Bloody Pit of Horror (1965)

Seeking locations to use for photographs for a series of horror books, a group stumbles on what they believe to be a deserted castle. The castle happens to have been the former home of The Crimson Executioner – a centuries old murderer who was himself put to death in his own castle, but not before putting a curse on anyone who enters his castle. Of course, the castle isn’t deserted, but instead is the home of a retired actor seeking solitude. He allows the group to spend one night and get as many photos as they can. His one request – don’t go into the dungeon. Naturally, our group of photographers and models immediately make a beeline for the lower levels of the castle and discover an array of torture devices. The devices, it seems, will make good props for their photos. But something goes wrong and one of the male models is killed by falling spikes. Was it an accident or is there a murderer in the castle? It’s not long before other members of the group begin to disappear. Has The Crimson Executioner come back to make good on his threat?

– I honestly don’t know when I’ve had this much fun watching a movie. In general, I hate the term “so bad it’s good”. But in this case, I think it applies like nowhere else. Bloody Pit of Horror has most of the trappings that are present in movies I look for – a big creepy castle, a dungeon, torture devices, scantily clad women, and a bizarre madman bent on killing everyone. What the movie lacks, however, is effective atmosphere and believability. But, if you don’t take things too seriously, it’s a nice little ride.

– The madman is played by the one time husband of Jayne Mansfield, Mickey Hargitay. Hargitay is one of those Mr. Universe types. While he may not be much of an actor, he is wonderful as The Crimson Executioner. There have been killers in other movies who enjoy their “work”, but none can match the enthusiasm of The Crimson Executioner. Toward the end of the movie, he traps everyone who is still alive in his torture chamber. Watching him literally run and jump from one torture device to the next is like watching a kid on Christmas morning. He actually has an orgasmic look on his face as he puts one of his victims on the rack. And his “costume” is just too much. He wears red tights, a red hood, a black leather belt, and a black mask that covers his eyes.

– Another thing to keep an eye (or ear) on is the dialogue. The Crimson Executioner has some of the “best” lines I’ve ever heard. He goes on and on about how perfect his body is. And, how he must kill the people who have come into his castle to preserve the purity of his body. My favorite of these monologues takes place in front of a mirror. As The Crimson Executioner applies a liberal coating of oil to his chest he says, “Mankind is made up of inferior creatures, spiritually and physically deformed, who would have corrupted the harmony of my perfect body.” You just don’t hear lines like that in just any old movie – it takes something special like Bloody Pit of Horror

– There are so many other points of the movie I would like to write about, but they really must be seen to be believed. For example, The Crimson Executioner has a group of henchmen that dress in matching outfits. It’s as if they’re appearing on the 1960s Batman television program. Another example, the reaction of the crew after one of their co-workers is killed. Do they immediately leave the castle like normal people would? No – they decide to finish their work in the castle for extra money and call the police in the morning. Yet another example, the room with the giant spider web, mechanical spider, and arrows that shoot from the wall is simply sublime. I could go on for days.