Blood Bath (1966)

BLOOD BATH (1966)
(a.k.a. TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE)
Article #1100 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Day: 3-19-2004
Posting Day: 8-16-2004
Directed by Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman
Featuring William Campbell, Marissa Mathes, Sandra Knight

My local Creature Feature was in its waning days when this one popped up on it; at the time, I consigned the movie to the rubbish bin as one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen. Watching it again years later, I’m having second thoughts. The movie had a troubled history; Jack Hill was half way through with the movie when he was fired by Roger Corman and replaced by Stephanie Rothman, who was given instructions to incorporate footage from a Yugoslavian vampire movie into the film. That the result is a bloody mess should not come as a surprise; the thing looks like it was edited with a Cuisinart. Still, individual moments shine through; there’s quite a bit of moody footage that looks European rather than American (the bell-ringing scenes, the flocks of birds fluttering off of a building as a shadow passes over them) that I’m willing to bet is the Yugoslavian footage. There’s a good performance from William Campbell, especially in a very moody sequence in which he sees visions of the love of his ancestor in the black canvas he’s working on. There’s several other interesting scenes, though I still have no use for the trippy-on-a-budget ballerina-dancing-in-the-sand sequence. The movie reminds me at times of CARNIVAL OF SOULS (especially a sequence on a merry-go-round) or DEMENTIA 13, but the most striking similarities are with BUCKET OF BLOOD. In fact, I actually began to wonder if the movie was intended as a sequel of sorts to that one, and if the character of Max in this movie is supposed to be the same as the character of Max in that one, that may have been what was in mind. Certainly, the beatnik artists and their hangout have more than just a passing resemblance to characters and places in BUCKET OF BLOOD, and the humor in these sequences is also quite similar. It’s still a badly flawed movie (the ending is creepy but makes no sense), but it’s certainly better than I first considered it.

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