(Gli Orrori del Castello di Norimberga)
Baron Blood is not quite up there in the same classic category with Black Sunday the plot seems too indifferently pieced together for that but is still an effort that shows Mario Bava on good form. The film overspills with atmosphere. Bava shot on location at a real castle Castle Kreuzenstein in Austria that provides loads of sepulchral Gothic doom and an authenticity that no art director could ever fabricate. Bava piles on a maximum amount of backlit fog, while creeping his camera through the oppressiveness of the castles interior. There is a suspenseful scene where the sinister figure of the Baron pursues Elke Sommer through the fog. By the time that he made Baron Blood, Mario Bava had become one of the directors pushing an increasing degree of sadism in Italian horror cinema, something that would find its full-flowering in the work of Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci, Umberto Lenzi and Italian gore cinema of the 1980s. Here there are some nasty scenes with Dieter Tresslers mayor having his neck snapped and then being hung, or of Alan Collins being whacked over the head and then dumped in an Iron Maiden. The makeup job on the Baron looks suitably grotesque.
The script holds no surprise as to the identity of the reincarnated Baron they had do something with the imported American name actor that said, Josef Cotten is not an actor particularly suited to doing over-the-top villainy. In the English-language version released by AIP, Stelvio Ciprianis score has been replaced by one from Les Baxter, who tends to go into overdrive with the ethereal early electronics. (The original score was reportedly much superior).
Mario Bavas other genre films are:- uncredited co-direction of Riccardo Fredas I Vampiri (1957) and Caltiki the Immortal Monster (1959); the Gothic classic Black Sunday/The Mask of the Demon/The Revenge of the Vampire Woman (1960); the Greek muscleman fantasy Hercules in the Center of the Earth/Hercules vs the Vampires (1961); the giallo The Evil Eye (1962); the Gothic horror anthology Black Sabbath (1963); the Gothic horror Night is the Phantom/The Whip and the Body/What? (1963); the giallo Blood and Black Lace (1964) the Gothic Kill Baby ... Kill/Curse of the Dead/Curse of the Living Dead/Operation Fear (1965); the sf/horror film Planet of the Vampires (1965); the spy comedy Dr Goldfoot and the Girls Bombs (1966), Bavas worst film; the masked super-thief film Danger Diabolik (1967); the giallo Five Dolls for an August Moon (1970); the giallo Hatchet for a Honeymoon/Blood Brides (1971); the giallo Twitch of the Death Nerve/Bay of Blood/Carnage (1971); the giallo/haunted house film Lisa and the Devil/House of Exorcism (1972); and the possession film Schock/Beyond the Door II (1977).