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Cauldron of Blood (1970) - Blu-ray Review

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Cauldron of Blood (1970) - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

Santos Alcocer’s Cauldron of Blood is such a weird film. After simmering in its own juices for three years after its completion, this bizarre tale about a blind sculptor named Badulescu who uses the bones of murdered women for his art finally saw the light of day. It was 1970. No one cared and the film – which essentially rips off Vincent Price in House of Wax – quickly sank into obscurity, known only to Boris Karloff’s fans as the oddest giallo pulp genre film the actor was ever a part of.

Cauldron of Bloodis not a good film. It’s not entirely a train wreck either. Set within the era of the ultra-hip PanAm flight, the film has its moments of genuine groovy goofiness as the bizarre jazz score of Ray Ellis tends to dominate the horror in sudden and unexpected ways. The first is the opening credits scene – happening after you’ve forgotten the credits never happened - which turns a sun-bathing woman on the beach into an animated skeleton juxtaposed with Karloff’s neon-lit profile, complete with opaque goggles, zooming in and out of the frame as if it were a chase sequence in an episode of Hanna-Barbera’s Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and then continues far beyond any accepted length of time.

Written by Edward Mann, Cauldron of Blood, also known as Blind Man’s Bluff, focuses on the disappearance of several Spanish models. It’s quite the life for the expertly coiffed Claude (France’s own Jean-Pierre Aumont), an internationally renowned photojournalist with legions of women hanging from his arms, because this threat to his beautiful women is so far removed from him. His new assignment - to do a photo shoot of the famous blind sculptor Badulescu (Boris Karloff) – will; however, bring him closer to the action.

Bound to a wheelchair, Badulescu is cared for by his bi-sexual wife, Tania (Vivica Lindfors), whose knack for sudden S&M activities keeps everyone on their toes. Badulescu has no idea where the skeletons are coming from. His crazy wife does. It is obviously not a healthy relationship and Badulescu’s insults toward his wife are laced with cynicism about the institution of marriage. Her response, complete with whip-cracking Nazisms and an obsession with Claude’s girlfriend Elga (Dyanik Zurakowska), is far more deadly than imagined.

Cauldron of Bloodhas its moments but none of what it accomplishes in its running time is what I’d call notable. The gore, highlighted by a scenere where Lindfors sticks her hand in a vat of acid, is amplified but still laughably rancid in its application. The pre-climax fight scene, featuring a masked ball and a dual to the death between husband and wife, is groovy in that Adam-West-as-Batman kind of way. All it needs is a KA-POW! card to liven up the action. The poorly-paced film is also stocked with enough inexplicable dream sequences to keep any psychotherapist up at night going through their notes as they search for meaning. There is none to be found. Most of Alcocer’s film is insanity for its own sake.

Cauldron of Bloodis only for those curious enough to explore Karloff’s final years in the business.

Cauldron of Blood (1970) - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: GP
Runtime:
95 mins
Director
: Santos Alcocer
Writer:
José Luis Bayonas, Edward Mann
Cast:
Jean-Pierre Aumont, Boris Karloff, Viveca Lindfors
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
Tops In Total Horror!
Memorable Movie Quote:
Official Site:
Release Date:
August 1, 1971
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
October 14, 2014
Synopsis: A blind sculptor works on his magnum opus unaware that the skeletons he has been using for armatures are the remains of the victims of his evil wife and that he is the next target.

Cauldron of Blood (1970) - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - October 14, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono
Discs: 25GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Olive Films continues to deliver a fine array of obscure titles onto blu-ray. You know, the titles no one really asked for but thought would be nice to see again. The condition of Cauldron of Blood’s print is terrible and no restoration attempt has been made. Therefore, the AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 1.78:1 is a disappointment. Marred by consistent damage to the elements which include scratches, dirt and other blemishes, the picture is a bit of a mess. Colors do pop and tend to be surprisingly strong for such a poorly handled print. Fine detail is lacking throughout. The DTS-HD Master Audio Mono track is weak. Dialogue is thankfully sparse.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

  • None

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