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Boris Karloff has been in worse but Cauldron of Blood really isn't one of his finest hours
There are a few things that do save Cauldron of Blood from total doom. The scenery is very picturesque then again this is Spain we're talking about, the animated title sequence is brilliant and the best scene of the film easily(sadly also one that deserved a much better film), Boris Karloff's presence is still magnetic despite his health and Viveca Lindfors is wonderfully nasty and in a rather scary way. In the acting stakes though Karloff and Lindfors are the only ones that come off as remotely well. Jean-Pierre Aumont looks thoroughly disengaged and as though he didn't want to be there, and others like Rosenda Monteros and Ruben Rojo over-compensate wildly and painfully. Cauldron of Blood is devoid of tension, suspense and chills, mainly because of how cheaply rendered the atmosphere is and also because of the appallingly cornball script- if you get any chills it will be from this component alone, the writing really is that bad- and how much the weirdly constructed story drags, to the extent that the only feeling you get from watching Cauldron of Blood is boredom. The pacing is erratic, on the ponderous side rather than rushed mostly, and the ending is anti-climatic and poorly resolved. Apart from the scenery and animated sequence, Cauldron of Blood is not a well-made film at all, the effects are hokey and the camera work is as erratic as the pacing but worst of all is the editing which is all-over-the-place, slow and choppy in feel and look and it was clear that the making of the film was spread out over a few years which seriously affects the continuity. The music is more strident and over-bearing than stylish and atmospheric. So overall, not Karloff's worst film, it's much better than those wretched Mexican films he made in a similar time frame to this( especially Fear Chamber, though one of them- The Incredible Invasion- made for one of the worst final films of any actor), but it is far from one of his best. If we were to just exclude the Mexican films for a brief second, Cauldron of Blood is still down there with The Invisible Menace and Voodoo Island as one of his weakest. A very generous 4/10. Bethany Cox
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