Case Number 09863

BLOOD BATH (1976)

Subversive Cinema // 1976 // 83 Minutes // Rated PG
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 17th, 2006

The Charge

Hey, that the mom from Everybody Loves Raymond?!?

Opening Statement

Joel M. Reed, the director of the thoroughly depraved Bloodsucking Freaks, unleashes this low-impact, eclectic horror anthology with stories of Satanic weddings and Shaolin outcasts and Napoleonic wars and ghosts seeking revenge for their repo'd cars and a sucky hitman. The key word here is "eclectic."

Facts of the Case

A group of friends working on a horror movie gather around for a candlelit dinner and swap horror stories. What follows is a collection of four stories from way out in left field, building to a climax that comes from somewhere in the parking lot in back of left field. Oh, and none of it is horror.

The Evidence

Since this film is really just a combination of separate parts, let's look at them closer:

* "The One About the Hit Man"
Here we meet a guy who's considered a pro in the field of assassins. He's able to neutralize his targets with a minimum of incriminating evidence left at the scene. His mark this go-round is a wealthy business owner. The method? Slipping a briefcase bomb in the man's BMW. But the hit man's winning streak may come to an end this time.

I liked this story. It's fraught with moronic decisions by the hit man, and the ending features some ridiculous stock footage, but the twist is darkly amusing. Again: not horror.

* "The One About the Guy Who Wishes He Was in the Napoleonic Wars"
A man unhappy with his wife approaches an antiquities dealer and asks for something to get rid of his spouse. Amazingly, the dealer is only too happy to oblige, presenting the bitter husband with a charm that will supposedly grant any wish. But the man is too greedy and wishes -- for some reason -- he was back in the 19th century fighting for France. Big shocker: it doesn't turn out well.

This one's stupid. That's about all I feel like saying about it. Who the @#$% wishes they were in the middle of a 19th century war zone?!?

* "The One About the Greedy Businessman Haunted by a Ghost"
A cheap-ass miser is about to close his office for a month and is horrified to discover he's been inadvertently locked in the vault. To keep him company is the ghost of a former repo case, a dude who threatens to haunt the old bastard until he signs his car back over to him. The two bicker and eventually the businessman comes to terms with his personal faults and crafts a disturbing way to stay alive for the 30 days he's shut-in.

Probably the funniest of the bunch. The banter between the miser and the ghost is so clipped and goofy it's impossible not to laugh. It's as if the actors were asked to ad-lib their lines -- and both suck at ad-libbing.

* "The One With the Martial Arts Guy"
A pupil from an elite Shaolin temple (maybe not Shaolin, but something close) comes back home and violates his oath to his master by teaching the discipline to other students. The head cheese over at the temple journeys to face-off with his traitorous student. Thing is, the guy's got no legs. The traitor thinks he's got an easy bout ahead of him, but what he wasn't banking on was fire-breathing quadriplegic power!!!

Easily the weirdest of the tales, this one sports some seriously wacky imagery. And that ending. Mr. Reed must have been huffing some potent household chemicals when he was putting this one to paper.

There you have it: four stories that are in no ways "bloody" or "bath-oriented." Blood Bath is not a horror movie, and is in fact more a comedy than anything else. That being said, it's got a few entertaining moments, though the ending hurts my brain. Give it a look-see if you're into the truly bizarre.

Subversive has issued a solid disc. Wrapped in the attractive packaging is a feature transferred into 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. The video quality is shabby, but I think Subversive tried its best. A new stereo track joins the original mono for sound duties. On the back end, Joel M. Reed delivers a fun commentary and a robust documentary uses interviews with cast and crew members of the film to paint a picture of '70s indie horror.

Closing Statement

It's weird. It's zany. It doesn't make much sense. And there's hardly a drop of blood. Horror-meisters will be bummed out over the film's failure to live up to its name in the gore department, but, perhaps if they fight through their disappointment they'll notice a gleeful dose of insanity and have a decent time.

The Verdict

The accused is sent back to remedial Title Your Damn Movie Accurately class.

Review content copyright © 2006 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Video: 85
Audio: 80
Extras: 85
Acting: 75
Story: 75
Judgment: 77

Perp Profile
Studio: Subversive Cinema
Video Formats:
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

Subtitles:
* English

Running Time: 83 Minutes
Release Year: 1976
MPAA Rating: Rated PG

Distinguishing Marks
* Director's Commentary
* Cast and Crew Interviews
* Bios
* Trailers

Accomplices
* IMDb
http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0074222/combined