All four versions of Blood Bath are included in this May 30th, 2016 release from indie distributor Arrow Films, a mighty fine compilation of one o executive producer Roger Corman's most unique projects.
As the story goes, Corman invested in a Yugoslavian film called Operation Titian just before it began production. Insisting that the film be made in English, Corman sent over William Campbell and Patrick Magee to act in the film along with an uncredited story editor by the name of Francis Ford Coppola. Ultimately unhappy with the finished product, he first turned it into a drive-in quality product called Portrait in Terror then turned it over to Jack Hill (Spider Baby) followed by Stephanie Rothman (Terminal Island). Both of the latter filmmakers would end up doing reshoots with the finished product essentially becoming a vampire flick, though to make things more interesting eventually a television version was ordered and it became known as Track of the Vampire.
Got all that?
The final film clocked in at a remarkably slight 62 minutes, though some would swear it was too long and both Hill and Rothman eventually disassociated themselves from the film. Indeed, the television version of the film is nothing short of godawful and even in the cinematic version the performances range from godawful to passable.
So, why a "B"?
It's Roger Corman, silly.
Okay, technically Corman didn't direct it but Corman's aura is all over the film and it's such a fun curiosity that it's hard not to completely adore the film even in its most awful moments.
In the film, William Campbell stars as Sordi, a painter who invites models to his bell tower studio where he kills them, covers them in wax and paints their portraits. There's a storyline involving reincarnation, both his and that of Dorean (Lori Saunders). He kills a friend of Dorean's, Daisy (Playboy Playmate Marissa Mathes), and Daisy's sister (Sandra Knight). Indie horror icon Sid Haig is even here as one of a group of artists who come to the rescue. As one might expect given Corman's involvement, there's a bit of a twist in how everything actually plays out.
While certainly not anywhere near the best film to have Corman's name attached to it, Blood Bath is still an awful lot of fun and a quality B-movie. It's a blast getting to watch all 4 versions of the film and Arrow has, as usual, included a wealth of special content including:
• Limited Edition collection of the complete Blood Bath
• High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation of four versions of the film: Operation Titian, Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire
• Brand new 2K restorations of Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire from original film materials
• Brand new reconstruction of Operation Titian using original film materials and standard definition inserts • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on all four versions
• The Trouble with Titian Revisited – a brand new visual essay in which Tim Lucas returns to (and updates) his three-part Video Watchdog feature to examine the convoluted production history of Blood Bath and its multiple versions
• Bathing in Blood with Sid Haig – a new interview with the actor, recorded exclusively for this release
• Archive interview with producer-director Jack Hill
• Stills gallery
• Double-sided fold-out poster featuring original and newly commissioned artworks
• Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Dan Mumford
• Limited edition booklet containing new writing on the film and its cast by Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt, Cullen Gallagher and Peter Beckman
Blood Bath is available May 30th in this limited edition Blu-ray release; Fans of Corman and fans of hilariously awful yet fun B-movies will want to snatch this one up.
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic