Movies / reviews

Brad Reviews “Blood Bath” – Part 1



Brad’s back! And this time he’s cozying up with Arrow Video’s freshly remastered collection, entitled “Blood Bath”. 

Actors: William Campbell, Patrick Magee, Sid Haig
Directors: Rados Novakovic, Jack Hill, Stephanie Rothman

Published by Arrow Video

Available Now

Blood Bath is a weird set, but fans of Arrow Video will be no strangers to…um, well…strangeness.  This is, after all, the production company that gave a full remaster and bells and whistles job to Street Trash.  And we love them for it.

This two-disc Blu-Ray version of Roger Corman’s much maligned and edited-to-death cinematic mess Blood Bath, consists of all four versions of this spy heist become vampire movie. This review focuses on the first disc of the set, and the spy/thriller versions of the film, and I’ll be returning very shortly with the low-down on the second disc and the horror/vampire versions.

Operation Titian is the first version of the movie, and while it’s not exactly a bad movie, it’s easy to understand why Roger Corman may have been unhappy with it at first. The picture is surprisingly sharp; Arrow may be well known by now for their excellent remaster work, but considering the amount of work that must have gone into the original footage to get it looking this good in 1080p, this is really laudable.  The contrast is very finely balanced, with an extra special job done on the blacks, which are solid. There is some clipping on the harder sounds on the dialogue track, but this is a minor quibble.

The story itself is a pretty confusing and plodding one, as a sleazy painting dealer and a hit man and a dozy blonde woman are all involved to varying degrees with each other. It feels much more like a police procedural than an actual “mystery”; or perhaps a Jack Higgins novel.

The direction and acting style is very much typical for the time, and there are no real surprises along the way. With that said the action sequences aren’t all that bad, albeit rather short and blunt.  The main problem lays with the characters, who are neither engaging nor especially interesting.  By the time a few Chekhov Guns are fired in rapid succession, you’ll have mentally switched off.

Operation Titian is more a curiosity piece for fans of Blood Bath than it is a release in its own right; and of special interest to those interested in film editing, and how films are put together.  Of course, it’s fair to say that most people won’t be buying the set for this particular version.

Also included on the first disc is a re-cut of Operation Titian, supposedly made to make it more palatable for American audiences, entitled Portrait in Terror.

Unfortunately, once you’ve seen Operation Titian, Portrait in Terror just ends up feeling like a brutally truncated and – somehow – much shitter version.  All attempts at pacing are thrown out of the window, and the exposition gets thrown out along with it.  Again, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this had been included purely for the sake of completeness as a curiosity item.  There aren’t even that many changes made, beyond just making it a shorter and worse movie.  

While the re-mastering work is great, there’s no getting away from the fact that these are not good movies.  Perhaps if Blood Bath had been the centerpiece of the set (as it was surely conceived to be), and these were thrown in as DVD extras I could have been more forgiving.  As it stands, though, you’re left with 50% of a DVD that belongs in the Museum of Movies No-One Gives a Fuck About.  

Join me again when we get to the meat of the set, with the real Blood Bath…

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