With directorial credit split between Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman, Blood Bath was a troubled 1960s Roger Corman production. It had origins as a spy thriller called “Operation: Titian.” However, through the magic of imagination, Jack Hill made it into something about a murderous painter. When that wasn’t deemed interesting enough, Rothman stepped in and transformed Hill’s murder story into one about a vampire who transforms murdered women into art. It’s a little confusing, right?
While this might make the film sound incoherent, it’s actually not as scrambled as one might think. There are definitely continuity errors (like Sid Haig’s disappearing/reappearing beard), but they’re strangely not distracting. When the vampire, Antonio Sordi (William Campbell), changes appearance to murder people, it’s suggested that it’s a magical transformation. Meanwhile, you have plenty of attractive women targeted by the vampire, which may distract from the story’s shortcomings. Specifically, there’s Marissa Mathes as Daisy, Lori Saunders (Petticoat Junction) as Dorian/Melizza and Sandra Knight as Donna.
What “Blood Bath” Could Be Compared To
You probably won’t call Blood Bath a masterpiece, but its fractured nature probably makes it more memorable than it would have been otherwise. It’s a bit like other films associated with Roger Corman (who lacks a production credit), particularly A Bucket of Blood (for the artistic and Beatnik themes) and the original The Little Shop of Horrors (for the presence of Jonathan Haze).
Blood Bath would also fit in pretty well with Huyck and Katz’s Messiah of Evil (1973), for a similar disjointed feel, and also some beach scenes. For that matter, you might even pair it with Herk Harvey’s Carnival of Souls or, if you’re really out on a limb, the original Nosferatu or Metropolis. All of these movies somehow have a similar feel, although some are more successfully creepy than others.
As with most flicks of this nature, you’ll want to be in the right mindset at the time. This means you shouldn’t expect everything to add up perfectly. On the bright side, I’d say this movie is less perplexing than, say, a David Lynch film. That may be a good thing for those looking for something odd but not too visionary in scope. Finally, this seems to be sort of an underrated vampire film. In fact, I think there are worse, better-known vampire flicks than this. So, when you have some spare time, go ahead and look into this one. You can probably even find it on Youtube.
What are your thoughts on Blood Bath? Let us know in the comments!