Vampires in the big city! Beatniks! Sid Haig! Yesireebob, this movie has everything but actual entertainment value.
I had my suspicions of what I was about to get myself into when I saw the American International Pictures logo appear in the opening credits of Blood Bath (1965). The 62 minute run-time also strongly suggested I was in for a stinker, and, boy, was I.
Blood Bath is the tale of a modern vampire prowling the streets of Venice, but which Venice? You know you’re in trouble when the movie’s description and its contents can’t seem to agree. The description says it’s Venice, CA, but the plot involved an 11th century artist and his bell tower abode, so I’m guessing we’re supposed to be in Italy.
A little digging into the film’s production explains the conflict, which, if your know AIP, you can probably guess involved the penny-pinching hand of Roger Corman. It turns out ol’ Rog had a bunch of footage lying around from a movie called “Operation Titan,” shot by Francis Ford Coppola in then Yugoslavia. The movie was deemed unworthy of a US release, so Roger hired writer and director Jack Hill to come up with a movie that could use that footage. Hill shot that movie, whose plot involved a murderous sculptor, but Roger didn’t like that one either. So he shelved that movie for a year before hiring Stephanie Rothman to revise the movie, change the sculptor to a vampire, and shoot additional footage. Thus, Blood Bath was born.
This is one bath that should have been thrown out with the baby.
The movie concerns a bunch of people you’ll never care if you ever see again living the Bohemian life in either Venice, Italy or Venice, CA. All of the female leads are brunettes with names that start with “D,” so you’ll probably forget who’s who in the hour it takes you to get through the movie. A mysterious painter named “Sordi” is the current hot commodity and his paintings of nude, dead women are selling like hot cakes, much to the displeasure of artist, Max, who considers Sordi to be a sellout. Max, the ringleader of a small cadre of beatnik artists, is trying to push Art’s boundaries with such techniques as “quantum painting” (a technique that literally involves shooting a paintball gun at a partially completed canvas). When Max’s girlfriend/model Daisy goes missing after posing for Sordi, Daisy’s roommate and her sister (Dorean and Donna, respectively—see I told you!) become concerned and try to discover what happened to her. Complicating matters is the fact that Dorean is dating a dreamy new artist—Sordi, himself.
A bunch more stuff happens, including dream sequences and a witch/vampire lover of Sordi from the 11th century. Then the dead walk, somebody screams, and the movie ends. You now know everything you ever need to know about Blood Bath. Go do something productive with the 62 minutes of your life I just saved you from squandering.
Blood Bath earns 1 skull out of 5 and that’s only because I found Sid Haig and the rest of the beatnik artists moderately amusing.