for his climatic transformation scene where he starts spouting off about `purity' and the `harmony of his perfect body', rubbing oil onto his bare chest, all while staring lovingly at himself in the mirror. Another favorite scene of mine is when Hargitay, in full Crimson Executioner mode, deals with the annoying, self important publisher, locked in a cage, over a pit of fiery coals. Huzzah for the Executioner! I normally wouldn't condone torture, but given some of the irritating characters populating this movie, I was willing to make an exception. Be sure to check out Hargitay's character's henchmen...they were all dressed the same, in white pants and blue and white striped shirts, resembling those henchmen type characters often found in the old Batman television series. The only thing `corrupting the purity' of this film was the lack of a strong hero type, Walter Brandi hardly fit the bill, even despite his best efforts. He was decent looking, but seemed a little paunchy and out of shape to meet the physical demands of his character. The script, while nothing to write home about, is actually better than expected, featuring some decent comic touches, probably the best one listed below as two models are talking...
Blonde Model: I'm not just a dumb blonde, you know. Brunette Model: Who says you're a blonde?
There's no actual nekkidness in the movie, but plenty of scantily clad females, along with some key set pieces intended to obscure our view of any, possible nekkidness. The various torture devices display (and used) were interesting, if you're into that kind of thing. There's some blood, but nothing really over the top, but then again, this was made in the mid 1960s, so the gore content is expectably low. Also, the location shooting in the castle was very cool, especially the dungeon sequences. One thing seemed strange and that was the film seemed a little too short, running all of 74 minutes, but then I read some of the material was removed to accommodate fitting this film into a double bill with another feature, for its American release. The deleted sequence in the extra features section provides the material removed, filling in the gaps for the American release.
The widescreen (1.85:1) picture quality on this Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment DVD release is very sharp and clean, and the Dolby Digital mono audio comes through clearly. If you're interested in quality (in picture and audio), I'd recommend going with the Image Entertainment release as I know there are some other companies out there who've also released shoddier versions this film on DVD, at a less expensive price. As far as extras, included on this DVD is liner notes from director Frank Henenlotter (director of the films Brain Damage and Basket Case), deleted footage (15:52) featuring an alternative/extended opening sequence (with the title A Tale of Torture), an excerpt from a goofy flick titled Primitive Love (4:50), featuring Mickey Hargitay and Jayne Mansfield in a black haired wig, an excerpt from Cover Girl Slaughter (3:29), a rough, theatrical trailer for Bloody Pit of Horror, and a gallery of exploitation art featuring Horrorama radio-spot rarities. All in all a three star film with an extra star for strength of the Something Weird Video/Image Entertainment DVD release...they did an excellent job.
GET THE OTHER VERSION
T. A. Hansen | eagan, mn USA | 02/25/2004
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Unless you need to save a few bucks, get the Image Entertainment version. I purchased this version and was acutually suprised by the plot and acting, it's pretty good. The picture and sound quality are terrible. The images seem bleached and washed out. Many of the opening credits are not discernable."
Bloody Pit of Horror is pure exploitation gold!
Matt | Damnation | 08/03/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Heed the editorial review above if you're big on high quality picture and sound. Otherwise, I imagine this film to be in much the same condition now as it was for audiences in the 60's. The DVD format doesn't really bring anything to the final product but I would think owning a copy that is almost guaranteed never to ware out would be reason enought to purchase it. If it's not, then the extra features such as the deleted scenes, theatrical trailers to coming attractions, and gallery of exploitation art and radio spots should suffice to cement your resolve.Okay, now that I have gotten past the technical mumbo jumbo I can move on to the good stuff. The story here is a tried and true vehicle. People go to castle to take sleazy pictures, owner of castle believes he's the reincarnation of a 17th century executioner, begins bumping off models in increasingly inventive ways, and hilarity ensues. Mickey Hargitay is outrageously over the top as Travis Anderson (aka the Crimson Executioner). His acting here, if you can call it that, makes William Shatner look subdued by comparison. The dialog is characteristically naive, which is to say that people's reactions to situations are a bit unrealistic to say the least. You'll also get a kick out of the supposed Inquisition era torture devices that the Crimson Executioner uses to torment his unwitting victims.All around this movie is superb. Its sub par acting and other shortcomings are incidental to its sheer entertainment value. Something Weird video has done a great service in digging up these forgotten films and revamping them. For that they should be commended."