Blood Bath  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Blood Bath is a 1966 American horror film directed by Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman, starring William Campbell, Linda Saunders, Marissa Mathes, and Sid Haig. The film concerns a delusional painter in Venice Beach, California who believes himself to be the reincarnation of a vampire. He begins to kidnap local women for his art pieces, and comes to believe that he has found his reincarnated mistress in the person of an avant-garde ballerina.

Blood Bath had a complex and troubled production history, marked by various cuts and reshoots. In 1963 Roger Corman had co-produced a Yugoslavia-made spy thriller called Operation: Titian, but the film was deemed unreleasable. Corman purchased the rights to another film and assigned writer-director Jack Hill to write a new script. This time, it was a horror film that incorporated the previous footage from Operation: Titian. Hill wrote and directed numerous horror sequences that were edited into the film, and it was re-titled Portrait in Terror. Still unsatisfied with the completed product, Corman hired Stephanie Rothman to film additional sequences that were also added. This cobbled-together feature was given a brief theatrical release by American International Pictures under the title Blood Bath, with screenplay and directorial credit jointly shared by Hill and Rothman. An additional version of the film was made for television and re-titled Track of the Vampire.


In Venice Beach, Los Angeles, student Daisy leaves a club alone after having an argument with her beatnik boyfriend Max. Walking through the deserted streets, she stops to admire some gruesome paintings in a gallery window painted by artist Antonio Sordi, who coincidentally also comes by to look in on his "lost children." After a friendly conversation, Sordi convinces the young woman to pose nude for him that night. At his bell-tower studio, Sordi is possessed by the spirit of a long-dead ancestor and suddenly transforms into a vampiric monster who hacks the screaming Daisy to death with a cleaver. Afterwards, he lowers her mutilated corpse into a vat of boiling wax.

Sordi, in his vampire form, stalks Venice in search of victims; he is able to do so freely at all hours. In the middle of the day, he chases a young woman into the surf at a beach and drowns her. At night, he kills a prostitute in a car while pedestrians stroll by, all of them assuming the pair are lovers sharing an intimate moment. Another victim is approached at a party, chased into a swimming pool, and drowned there after the other guests have moved into the house. The murdered women are carried back to Sordi's studio and painted by the artist, their bodies then covered in wax.

Max wants to make up with Daisy but cannot find her anywhere. Learning that she has posed for Sordi and become the subject of the latest in the artist's series of "Dead Red Nudes," he visits her sister Donna to ask her forgiveness. Donna tells Max she hasn't seen Daisy for days, and is concerned about the recent rash of disappearances. She reads Max the legend of Sordi's 15th-century ancestor Erno, a painter condemned to be burned at the stake for capturing his subjects' souls on canvas. Unable to convince Max that Antonio Sordi might also be a vampire, she confronts the artist at his studio and asks him if he has seen Daisy. He angrily brushes her off. That night, he later follows her through the streets and murders her as she tries to escape from him on a carousel.

The "human" Sordi is in love with Dorian, an avant-garde ballerina and Daisy's former roommate. At first he tries to protect her from his vampiric tendencies, warning her his studio is a cheerless place and at one point breaking a date with her to spend time gaining control of his feelings for her. When she turns up at the studio unannounced, he believes she is the reincarnation of Erno Sordi’s long-dead mistress Melizza, a witch who had denounced him to the ecclesiastical courts in order to protect herself from prosecution, and traps her in a net. He is about to slash her throat with a razor when Max and his beatnik friends finally realize Sordi is a murderer and successfully free her from the tower. Melizza, seen in a painting that Sordi keeps concealed behind a curtain, brings three of Sordi's victims back to life and they dispatch him by forcing him into the boiling wax.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blood Bath" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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