Newest Reviews
Beyond Clueless
Stylist, The
Sky is On Fire, The
Wrong Turn
In a Year with 13 Moons
Strange Affair of Uncle Harry, The
Sinners, The
Tammy and the T-Rex
State Secret
Mogul Mowgli
Owners, The
Twentieth Century, The
Story of Gilbert and Sullivan, The
What Lies Below
Dead Pigs
Willy's Wonderland
It's in the Air
School's Out Forever
Stump the Guesser
Last Warning, The
Ascent, The
Hurt by Paradise
Saint Maud
Johnny Frenchman
Glitch in the Matrix, A
Meeting the Man: James Baldwin in Paris
Funeral Home, The
Sailors Three
Newest Articles
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
Network Double Bills: The House in Nightmare Park and The Man Who Haunted Himself
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
  Cauldron of Blood Sick Sculptures
Year: 1970
Director: Santos Alcocer
Stars: Jean-Pierre Aumont, Boris Karloff, Viveca Lindfors, Rosenda Monteros, Milo Quesada, Dyanik Zurakowska, Rubén Rojo, Jacqui Speed, Mercedes Rojo, Mary Lou Palermo, Manuel de Blas, Eduardo Coutelenq
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  5 (from 1 vote)
Review: Claude Marchand (Jean-Pierre Aumont) is a journalist who jets into France from an overseas assignment only to be told as he arrives that he has a message which says he is not stopping, since his boss has ordered him to go straight to Spain for another report. He is sanguine about this, accepting it as part of his job, and anyway it's not as if the region he is heading for isn't picturesque, it's a village by the sea so there will be sun, sand and sangria on offer as he seeks out the world famous - and blind - sculptor Franz Badalescu (Boris Karloff). The artist lives in a large villa with his wife Tania (Viveca Lindfors), a loyal partner to him who has ensured his work has gotten out to the aesthetes, but what it there was something a tad... off about it?

Boris Karloff's final few films tended to be lumped into one indigestible mush by horror fans, most obviously those last four Mexican ones released largely after his death that featured minimal participation for him as he was only taking the job because he was dying by that point and, not wishing to ever retire, was determined to keep working right to the end, also providing for his family in the process. But unlike some stars most associated with the horror genre, some of those final roles were actually in very decent movies, with Peter Bogdanovich's Targets filmed in Karloff's last year and one of his greatest performances, not to mention his part in making Michael Reeves' The Sorcerers as good as it was.

So where did that leave Cauldron of Blood, an oft-derided shocker shot in Spain at the then-newly discovered by tourists Torremolinos resort? For many of those curious enough to seek it out, they would tell you it was better left alone, a footnote to a stellar career from one of the stars who made horror almost respectable given his well-known reputation for being an absolute gentleman in all his dealings. But for those completists who appreciated Karloff for precisely those debts they owed him to their favourite style of entertainment, it was irresistable mainly because it was late sixties, early seventies horror such as this which marked the change from the spooky and atmospheric to the more lurid and, dare we say it, gory dominating for decades to come.

Of course, the spooky method of chiller making never went away and returned with a vengeance once the so-called torture porn fad briefly sparked and fizzled, which makes Cauldron of Blood something of a relic anyway. Not that was an absolute bloodbath, but it did have a degree of the stronger stuff of giallo about it, even as it replicated the essential plot point of House of Wax for its chief source of shocks, though it perhaps had more in common with Roger Corman's A Bucket of Blood, with Karloff an unlikely Dick Miller. You guessed it - what's up with those sculptures is that there are real skeletons inside them, culled from the locals at the village (there are never any police around, so presumably nobody thought to contact them), yet Badalescu, being blind, thinks he is using basic armatures to model the clay over.

Which left the villain of the piece as Tania, she is frankly bonkers thanks to a trauma in her past which haunts her nightmares, as we see in a very strange montage sequence of supposedly terrifying imagery - her husband's face rotting to the skull, herself as a frightened little girl being whipped by her adult self dressed in an SS uniform - and therefore marks her out as instrumental in the murders, the cauldron of the title being an acid bath. Meanwhile Claude investigates, or that was the idea, but actually he spends most of the time having a rare old holiday, hanging out with dolly birds including proto-Pia Zadora-alike Rosenda Monteros and proto-Rebecca de Mornay-alike Dyanik Zurakowska who naturally (or unnaturally) end up menaced when Boris needs to craft his latest masterpiece. Although it has its moments, it's never quite as incoherent as it threatens to be with its patently piecemeal assembly (it was released three years after it was filmed), and though Karloff was elderly he couldn't avoid bringing a touch of class, even sympathy, to the cheap and semi-cheerful movie. Music by Ray Ellis.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


This review has been viewed 1994 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Darren Jones
Andrew Pragasam
Stately Wayne Manor
Enoch Sneed
  Geraint Morgan


Last Updated: