Varied vampire versions
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.