A Movie A Day: Quint on BARON BLOOD (1972) Kunich, Sator, Homah. I call the body and soul of Otto von Kleist.
Published at: Sept. 10, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST by quint
Ahoy, squirts! Quint here with today’s installment of A Movie A Day.
[For those now joining us, A Movie A Day is my attempt at filling in gaps in my film knowledge. My DVD collection is thousands strong, many of them films I haven’t seen yet, but picked up as I scoured used DVD stores. Each day I’ll pull a previously unseen film from my collection and discuss it here. Each movie will have some sort of connection to the one before it, be it cast or crew member.]
Today we cover our final Mario Bava flick of the run, Baron Blood.
I found Baron Blood to be a really fun movie, but that’s not what makes it special to me right now. Unless I miscounted, Baron Blood is the 100th movie in this continuing column. Blows my mind a little bit, actually. I find I simultaneously feel like I just started the AMAD column and like I’ve been doing it for years.
One hundred movies and the pile just seems to keep growing.
In fact, digging into these older films has really inspired me to seek out more. I just recently purchased 33 titles off of Amazon, mostly from the MGM library, in their (still ongoing) 3 for $10 sale. That’s brand new DVDs at $3.33 each, so I pretty much bought any movie I either liked, but didn’t have in my collection or that I hadn’t seen.
Since beginning this column I’ve seen my enthusiasm for film grow in leaps and bounds. I’ve always loved movies, watching them obsessively over and over again as a kid. Summer meant weekday bike rides to the mall where the 4-plex was showing current releases, then coming back home with a stack of videos from the Korean-owned mom and pop store by my house.
I loved the current movie viewing, but there was something special about combing the racks of the video store, trying a few things out, finding new actors, directors, genres, writers, etc to fall in love with. In the past few years I’ve spent a lot more time keeping up with current film, be it studio, indie or foreign, but this column has made me find that childlike joy of discovery again.
There are so many movies out there. I feel like I’ve only just begun and it fills me with excitement that there’s still so much more to find. And this is just what’s on DVD now (or what happens to catch my eye on TCM… thanks DVR).
So, thank you for following along with me through 100 films and here’s to the next 100, may they be as interesting as the last. Let’s get to the centennial flick.
Baron Blood is more straight forward than the non TWITCH OF THE DEATH NERVE and BLACK SABBATH Bavas on the list so far, which I appreciated. There’s only so much dreamy/ethereal arty EuroHorror flicks I can take in a week.
In an interesting bit of connectivity to yesterday’s LISA & THE DEVIL, the film opens on an airplane as a young American (Antonio Cantafora) named Peter arrives in Austria to visit the home of his ancestor, the great and feared Baron Otto von Kleist. The Baron was well known for his torture chambers and gruesome murders of anyone who would oppose him.
Thankfully the Baron has been dead for many years. His castle is being renovated, the owners trying to play up the gory history while changing it to a hotel, hoping to pull in tourists with an interest in the macabre.
Elke Sommer is a young woman helping in the restoration and she takes to Peter right away. Of course, Peter didn’t come all the way to Austria empty handed. He has in his possession the original parchment detailing how when the Baron killed a witch a curse was put upon him. She detailed a chant that would resurrect The Baron so she can watch him suffer in the flesh from beyond the grave.
Sounds like a little flawed logic on the witch’s part, but hey… she was about to burned to death and was doing the best she could.
Peter and Elke (playing a character called Eva) decide to fuck around and in a scene just as absurd as the recitation of the forbidden passage from the Necronomicon in EVIL DEAD 2 the two find the room in the castle where the Baron was murdered and recite the Witch’s curse, raising the Baron from his grave.
The years haven’t been too kind to him. He’s got worse skin than Freddy Krueger, but at least he’s got a pretty rocking outfit… long, black cloak and pilgrim hat. In fact, he looks a lot like the killer in Eli Roth’s THANKSGIVING trailer.
Of course people start dying horrible deaths and then the movie completely changes. About halfway through the movie morphs into a different flick, going from crazy undead torture obsessed Baron Blood knocking off people Phantom of the Opera style in his castle to a mystery.
The castle is sold at auction to a crippled man, played by Joseph Cotton. He’s just creepy enough to make you wonder if he isn’t somehow the Baron in disguise. The twist of the story isn’t a hard one to see coming, but they don’t treat it as a twist. All the characters know Cotton’s true identity about 20 minutes before the finale.
The rest of the movie is Peter and Eva trying to make-up for summoning the Baron. The parchment burned, so they can’t send him back, but instead they find a medium to speak with the long-dead witch who originally put the curse on the Baron and find a way to stop him… a pretty cool way, truth be told.
Cotton is pretty good here, taking the role more seriously than I expected, but still managing to have fun with it. Sommers is fine, but hasn’t blown me away in either this or Lisa & The Devil. I did like her more in this one, though. She is a beautiful woman and even though she doesn’t shed as many clothes as she did in LISA & THE DEVIL she’s much more attractive in this one. It’s all in her character, she’s more likable here.
Final Thoughts: The flick is a lot of fun, which makes up for some faulty logic. You either let it work for ya’ and enjoy the rollercoaster aspect, the horror adventure aspect, and have a good time or you don’t. Either way’s fine, but I fell on the “had fun with it” side.