“He sought the ultimate in HUMAN AGONY… with instruments of TORTURE ghastly beyond belief!” Is he talking about Hellraiser? Wait. Wrong decade. Join your faithful Grue Crew – Doc Rotten, Chad Hunt, Bill Mulligan, and Jeff Mohr – as they check out yet another visual treat from the imagination of Mario Bava: Baron Blood (1972).
Decades of Horror 1970s
Episode 155 – Baron Blood (1972)
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A young man, visiting the castle of a murderous ancestor in Austria, accidentally brings his dead relative back to life – searching for new victims.IMDb
- Director: Mario Bava
- Writers: Vincent Fotre (original story & screenplay), Willibald Eser, Mario Bava
- Selected cast:
- Joseph Cotten as Baron Otto von Kleist/Alfred Becker
- Franco Tocci as Baron Otto von Kleist (corpse)
- Elke Sommer as Eva Arnold
- Antonio Cantafora as Peter Kleist
- Massimo Girotti as Dr. Karl Hummel
- Rada Rassimov as Christina Hoffmann/Elizabeth Hölle
- Luciano Pigozzi (as Alan Collins) as Fritz
- Umberto Raho (as Humi Raho) as Inspector
- Nicoletta Elmi as Gretchen Hummel
- Dieter Tressler as Mayor Dortmundt
- Rolf Hälwich as Auctioneer
- Gustavo De Nardo as Dr. Werner Hesse
- Valeria Sabel as Martha Hummel
- Pilar Castel as Madeleine, Hesse’s Nurse
Maybe surprisingly, Baron Blood was chosen not by Bill, our resident Bava maven, but by Chad. The story appeals to him and there were plenty of beautifully shot Bavaesque scenes to enjoy. Jeff also enjoys Baron Blood though he thought some of the execution was a bit clunky. Of course, Bava’s talent is apparent and he loves the castle setting. Bill didn’t care for Bava’s overuse of the zoom-in technique in Baron Blood and it feels to him a little like Bava is redoing some of his earlier films. On the other hand, he appreciates the usual Bava touches in shot setup and composition and he’d love to see more of the witch. Some shots in Baron Blood reminded Doc of House of Wax and The Haunting. He also would like to know, what’s up with the strange little girl in all these films?
Though not Bava’s best film, Baron Blood has plenty going for it. At the time of this writing, Baron Blood is available to stream from Tubi and Kanopy and on a Blu-ray disc from Kino Lorber.
Gruesome Magazine’s Decades of Horror 1970s is part of the Decades of Horror two-week rotation with The Classic Era and the 1980s. In two weeks, the next episode in their very flexible schedule will be Girly (aka Mumsy, Nanny, Sonny & Girl, 1970), chosen by Daphne. Time for bickies and tea!
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