A young man visits his fiancée's estate to discover that her wheelchair-bound scientist father has discovered a meteorite that emits mutating radiation rays that have turned the plants in ... See full summary »
Robert Miles is a psychic that can communicate with the dead. He also has the ability to control the mind of his cat (who incidentally is black). He uses the cat to take vengeance upon his ... See full summary »
1963's "Portrait in Terror" is a title (81 minutes) that many are familiar with from footage that ended up in Roger Corman's 1966 release "Track of the Vampire" (AKA "Blood Bath," 78 minutes), but which far fewer people have actually seen. The release date is always given as 1965, but it never had any theatrical exposure, turning up only on television for the next two decades. Shot in Yugoslavia off the Adriatic coast of Dubrovnik, the original title, "Operation Titian," was a far less melodramatic, yet entirely more apt description, essentially a straight crime thriller with a couple of macabre touches. Corman became involved and added cast members William Campbell and Patrick Magee, fresh from co-starring in both "The Young Racers" and "Dementia 13," on location in Ireland (Francis Coppola, writer-director of the latter, apparently came along as well). Campbell stars as jealous, drunken artist Tony, whose girl (Anna Pavane) has just become engaged to someone else. He vividly describes an infamous ancestor whose lovely bride had been captured on canvas by Titian, a portrait supposedly tainted by the husband's tears, as he resorted to murder upon discovering her faithlessness. Magee, who played the investigator in "Dementia 13," here is cast somewhat against type as international thief and hit man Mauricio Zaroni, who is hired to steal the very painting described by Tony, but first has to bump off its rightful owner, Tony's elderly invalid uncle Hugo. Once the Titian is revealed to be a fake, Mauricio goes after Tony, and this is where the film completely falls apart. Magee is very good, introduced as he cuts off the top of an exotic dancer (who later sleeps with him, smooth operator!), and sparking intrigue each time he appears, but halfway in the focus shifts away from the villains and on to the drab, endless investigation. All momentum is irretrievably lost, and the twist ending is foreshadowed by the fact that we never see the murderer's face as he dispatches the not so devious dancer, whose underwater fate reminds one of Luana Anders in "Dementia 13," and several Ronald Stein cues are also cribbed from the Coppola feature, along with music familiar to anyone who has seen Larry Buchanan's Texas-filmed Azalea pictures. Perhaps of more interest if seen on a double bill with "Track of the Vampire," which did see a theatrical release in 1966 (billed with "Planet of Blood"), under the title "Blood Bath," consisting of mostly new footage shot in California by Corman directors Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman (a total of just over 9 minutes was cribbed from this film). While Campbell agreed to shoot new scenes for Jack Hill, Magee's greatly reduced role consisted entirely of archive footage, overdubbed with new dialogue that now recasts the exotic dancer as his wife!
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