Directed By: Massimo Pupillo
Starring: Mickey Hargitay, Walter Brandi, Ralph Zucker
Tag line: "He was a homicidal maniac who LIVED TO KILL!"
Trivia: This film was refused a UK cinema certificate in 1967
An Italian horror film from the ‘60s with gore aplenty, Bloody Pit of Horror is a wild, exploitative ride that, thanks to its main character, manages to rise above the usual fare.
Looking for the perfect setting for a horror-themed photo shoot, a magazine publisher (Alfredo Rizzo) drags four beautiful models (Barbara Nelli, Moa Tahi, Rita Klein and Femi Benussi), as well as a team of secretaries and photographers, to what appears to be a deserted medieval castle. After forcing their way in, however, the group encounters the castle’s owner, reclusive actor Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay), who lives there with his two bodyguards (Gino Turini, Roberto Messina). Agitated by their presence, Anderson orders the publisher and the others to leave, yet has a change of heart when he spots his former fiancé, Edith (Luisa Baratto), among the visitors. In fact, Anderson even gives his guests access to the dungeon, which comes complete with a variety of torture devices. But things quickly take a turn for the worse when the Crimson Executioner, a sadistic murderer who owned the castle several centuries ago, suddenly reappears, giving the group a demonstration of why he was the most feared killer of his time.
Despite its bevvy of hot babes (all of whom are stunning), the image that stays with you after watching Bloody Pit of Horror is that of the Crimson Executioner, whose red tights and black mask make him hard to forget. When first we meet him, he’s just spotted Suzy (Barbara Nelli), who was making out with Raoul (Albert Gordon), one of the assistants, in a remote corner of the dungeon. After snapping Raoul’s back, the Crimson Executioner drags Suzy off to the iron maiden, which he himself was placed in centuries ago, thus ending his reign of terror (as a result of his various atrocities, the courts of his day sentenced the Crimson Executioner to die in one of his own machines). Things truly get interesting, however, when he begins to employ his many torture devices, including the rack and a very intricate apparatus that looks exactly like a spider’s web (in reality, it’s a series of wires, each connected to a crossbow that fires an arrow at whoever touches it).
It takes a while for Bloody Pit of Horror to build up some steam; aside from the photo shoot itself, which features the movie’s collection of gorgeous gals posing in a variety of macabre costumes, the first half of the film plods along rather slowly. But once the Crimson Executioner hits the scene, Bloody Pit of Horror springs to life, culminating in a final act that’s as gruesome as it is insane.