Saturday, October 20, 2012

Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

Mickey Hargitay had an interesting career to say the least. A former Mister America who married Jane Mansfield, he found himself in films such as "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?" and "Promisies...Promises." However, he soon found himself getting work in Italy, with credits including "Black Magic Rites", "Delerium" and "Lady Frankenstein." However, his most well known work in the genre is 1965's "Bloody Pit of Horror", which was directed by Massimo Pupillo*.

Hargitay stars as The Crimson Executioner, who centuries ago was executed for committing horrendous acts of murder and sadism. In the present (1965), a group of bikini models, a photographer and his crew break into a castle for a photo shoot. There fun ends when castle owner Travis Anderson (Hargitay again), who at first is okay with this, but has an ulterior motive: he believes that he's The Crimson Executioner reincarnated, and he's got some plans revolving around torture for his guests.

The evil side of Space Ghost

The main reason to watch this is Hargitay, who chews scenery in a way that's worthy of admiration. There's been plenty of over the top madmen in horror, but The Crimson Executioner delivers speeches, torture and exclamations with so much zeal that one wonders if the actor is a bit too into his role. This is also a movie that's apparently something of a hit among gay horror fans, as the camera seems to be obsessed with Hargitay's sweat glistening body. There doesn't seem to be a moment that passes by in which we don't get a glimpse of the guy, and I have to wonder if the homoerotic imagery was unintentional or if the director and/or cinematographer was enamored with the man's physique.

Apart from that, I can't really call this a good movie (the other performances are bland at best, the pacing is a bit too slow at times and the conclusion kinda fizzles), but for fans of earlier horror/exploitation films, this is worth a viewing. Here, you get plenty of what typified these kinds of movies (a bit of female skin, some minor gore, torture scenes that were pretty strong for the time and a fun score by Gino Peguri) so that if this is your kind of thing, you will definitely get a kick out of it. Plus, the whole thing is so ridiculous and over the top that it's hard not to get into it for the large part. If anything, it would make a fun double bill with "The Brain that Wouldn't Die."

Raiding the local Halloween display proved to be most beneficial for the filmmakers

As a whole, there's little about this movie that's "good" in the traditional sense. If you are an avid lover of schlock at it's most over the top, then you'll probably get a kick out of it.

Rating: 6.5/10

*Pupillo's other credits in the genre are "Terror Rises From the Grave", "Lady Morgan's Vengeance" and "Django Kills Softly." Interestingly enough, he was a writer for "Primitive Love", which starred Hargitay and Mansfield.

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