Baron Blood – Italy | West Germany, 1972 – reviews

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‘He sought the ultimate in human agony… with instruments of torture ghastly beyond belief!’

Baron Blood – original title: Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga “The Horror of Castle Nuremberg” – is a 1972 Italian/German horror feature film directed by Mario Bava (Shock; A Bay of Blood; Black Sabbath; Black Sunday) from a screenplay by Vincent Fotre.

The movie stars Joseph Cotten (Lady Frankenstein), Elke Sommer (Lisa and the Devil), Massimo Girotti, Rada Rassimov and Antonio Cantafora.

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The Italian version was scored by Stelvio Cipriani (A Bay of Blood; Night Hair ChildTentacles) whereas the US release by AIP was re-scored by Les Baxter (as were Bava’s earlier films Black Sunday and Black Sabbath).

Plot:

American Peter Kleist travels to visit the castle of his Austrian ancestor Baron Otto Von Kleist who had a reputation that earned him the nickname “Baron Blood” and who was cursed by a witch, Elisabeth Holle, for his evil deeds against the villagers before he burned her at the stake.

Peter is shown a parchment with a spell reputed to have the power to bring Baron Blood back to life. As a lark with Eva, a female architect renovating the castle for a hotel project, he reads the invocation out loud in the castle. Frightened by an unseen presence, they read the spell to send him back. They later read the invocation again, only this time the parchment is burned before they can read the dismissal.

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The revived corpse-like Baron goes into town and murders a doctor, starting a reign of terror against the villagers. With each murder victim, he becomes more human yet can revert to his hideous appearance…

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  • High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) and Standard Definition DVD presentation of three versions of the film: Bava’s original version Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga with Italian audio, The European Export Version of Baron Blood with English audio, and, on home video for the first time, the re-edited and re-dubbed AIP Version of Baron Blood with alternate score by Les Baxter
  • Three audio versions: Optional Italian, European English and AIP English re-dub and re-score
  • English SDH subtitles and a new English subtitle translation of the Italian audio
  • Audio Commentary with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas
  • Introduction to Baron Blood by author and critic Alan Jones
  • Delirium Italian-style: Ruggero Deodato on Mario Bava and the golden age of Italian genre films
  • Mario Bava at work – a photo gallery of Bava behind the scenes in his films
  • Trailers for Baron Blood
  • Baron Blood Radio Spots
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original archive stills and posters

Buy Arrow Blu-ray from Amazon.co.uk

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“Despite its numerous issues, which include being not in the least scary, Baron Blood is kind of fun to watch. It’s cheesy, creepy enough to give you a fun shiver or two, and has a villain that at least looks scary, even if his acts aren’t.” Abby, No More Popcorn

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“The film isn’t really much more than a by-the-book compendium of genre clichés, yet Bava handles them so masterfully they appear fresh. As an index of the film’s success, you need only to look at Bava’s splendidly atmospheric use of his main location, Burg Kreuzenstein…” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic

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“The visuals are first-rate, the pacing is never an issue as things move briskly from one revelation to the next and once again Mario Bava excels, when it comes to the murder set pieces.” Michael Den Boer, 10k Bullets

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Buy Baron Blood on Kino Classics Blu-ray from Amazon.com

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Buy Baron Blood on DagoRed double-vinyl album from Amazon.co.uk

Cast and characters:

  • Joseph Cotten … Baron Otto von Kleist/Alfred Becker
  • Elke Sommer … Eva Arnold
  • Massimo Girotti … Doctor Karl Hummel
  • Rada Rassimov … Christina Hoffmann
  • Antonio Cantafora … Peter Kleist
  • Umberto Raho … Inspector (as Humi Raho)
  • Luciano Pigozzi … Fritz
  • Nicoletta Elmi … Gretchen Hummel

Filming locations:

Burg Kreuzenstein, Austria [also used for Season of the Witch; The Vampire Happening and Castle of the Creeping Flesh]

Image credits: Zontar of Venus

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