• Bloody Pit Of Horror (Severin Films) Blu-ray Review

    Released by: Severin Films
    Released on: November 26th, 2021.
    Director: Massimo Pupillo
    Cast: Mickey Hargitay, Walter Brandi, Luisa Baratto, Ralph Zucker, Rita Klein, Alfredo Rizzo
    Year: 1965
    Purchase From Severin Films

    Bloody Pit Of Horror – Movie Review:

    Massimo Pupillo’s 1965 picture Bloody Pit Of Horror (also known as The Crimson Executioner, A Tale Of Torture and about a dozen other alternates) opens with a prologue set in the seventeenth century where a man in freakishly tight red pants and a crimson hood is escorted down a staircase into the basement of an ancient castle and placed inside an iron maiden, his blood dripping out the bottom of the torture device that should send him to whatever afterlife may or may not be waiting for him. Shockingly, before he passed, he swears he’ll come back and get his revenge.

    Cue the opening credits and cut to the present of 1965. A writer named Rick (Walter Brandi) and his publisher pal Daniel (Alfredo Rizzo) are working on his latest horror book and they need to secure the perfect location for a photo shoot they need to schedule. When they come across a massive old castle, seemingly untouched for centuries, they figure they’re in luck.

    With their secretary Edith (Luisa Baratto), photographer Dermott (Ralph Zucker) and a few foxy models like Nancy (Rita Klein), Suzy (Barbare Belli), Kinojo (Moa Tahi) and Annie (Femi Benussi) in tow, they group decides to break into the castle they believe to be abandoned. They quickly learn that assumption to be incorrect when they come face to face with Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay), who was at one point a very famous actor who has since become a bit of a recluse. Travis is, quite understandably, rather nonplussed to find that a group has broken into his home, but when he realizes Edith, who was once engaged to him, is involved, his temper quickly cools down and he agrees to let them use the place to stage their shoot, so long as they don’t go into the basement.

    Of course, Anderson turns out to be off his rocker. Believing himself to be the reincarnation of the Crimson Executioner we saw put to death in the opening scene, he’s soon chasing the gang around, torturing women and ranting like a lunatic and getting revenge against… people who haven’t really done anything to him in the first place. The Crimson Executioner is kind of a dick, and so are his henchmen, both of whom wear matching striped shirts (bonus points for the quick scene where one of them reacts to a bat by making a weird grunty noise).

    Bloody Pit Of Horror is a ridiculous film but so too is it a whole lot of fun, thanks in no small part to Hargitay’s performance. As unhinged as it is clearly completely dedicated, he chews through the scenery like a beaver through balsawood, ranting and raving about all manner of things, including his own machismo and his body, and seemingly in a state of perpetual flex. Hey, if you’ve got it, flaunt it, right? He’s in good shape and he clearly wants everyone to know it, never mind that fact that he looks wonky as Hell running about in that getup. Any time Hargitay is on screen doing his thing, the movie is gold, and given that he gets a lot of screen time, the movie’s entertainment value is pretty high throughout.

    The direction from Massimo Pupillo’s (who also helmed Terror-Creatures from the Grave) is decent enough on a technical level and the cinematography from Luciano Trasatti, who was the director of photography on And God Said To Cain, does a really nice job of capturing some pretty cool locations. The gore effects are rarely realistic but definitely have an old school charm to them. It’s difficult to take any of what happens in the film seriously, but it sure is a lot of fun to try.

    Bloody Pit Of Horror – Blu-ray Review:

    Severin Films brings Bloody Pit Of Horror to region free Blu-ray in AVC encoded 1080p high definition framed at 1.85.1 widescreen taken from a new 2k scan of the original uncut Italian negative (this presented uses a title card that reads Il Boia Scarlatto). With the feature taking up 23.3GBs of space on the 25GB disc, the picture quality here is very strong. The colors look absolutely gorgeous, the reds of Hargitay’s outfit in particular really popping, and the black levels are nice and strong. Skin tones always look lifelike and natural and the image is pretty much pristine throughout. We get the natural film grain you’d want in an accurate transfer but you’ll be hard pressed to find much in the way of actual print damage. There are no compression problems, noise reduction issues or edge enhancement quirks to complain about an all in all, this really does look excellent.

    Italian and English language options are provided in 24-bit DTS-HD 2.0 Mono with optional English SDH options included that translate the English track and a separate set of subtitles that translate the Italian track. Both tracks are nicely balanced, clean, clear and free of any noticeable hiss, distortion or sibilance. No complaints here, the audio is just fine. For what it’s worth, the film is way more fun in English, the dubbed dialogue somehow seeming even more ridiculous than it does in Italian.

    The main extra on the disc is an audio commentary with filmmaker David DeCoteau and film historian David Del Valle that starts out with the two of them talking about how they first came to see the film before then going over some of the different titles that the film is known under. They note the similarities to The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism in the opening scenes, the Italian comic book roots of the story and lots of information about who did what behind the camera. They also cover the different cast members that populate the film with lots of talk about Mickey Hargitay and his signature red pants (as well as his relationship with Jane Mansfield), the film's release history, the different torture devices portrayed in the film, the Nietzsche-esque dialogue used by the Crimson Executioner character, details on the career of Ralph Zucker and his involvement in the film, the international nature of Italian productions of this era, the quality of the sets and lighting in the film, some of the many and varied plot and dialogue holes in the film, the locations used in the film, how Hargitay did his own stunts in the movie and more. It's an active and very conversational track with some good information in it.

    Finishing up the extras on the disc are two an alternate opening sequences (one using The Bloody Pit Of Horror title and the second under the A Tale Of Torture alternate title), a U.S. theatrical trailer, menus and chapter selection. It’s also worth pointing out that this release, when purchased through Severin’s website, comes with a really nice, sturdy, embossed slipcover, which is a nice touch.

    Bloody Pit Of Horror – The Final Word:

    Bloody Pit Of Horror is as goofy as they come but damn it all if it isn’t a whole lot of fun. Severin’s Blu-ray release features a pretty interesting commentary as its main extra and presents the feature in absolutely gorgeous condition. A fantastic release for a schlocktastic film!

    Click on the images below for full sized The Bloody Pit Of Horror Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 3 Comments
    1. Gary Banks's Avatar
      Gary Banks -
      I'm looking forward to this. Nothing says the Holiday Season like the Crimson Executioner!!
    1. agent999's Avatar
      agent999 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Gary Banks View Post
      I'm looking forward to this. Nothing says the Holiday Season like the Crimson Executioner!!
      It's a little known fact that the Crimson Executioner was invented by the Coca-Cola corporation in 1931 to capture the key 18-34 year old male sadist demographic. Whilst Coca-Cola had made great inroads into the young female high school graduate category as a method of abortion induction, it was felt that the enthusiastic amateur muscleman rack torturer had little to no brand awareness. Coca-Cola set about to rectify this with a saturation advertising campaign featuring an ungodly amount of breasts and water torture, all set against a festive backdrop of frail young carol singers. Still fondly remembered to this day, the Crimson Executioner is considered one of the finest examples of brand recognition, second only to the creation of Adolf Hitler by PepsiCo.
    1. Barry M's Avatar
      Barry M -
      Looking forward to the return of the mall Crimson Executioners.