Sunday, June 22, 2014

Bloody Pit of Horror – Beware The Writings of Marquis de Sade!

By Steve D. Stones

The opening credits of Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) (directed by Massimo Pupillo) mention that the film is based on the writings of the Marquis De Sade. A man known as the crimson executioner is taken to a torture chamber of a castle in the 17th century. As he is placed in an iron maiden to die, he tells his executioners that he will someday come back to life to seek revenge. Sound familiar? Mario Bava’s 1960 masterpiece -“Black Sunday” also employed a similar plot.

A writer of horror novels, a photographer and five beautiful models stop at an old castle after a long day of traveling. The photographer wishes to have a photo shoot in the castle for book covers. The owner of the castle does not like visitors, so he asks the photographer to leave. After discovering the photographer has a group of beautiful women with him, the owner of the castle asks them to stay, but for only one night.

The photographer, writer and crew are particularly interested in the torture chambers below the castle grounds.  They immediately set up shop and begin photographing the women in the torture chamber.

While posing for a series of cheesecake pictures with torture devices, a male model named Perry is accidentally killed. A photograph of the accident reveals a strange shadowy image of a shirtless man with a red mask in the background.

Another model named Suzy is found dead in the iron maiden used to kill the crimson executioner three centuries earlier.  A third model is found stuck in a giant spider web triggered with poison arrows. Most of the crew is killed off one by one.  The crimson executioner tortures some of the girls in the group in his executioner chamber below the castle.

The crimson executioner and owner of the castle are played by muscle man Mickey Hargitay, who was married to Jayne Mansfield at the time. Hargitay had just put the finishing touches on another Italian film – Primitive Love. The newspaper ads for the film claimed “my vengeance needs blood!”

Bloody Pit of Horror was marketed under eight other titles – Castle of Artena, The Red Hangman, The Crimson Executioner, Some Virgins for the Hangman, Virgins for the Hangman, The Scarlet Hangman, The Scarlet Executioner and a Tale of Torture. Did you catch all of that? Happy viewing. 

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