Sometimes you are in the mood for a movie that's arty, classy and Italian... And other times you just want something like The Bloody Pit of Horror which is only one of the above!
Yes, it's demented Italian exploitation time again! And The Bloody Pit of Horror AKA The Scarlet Executioner and Some Virgins for the Hangman (!) is packed with that kind of absolute nonsense done with demented panache that only Italians can muster. The plot, such as it is, is very simple - a group of models and photographers rock up to a castle for a shoot. There's nobody home, and they do what anyone would do in the same situation - so they break in. However there is somebody home - former actor Travis, who oddly doesn't call the police instantly.
Or perhaps not so oddly. For the castle was once the home of a maniac called the Crimson Executioner who was tried and ironically executed for murder and torture. But guess what? The Crimson Executioner - imagine the Phantom in red and with his shirt off - walks again! And one by one our merry band of dopey photographers and airhead models are bumped off in a variety of amusing (and usually medieval) ways.
Now on one hand, this movie could be seen as both a proto-slasher and a vintage slice of torture porn. Indeed back in the day, this movie was refused a certificate in the UK due to it heavily featuring scantily-clad lovelies being tortured by a leering maniac in pantomime fetish gear...
...Or possibly just because it was rubbish! ...
Anyhow, the thing is, while The Bloody Pit of Horror does indeed feature all of the above, this isn't some Swinging '60s version of Saw. Yes, there is torture but it's not particularly graphic. And more importantly when the whole production has a script that sounds like its been cannibalised from a Scooby Doo episode - yes, folks it's not hard to guess the identity of the Crimson Executioner - and is executed in the same colourful way as the Adam West Batman series, any gruesomeness is quickly negated by the glorious camp of the movie.
And most camp of all is the Crimson Executioner himself, played with a demented glee by Mickey Hargitay, who easily could have been a foe for West and Ward. I mean, one victim is killed in a gigantic spider web, completely with arrow booby traps and a slowly advancing mechanical poisonous spider! Even better, at one point he pauses in his murder spree to deliver an arch bit of evil villain monologing while lustily watching himself in a mirror oiling up his pecs!
Yes, folks this movie is camper than a field of tents! It's horrible daft and daftly horrible, and stratospherically over the top. The script is clumsy, the acting atrocious and the story line ridiculous, so obviously, I loved it! It's absolutely brilliant for all the right wrong reasons! Highly recommended!
JIM MOON, 25th September 2013