A far stupider-than-average Italian horror/trash fest from the mid
sixties. Kinda fun, but don’t expect too much.
The star of BLOODY PIT OF HORROR was the Hungarian born
Mickey Hargitay, a former Mr. Universe and the husband of the late Jayne
Mansfield (and father of Mariska Hargitay). He also headlined quite a
few trash epics, including THE WILD WORLD OF JAYNE MANSFIELD, LADY
FRANKENSTEIN, THE REINCARNATION OF ISABEL and DELIRIUM.
Director Massimo Pupillo also had a “distinguished”
career in trash cinema, directing sleazers like TERROR CREATURES FROM
BEYOND THE GRAVE and scripting the “mondo” movies PRIMITIVE LOVE and
TABOOS OF THE WORLD. Another noteworthy name associated with the film is
future E.T. designer Carlo Rambaldi, who handled the “special” effects.
BLOODY PIT OF HORROR (IL BOIA SCARLATTO), released in
1965, was trimmed of around nine minutes of footage for its U.S.
release, although the DVD version includes the excised footage as an
extra. That DVD was released by Something Weird Video, who specialize in
dredging up archaic exploitation movie trashola; with this film they’ve
A bunch of asshole photographers escort five sexy
models to a seemingly deserted castle. They break into the place hoping
to find a suitably gothic setting for their photo shoot; what they don’t
know is that the castle was once home to the Crimson Executioner, a
sadistic shithead who back in the 17th Century tortured quite
a few unfortunates. Now the castle is owned by a muscle-bound nut named
Travis, who allows the photogs and models to stay the night but tells
them not to venture into the dungeons.
What do or “heroes” do? Sneak down into the dungeons,
of course, and utilize the various torture instruments for their
pictures. But trouble occurs when a spiked board comes loose and impales
one of the men. It appears the Crimson Executioner, dressed in the goofy
red cloak he wore back in the day, has been resurrected!
The killer is actually Travis, who’s gone cuckoo upon
recognizing one of the models as his former fiancée. Travis comes to
believe he’s the reincarnation of the Crimson Executioner, and behaves
accordingly. He spears a man in his car as he tries to escape the
castle, shuts a woman in an iron maiden, sticks another in a giant
spider web and ties several more to a spinning concoction that slashes
their bodies on out-thrust knives. Travis tops off his tortures by
chaining a gal over a fire grill and crucifying another.
Will the Crimson Executioner be caught? Will anyone be
left alive at the conclusion of his rampage? Will you still be awake by
The proceedings might sound gory and exploitive, but
the film is never especially graphic. BLOODY PIT OF HORROR may have been
shocking and outrageous back in the day, but now (as with many Something
Weird Video releases) it seems indifferently paced and overly
restrained. Viewing it often feels like work.
What scant enjoyment the movie provides comes from the
hilariously hammy performance of Mickey Hargitay as the ridiculously
outfitted, often shirtless Crimson Executioner. Since all the other
characters are complete assholes he’s the default hero of the piece, and
42nd Street audiences allegedly cheered him on during the
film’s theatrical run. You may well respond in the same fashion--if you
can manage to sustain interest!