Var­ied vam­pire ver­sions

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 30 May 1966 | 15 | Blu-ray

Di­rec­tors ra­dos No­vakovic, Jack Hill, stephanie roth­man

Cast Wil­liam Camp­bell, anna Pa­vane, Pa­trick Magee, Kerry an­der­son, sid Haig

Are you sit­ting com­fort­ably? Then we’ll be­gin. Be­cause Blood Bath has pos­si­bly the most com­plex his­tory of any film – ever!

Back in 1963, Yu­gosla­vian crime drama Operacija Ti­ci­jan (Oper­a­tion Ti­tian) was pro­duced by Roger Cor­man. This dubbed black and white film con­cerns a gang­ster (Pa­trick Magee) who clashes with a dis­turbed artist (Wil­liam Camp­bell). Un­sat­is­fied, Cor­man had it re-edited into Por­trait In Ter­ror, which cuts out the begin­ning but adds other bits.

In 1966 Cor­man got di­rec­tor Jack Hill to take around 10 min­utes of footage from Por­trait In Ter­ror and shoot a new story in Cal­i­for­nia around it, with added beat­niks and hor­ror. Then di­rec­tor Stephanie Roth­man came in and shot more new footage, adding a vam­pire to the mix! This was Blood Bath. Then a fur­ther 17 min­utes of footage – some new, some from the orig­i­nal Yu­gosla­vian film – was added and it was sold to TV as Track Of The Vam­pire. Phew! So... is it a good movie? Not par­tic­u­larly.

This pack­age fea­tures all four ver­sions. Watch­ing either Blood Bath or Track – the vam­pire ones – is like get­ting drunk with­out touch­ing a drop. Some parts are shot with style and are heavy with at­mos­phere, and there’s an imag­i­na­tive cli­max, but it’s to­tally in­co­her­ent – an in­sane mish­mash – and hor­ren­dously padded with, for ex­am­ple, a silent eight-minute chase and an ut­terly point­less four-minute dance on a beach. Your brain will fry.

Extras The best watch is the 82-minute fea­turette in which Video Watch­dog editor Tim Lu­cas ex­plains the crazy evo­lu­tion of th­ese movies – it’s im­mensely de­tailed and ab­so­lutely fas­ci­nat­ing. You also get a five-minute in­ter­view with ac­tor Sid Haig, a four-minute one with Jack Hill, and a gallery. A 40-page book­let and poster com­plete the pack­age. Rus­sell Lewin

Fran­cis Ford Cop­pola was a story editor on Blood Bath, while fu­ture Star Wars pro­ducer Gary Kurtz was a sound tech­ni­cian.

Fred the bar­ber had aw­fully chilly hands.

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