BLOOD OF THE IRON MAIDEN (1970)
(a.k.a. IS THIS TRIP REALLY NECESSARY?)
Article #1450 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-4-2005
Posting Date: 8-1-2005
Directed by Ben Benoit
Featuring Marvin Miller, Peter Duryea, Carole Kane
An actress gets the lead in a movie, not aware that the director specializes in nudies and intends to use drugs on her during the filming.
Let’s start out this one by taking a look at those titles. The first title of this movie, BLOOD OF THE IRON MAIDEN does seem to promise a certain amount of blood and an iron maiden. Yes, the movie does provide both, but there’s only about two seconds of blood and ten seconds of iron maiden. In fact, the blood is caused by a cursed suit of armor rather than the iron maiden, so the title isn’t even accurate. I would say that anyone attracted to the movie by this title would walk away disappointed.
The other title is IS THIS TRIP REALLY NECESSARY?, and whatever you think of that one, at least it asks a pertinent question. The word “trip” has a double meaning of course, and a good part of the movie does involve drug use. At any rate, let’s cover some of the features of this movie so you can decide if it is really necessary or not.
This movie has –
Ten minutes of leering (the opening scene, in which the director consistently tries to convince auditioning actresses to take off their clothes).
No nudity (despite the fact that the movie opens with ten minutes of the director trying to talk auditioning actresses into taking off their clothes).
Lot’s of subpar psychedelic music by a group known as Weeds End. Never heard of them? You’re not alone (as well as lucky).
John Carradine cribbing lines from both Shakespeare and Groucho Marx.
Low-budget drug trips.
John Carradine trying to bring a woman down from her drugged stupor by using electroshock therapy, brandy, laughing gas, and really strong coffee.
A scene where the director inspires his cameraman by telling him a story about a kamikaze pilot with a bullet in his head. Incidentally, this is the funniest scene in the movie.
The director’s vision of a guru’s dream. This consists of drugged-out actresses in Arabian Nights costumes dancing around a mirror ball.
With this information in hand, I feel I can answer the pertinent question posed by the title. The answer is no.
However, if they changed the title to IS THIS TRIP REALLY DUMB?, that would be another matter entirely…
The fantastic content? Probably a combination of Carradine’s slightly addled scientist character, a haunted suit of armor (so they say), and the psychedelic sequences.
P.S. According to an email I received from Glenn Abenathy, the Carol Kane in this movie is actually a different actress named Carole Kane, so I’ve removed the part of the review that says this is Carol Kane’s debut acting performance. Thanks for the correction, Glenn.