Blood Bath (1976)
By: Mark Nichols on November 15, 2006  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
Subversive Cinema (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.76:1 (16:9 enhanced). English DD 2.0, English DD 1.0. 83 minutes
The Movie
Director: Joel M. Reed
Starring: Starring Harve Presnell, Doris Roberts, P.J. Soles, Sonny Landham, Sharrin Shayne, Jerry Lacy
Screenplay: Joel M. Reed
Music: Michael Sahl
Country: USA
Blood Bath takes place at a dinner party being held by successful horror writer and producer Peter Brown. It is an anthology of four short stories told by the guests: A psychopathic murderer plants a bomb with a twist ending. A hen-pecked husband buys a magical coin that transports him back in time to the Napoleonic era. A loan shark is haunted by a hip Negro ghost for causing his death. A hedonistic karate expert who sells the secrets of the 'Nine Levels' for money pays the ultimate price.

The 'book ends' to these stories involve Peter Brown marrying Satan's daughter in exchange for horror movie making success. Are the rumours true that from this illicit marriage a son was born? You will need to see the film for the disappointing answer!

Joel M. Reed made this anthology before he made Bloodsucking Freaks, and it shows similar traits. The sets are often dark rooms with black curtains as backdrops. The music is awful, as though played on a home organ. The location sound is often poorly recorded. But Reed has written some funny jokes and created a few memorable characters in his script and does not take himself too seriously. Neither do the actors, who appear to be having fun.

I enjoyed this film more a second time, especially the 'smelly French' jokes and the character Ralph Lambert, a 'semi-respectable loan shark' played by Jack Somack. Joel M. Reed best describes this film in his own words, "..I came up with an interesting, but rather bland Twilight Zone".
A nice and crisp transfer from slightly grain/hazy film. Great DVD menu and interface design but disc does not go back to main menu after watching feature or documentary.
When I first watch a DVD I prefer a menu option before the film begins asking me to choose between the original mono soundtrack and the new Dolby 2 stereo mix. Unfortunately this option is in 'Disc Options' so I first watched the poor quality mono version. The stereo version was a lot better but still seemed inaudible in parts.
Extra Features
The pick of the extras are a feature length commentary with Director Joel M. Reed and the Taking a Blood Bath documentary. I actually found the behind the scenes stories in Reed's commentary and this documentary more interesting than the actual film. Among Reed's many anecdotes is how he toned down the content, making this his most mainstream commercial release and how he got funding for his next film Bloodsucking Freaks. The doco also has interviews with cast and crew. Also included are Cast and Crew Biographies, Three large Blood Bath postcards (18.5 cm x 12cm), Blood Bath film poster (24cm x36.5cm), and trailers for Blood Bath, Candy Snatchers, The Gardener, Blue Murder, Metal Skin, and Funny Man.
The Verdict
Obviously Hammer films and the Brits have created better horror anthology films with more money, but Blood Bath is still an awful film despite how nicely Subversive Cinema have dressed up this DVD package.
Movie Score
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