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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Reel Bad Cinema: Blood Bath (1975) review


It doesn't matter who stars in this one, but the mother from EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND and P.J. Soles are in this hilarious mess of a movie!!

Directed by Joel M. Reed

A group of socialites involved in a horror production by a creepy director have dinner together and exchange tales of terror and extreme hilarity.

From the director of BLOODSUCKING FREAKS (1976) comes this turkey of titanic proportions. It's an anthology horror comedy flick. It's difficult to tell if the makers intended to make something this damn hilarious, but judging from the fascinating commentary track, Reed was well aware his tongue was lodged inside his cheek. Watching this thing one gets the impression they were going for a darkly humorous attempt at capturing the old EC comics flavor. But this gallows humor falls way short of being witty. Instead, it's just plain ridiculous and unintentionally funny.

"Quiet! You're gonna act like that, I just won't turn you on anymore!"--You'll just have to see the damn movie

If you've seen Reed's other films, than you know kind of what to expect here. It's nowhere near approaching the misogynistic level of depravity found in BLOODSUCKING FREAKS, nor is it as dreadfully boring as his Nazi zombie opus, NIGHT OF THE ZOMBIES (1981; not to be confused with the Bruno Mattei favorite, HELL OF THE LIVING DEAD from 1980). Reed's movie has poverty row production values, but is nonetheless ambitious, if hopelessly stupid. Probably the best bit of trivia about BLOOD BATH is that Sylvester Stallone went to audition, but Reed lost his resume!

Still, a bad movie buff will have oodles of fun with this mind numbingly retarded exercise in bad acting, bad special effects and even worse storytelling. You'll laugh and you'll cry at the absolute ludicrousness of the whole thing. While the entire film has a cheerfully goofy charm, nothing prepares you for the sheer amount of guffaws induced by the brilliantly asinine fourth story. But first, the tales in order of their appearance--

First off is this non horror yarn about a professional hitman whose latest target may prove to be his undoing. This is an odd story to start off a movie entitled BLOOD BATH, but there is a doomed woman that is seen taking a bath prior to being snuffed out by the hitman. This entry, while not horror, has a slight EC flavor to it by way of poetic justice during the closing moments.

The second story deals with an unhappily married bookworm who seeks an escape from his wife with the help of a mysterious gypsy. She gives him a magical talisman and proceeds to wish for what any normal red blooded American man would ask for--to partake in the Napoleonic wars of the 19th century. This one makes little to no sense and may have just been done to add a little flavor by having a half baked segment in a period setting. This one has the blood courtesy of a bloody severed mannequin leg and arm.

The third tale of terrible is actually pretty funny, but not because of anything found in the script. Here, a Scroogeish loan shark gets locked in his own vault with the ghost of Earl Simmons, a dead man who lost his car to the stingy money lover. When we first meet the ghost he just stands there shouting, "BooooooOOOOOOOOO!!!!" for a minute or so till we get any actual dialog out of him. Turns out Earl can't get "upstairs" till he gets his car signed back over to him(???) If not, he'll haunt the man for the rest of his life. This one has a pretty grim finish.


Yes, that's Doris Roberts (right) from EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND

Conrad! You've been a bad boy!

If this is a "kung fu school", why is everyone wearing Japanese gi's?

That brings us to the biggest joke story of them all. This one involves a greedy American student of Shaolin charging exorbitant amounts of cash to teach that which shouldn't be taught. Proficient in the "Nine Ultimate Secrets of Self Defense", he wants to learn the tenth, but it comes at a price. This segment contains the absolute WORST attempt at "choreography" I've ever seen. Not since the 'A Fistful of Yen' mini movie in THE KENTUCKY FRIED MOVIE (1977) has their been such a downright sidesplitting short featuring kung fu.

The "fights" are the pits and the participants make no attempt whatsoever at looking believable. The whole idea that the secret sect would learn of the traitorous student teaching outsiders by way of a newspaper with the headline, "Kung Fu Master Opens Supermarket" is nonsensical in the extreme and probably intentionally so. Also, the meeting between Phil and "Chung, servant of Lam, the strongest fighter of the Wang School" has the two sit down and share a feast of American style Chinese food(???) complete with egg rolls just prior to the big duel with Lam(e).

Are you kidding me?

Then comes the above mentioned big "duel" with the armless and legless Lam(e), or whatever the hell his name is. The actor that says his name is dubbed in a fashion not unlike the Asian scientist in ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES (1977) and it's difficult to ascertain just what he's saying with the Elmer Fuddian delivery. In addition, the way the other "actors" pronounce 'Shaolin' gave me the giggles. It reminded me of Rudy Ray Moore's articulation of Shaolin as 'Shalon'. Here, two different individuals pronounce the famed temple of hundreds of kung fu flicks as Showlin(???) and Shaylin(???).

And that's P.J. Soles being terrorized by Conrad

From there, we get the bizarre wraparound that ties in with the dreamlike opening showing the director getting married to the Devil's daughter. At the end, we see the director's son, Conrad, hidden and locked away from prying eyes. When the creature breaks out, kills a few people and briefly menaces P.J. Soles, it looks amazingly like 'Three Fingers' from the WRONG TURN movies.

I first saw BLOOD BATH on Elvira's Movie Macabre back in the mid 1980's where it got frequent showings. It didn't appeal to me then and it doesn't appeal to me now, not in the good movie sense, anyways. Taken as the goofy trash it truly is, one will definitely have a fun time with this one, especially the last two tales. Proceed at your own risk if you're expecting anything resembling a good movie, though. This one's strictly for trash collectors and bad movie buffs.

This review is representative of the Subversive Cinema DVD (RIP)

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