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Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) Review

Review; Mar. 22, 2012; Channels: Movies; By Charles Rector

There are some movies that were considered quite scary by their contemporary audiences. However, when audiences in later years see those same movies, the result is often laughter at unintentional humor. Often the same scenes that terrified the audiences of yesteryear are the same ones that elicit mirth in today's film goers. 1965’s Bloody Pit of Horror is one of these movies.

Bloody Pit of Horror

The movie begins with film of a strangely garbed figure being led by guards to an iron maiden where he is placed to die. During the running of this film sequence, the following narration is heard:

“On this fifth day of December in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and forty-eight, by virtue of the power vested in us by our Noble Sovereign, this Tribunal of Justice hereby sentences you, the Crimson Executioner, to death. You will die by one of the very instruments you devised to torture and kill your innocent victims. You dared to take into your own hands the laws of both God and man. You set yourself up as both Judge and Executioner. You caused inhuman suffering, and took life not from any sense of Justice, but from hatred and self-gratification. You showed no mercy to your victims, and no mercy will be shown to you…”

And audiences of today think, "Wow. How profound." Sarcastically, of course.

Following the narrative introduction, more than 300 years later, the castle and its dungeons have been cursed. It seems to have remained empty, too, although someone did shell out the dough for a parking lot to the place. Finally, a publisher of tasteless books, some homely females who are supposed to be glamorous models, some photographers, a few hangers-on and a hack horror writer show up to use the castle as a backdrop for book jackets. Upon becoming frustrated that nobody answers the doorbell (of a type that did not exist more than 300 years ago), they break in.

They are then confronted by the castle owner and his servants and are ordered to leave at once. However, at the last minute, the castle owner spots his ex-fiancee among the girls, and he relents and says that they can spend the night there and take all the pictures they want. He also tells them to stay away from the dungeons. Sure enough, that prohibition is violated, and the tomb of the Crimson Executioner is opened, and the bad guy’s “evil soul” is released. This sends the owner of the castle -- the mysteriously vanished Hollywood actor Travis Anderson, who made his name as a “muscleman in costume films” -- into a psychological spiral at the end of which he proclaims himself to be the Crimson Executioner complete with an outfit similar to that of the original.

At first, his crimes are assumed by the publisher as “accidents.” However, the hack writer, Rick, deduces from the cut rope and a mysterious photographic image that murder is afoot. After both he and the ex-fiancee, Edith, find a model in a goofy spider web torture device, there is no doubt that Anderson is behind the crimes. Edith confronts Anderson with the accusation that he is “the murderer,” and nice guy Anderson slaps her down and rants about how he had “abandoned the world” because “the love of a woman” would have ruined the “harmony of my perfect body.” To this Edith replies: “You, oh! You’re an egotist!”

While this is going on, offstage, the servants of Travis Anderson, aka the Crimson Executioner, act as if nothing unusual is going on as they round up the other visitors and imprison them in the dungeons. All except Rick the hack writer. Inside the dungeons, there is an iron maiden, a human roaster, and other torture devices. These servants are dressed in striped T-shirts reminiscent of the Penguin’s minions in the old Batman TV series.

After The Crimson Executioner comes down to the dungeon, he stumbles from victim to victim in silly stylized demented hunchback-style movements. He also barks out such lines as:

“I am The Crimson Executioner!”


“The Crimson Executioner cries out for blood!”

Played by Mickey Hargitay, Travis Anderson, aka the Crimson Executioner, is quite possibly the single most verbose serial killer/psycho in film history. He says some of the most ridiculously over-blown lines in the history of film, and he does it all with a straight face. That alone is most commendable.

Bloody Pit of Horror is a true masterpiece of unintentional comedy. If you have gotten sick and tired of the increasingly unfunny formula-driven things that Hollywood calls “movies,” then this is a flick that’s just for you.

Editor's note: This review originally appeared on OMGN's former sister site FlickZone on Feb. 16, 2005.


Review Score

Not Rated by MPAA

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