Baron Blood (1972) Poster

(1972)

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8/10
An excellent tribute to the classic Hollywood horror films of the 1930's
k_t_t20012 February 2005
Mario Bava's BARON BLOOD is a fine a tribute to the monster movies of Hollywood's golden age. So evocative of that period is this film that it takes not even a moment's thought to mentally recast Boris Karloff as the Baron, Nan Grey as his intended victim and to tune away the vivid Technicolor into haunting black and white.

As in FRANKENSTIEN or THE MUMMY, the evil in the film is unwittingly unleashed upon the world by the film's hero. In this case it is American Peter Kleist, who returns to the German castle of his ancestor Baron Otto Von Kleist. Even though he is aware that his ancestor, nicknamed "Baron Blood" was a sadistic monster who butchered and tortured the people of the countryside, Peter foolishly recites an ancient spell capable of resurrecting the Baron. The restored Von Kleist immediately resumes his homicidal ways, and now Peter, assisted by the beautiful Elke Sommer as a local historian, must find a way to undo what he has thoughtlessly wrought.

In the classic horror films of the 1930's the monsters were iconic and unforgettable, while the heroes were bland and almost entirely irrelevant. After all, who remembers who played the "hero" opposite Lugosi in Dracula or Karloff in THE MUMMY? (For trivia's sake it was David Manners in both films.) No, the villain/monster may have spent much of the picture lurking about off screen, or skulking in the shadows, but nevertheless he was always indisputably the star of the show.

BARON BLOOD maintains this link to its cinematic forbearers. Antonio Cantafora's Peter Kleist is satisfactory, but eminently forgettable, while Joseph Cotton, obviously having a ball, is terrific in his villainous role. Cotton's performance as the resurrected Von Kleist is spot on perfect, filled with evil charm and malevolent glee. He dominates the screen in the best tradition of the movie monsters of old.

In fact, there is only one significant departure from the classic monster films. Even in the days before the Hayes Commission, blood and gore were rarely seen and usually only suggested in Hollywood motion pictures. BARON BLOOD was produced without such restrictions and, though mild when compared to more recent horror films, it does contain some explicit moments that would have been completely unacceptable in the 1930's. Even as a tribute to the grand old days, it must remembered that BARON BLOOD was produced to appeal to a contemporary 1970's audience. Bava however realized that things modern will inevitably intrude upon the classic, and made light of this by placing soda pop machines in the halls of the Gothic Von Kleist castle and having prerecorded screams available in the Baron's torture chamber at the flip of a switch.

Not as arty as LISA AND THE DEVIL, not as graphic as BAY OF BLOOD, BARON BLOOD is often unjustly overlooked, or simply dismissed as a minor effort of Mario Bava's later period. Such hasty judgments do the film a great disservice. If BARON BLOOD has less of the striking cinematography of Bava's best films, it must be argued that such innovation would be out of place in a film striving to recapture the look and atmosphere of the original Hollywood horror movies. If one accepts the movie for what it is, a fine tribute to the genre's past, then BARON BLOOD is a great success, both as a homage and as work unto itself.

BARON BLOOD has been released in numerous VHS and laserdisc editions. The DVD release from Image Entertainment is probably the best example of the film currently available, featuring an uncut 1.85:1 widescreen presentation of the film, complete with the original European musical score, which was replaced when the film was released theatrically in North America.
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Stylish but disappointing.
Infofreak16 February 2002
Mario Bava is one of the greats of horror cinema, but I wouldn't judge his importance by 'Baron Blood'. It isn't close to his best work. While stylishly directed (to be expected being Bava) and with plenty of atmosphere, it is low on both suspense and gore, and sets up a potentially dynamite premise (the resurrection of an evil Vlad The Impaler-like maniac hell bent on revenge), then goes nowhere much with it. One or two sequences are outstanding, but overall it's a major disappointment, and the usually excellent Joseph Cotton (who did some strong genre work in movies like 'The Abominable Dr Phibes' and 'Soylent Green') is a bit of a let down in the title role. Even so, no Mario Bava movie can be dismissed entirely, and for all its flaws it's still worth watching more than almost all of Hollywood's recent puerile and uninspired horror output.
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Very Good Bava Film
eibon0920 February 2001
The closet thing to a remake of Mask of Satan(1960) that Mario Bava ever did was this film. The plotline is the opposite of Mask of Satan(1960) where in this film the witch is not evil. Gli Orrori del Castello di Norimberga/Baron Blood(1972) is an atmospheric supernatural thriller with marvelous cinematography and some good scare scenes. The main source of inspiriation for Baron Blood(1972) is Antonio Margheriti's The Virgin of Nuremberg(1963). Its interesting that Baron Blood(1972) takes place in the birth country of Adolph Hitler. Baron Otto Von Kleist seems to symbolize the atrocities committed by the nazis during the mid 1930s to mid 1940s.

Mario Bava did Baron Blood(1972) right after the controversial blood letting of A Bay of Blood(1971). Baron Blood has some gore scenes but without frequency and show stopping manner of Mario Bava's previous film. Baron Blood was the first and only time that Mario Bava did a film away from home as he didn't like to leave Italy. The music by Stelvio Cipriani is very good. The chase scenes in the film are some of Baron Blood's most exciting scenes. The death of Fritz is a reference to La Maschera del Demonio(1960) and Sei Donne Per L'Assassino(1964).

Elke Sommer doesn't do much in the role of Eva but she does look arousing in short dresses and mini skirts. Elke Sommer would give a much better performance in her next film for Mario Bava called Lisa E il Diavolo/Lisa & the Devil(1974). Joseph Cotten's performance as the evil Baron Otto Von Kleist brings to mind his role as the "Merry Widow Murderer" in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt(1943). Baron Blood(1972) is not in the same league as the best of Bava's supernatural films such as La Maschera del Demonio/Mask of Satan(1960), La Frusta E il Corpo/Whip & the Body(1963), Operazione Paura/Kill Baby Kill!(1968), and Lisa E il Diavolo/Lisa and the Devil(1974) but is still better than any horror film from Hollywood from the 1990s til now. The set designs for the castle are excellent. The mysterious figure that appears on top of the castle at the end of the film gives me chills everytime I watch this movie.
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7/10
Eerie and Spooky
claudio_carvalho8 October 2018
After the completion of his master's degree, Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) travels to Austria to spend a leisure period doing nothing. He is welcomed in the airport by his uncle Dr. Karl Hummel (Massimo Girotti) and he asks if he could visit the castle of his ancestor, the evil Baron Otto von Kleist a.k.a. Baron Blood. In the Sixteenth Century, the sadistic baron was cursed by a witch Elisabeth Holle that he had burned at the stake and then he was killed by the locals in his Castle of Death. Peter meets the gorgeous Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer) that works restoring the castle and invites her to go with him to the castle after dinner to read an incantation written in an ancient parchment that would evoke the family course and bring the Baron back to life. After reading the magic words, the wind blows the parchment to the fireplace and it burns. When villagers mysterious disappear and Eva is chased by a weird man, they realize that they have released the Baron and they do not have the parchment anymore to call the incantation off. Their hope is that the clairvoyant and medium Christina Hoffmann (Rada Rassimov), who is a descendant of Elisabeth, might help them.

"Baron Blood" is another eerie and spooky movie by Mario Bava. The uncanny story of curse, witchcraft and resurrection is very well supported by the predictable screenplay that works well, but the stylish cinematography, the lighting and shadows and the camera work with unusual angle are impressive and give a creepy and nightmarish atmosphere to the feature. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Os Horrores do Castelo de Nuremberg" ("The Horrors of the Nuremberg Castle")
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Pretty Good
Gafke26 March 2004
A young man travels to Europe and visits the ancient castle of a rather notorious ancestor called Baron Blood, a man whose name is still not very popular in the surrounding villages. Seems the Baron was a bit of a sadist, just in case the "Baron Blood" title didn't give it away already. Our young hero, Peter, meets Elke Sommer, and instead of breaking into the castles dungeon in the middle of the night and having sex like any normal hot young couple in the early 70s,

these two brilliantly decide instead to perform a centuries old ritual designed to raise the dead. When will these people learn? The Baron rises, seen first as a Phantom-of-the-Opera type guy with a face like a spoiled casserole, and later as a wheelchair bound and Maybelline dependent Joseph Cotton.

This really isn't a bad little film. There's some great spooky lighting techniques, some even better funky music and some gorgeous shots of the European

countryside. The ancient, crumbling castle is a wonderful set and the death

scenes are quite gruesome, especially the one featuring an Iron Maiden-ish

casket and a guy who looks a LOT like the late great Peter Lorre. In a nice twist, there's even a centuries-dead witch who turns out to be the GOOD guy! (Or girl, as the case may be) The acting isn't that great, but it doesn't make this an unwatchable film by any means. The story seems loosely based on the life of

Vlad the Impaler, but still manages to be original and interesting. A nice feeling of dread permeates the entire film. One of Bava's best efforts.
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9/10
Beautifully atmospheric
pearceduncan15 May 2001
Baron Blood is one of my favourite Mario Bava films. As usual, Bava seems dismissive of things like story, character and acting, and concentrates on creating a memorable mise-en-scene, which makes a lot of the juxtaposition of the old and the contemporary: an ancient castle with a Coke machine, Elke Sommer in a miniskirt running through old fog-shrouded streets, etc.

Immediately after Baron Blood, Bava filmed what I consider his masterpiece, Lisa and the Devil (also with Sommer) which was sacrificed by its producers to splice with new footage for an Exorcist ripoff called House of Exorcism. Baron Blood fared much better, suffering only from being rescored and cut by eight minutes. If you want to know where Dario Argento learned his tricks, look at Bava.
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6/10
Typical of the genre, but memorable and visually-impressive.
Muldwych1 January 2008
Imagine you knew the incantation that would bring Dracula back to life. Sure, he had a habit of murdering people from time to time, but wouldn't it be really amazing to see him in the flesh? This is essentially the premise of 'Baron Blood', although the dreaded Otto Von Kleist of the tale is far more Vlad than Dracula - a man who would happily spend the afternoon strapping someone to a rack and cutting their fingers off as we would spend it renting a DVD. Flash forward to the 20th century, where his great great great etc grandson Peter, who decides to pay a visit to his homeland of Austria during a gap year to get in touch with his roots, stumbles across just such an incantation. The chance to meet his infamous ancestor: who could resist?

Director Mario Bava shows what competent continental rivals to Hammer studios could do with the same formula. Classic horror aficionados will find much to compare, with the same ancient evils resurrected plot wise, the same helpless busty heroines, and the same near blackness films of the 70s often had, forcing the viewer to reach for the brightness control. There is even the obligatory witch to pull the story several notches away from horror in the direction of the occult, evoking "Cry Of The Banshee" to name one British contemporary. Yet despite being typical of the genre, 'Baron Blood' stands out in a few areas. Bava takes us to a real Austrian castle, the magnificent Berg Kreuzenstein, which oozes character all its own. It's also set in then-present day Austria. Hammer would often take us back a century for the action, although to be fair, this was already the era of Dr Phibes, which showed a monster in the 20th Century would probably scare the viewer more. Then, if you've got the US version, there's Les Baxter's soundtrack, which strongly suggests he didn't know it was a horror film. Why, was Stelvio Cipriani's original score deemed to scary for Americans, i.e - doing what it was supposed to do?

On the acting side of things, the cast do a fair job. Nothing award-winning, but they have just enough conviction to make you believe them. Rising above this however is the exceptional Joseph Cotton, as the mysterious Alfred Becker, a millionaire who suddenly appears out of the ether to buy the baron's castle. Given that the script is not one to hide its twists very well, Cotton is a welcome compensation. You can't help but look at him whenever he appears, wondering what he'll do next.

Overall, 'Baron Blood' breaks no new ground, but gives the genre fan most of the things they would expect, with some excellent location work and a memorable villain into the bargain. English-language viewers may scratch their heads at the mystifying score, but don't let it put you off - this is just the ticket for late-evening viewing.
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8/10
Genre filmmaking that explodes its limits. (possible spoiler)
alice liddell29 March 2000
Warning: Spoilers
A superb slice of modern Gothic, from one of the masters of horror (and one of the great stylists full stop). The film is full of familiar elements - haunted castle, return of the undead etc. - which are injected with new themes and depth, but what you'll be left with is Bava's unparalled visual brilliance, his ability to animate the inanimate, to disturb with point of view.

The film opens like a typically early 70s style movie - jet-setting, unreal colour redolent of wealth and advertisements, the kind of gorgeously upbeat easy listening music you'd find on, say, 'The Sound Gallery'. Peter Kleist is an American post-graduate student who comes to stay with his Austrian professor uncle, Dr. Karl Hummel, to take a vacation from studies. Related to the notorious Otto von Kleist, 17th century Baron Blood, a vicious aristocrat who would torture, rape and murder the local villagers, he brings with him a family document, an incantation from one of the Baron's victims, a witch, which can rescusitate him to suffer eternal anguish.

Together with his uncle's leggy assistant, Eva Arnold, Peter summons the Baron. Over the next few days, a number of grisly murders are committed, as a man with a horrifically incinerated face wanders about. The castle, which was to be reconstructed as a hotel until the manager was murdered, is put up for auction, and bought by the benevolent, wheelchair-bound Mr. Becker, who begins a few renovations of his own.

Like all great horror films, BARON BLOOD concerns the tension between modernity, rationality, progress, and the suppressed barbarities of the past. The film fetishises the modern, the jet-setting rich, the pretty, newly professional women, the plan to turn a building with a ghoulish past into a hotel for tourists, the Coke dispensers, the wealthy American buying up property in Europe.

And yet, as in Henry James, it is the modern Americans who unleash the terrors of the past, their past, the corruption of which caused their ancestors to leave Europe in the first place. Unlike classic horror texts like 'Dracula', though, which manages to asset modern order over the transgression of the past, the modern are driven out, half-dead, having suffered barbaric torture - the undead take over the castle, as infernal torture and revenge are the closure we are offered - the rational is defeated.

This is all the more disturbing in that the home/castle in horror often stands for both the mind and the state. We begin with a professor, and two masters students, we end with a terrifying vision of impotent, broken intellect, and damaged, vulnerable bodies. The idea of modernity being unable to hide the brutalities and terrors of the past is always compelling, given piquant particularity here by the setting in Austria, birthplace of Hitler (as my wife points out, the female lead is called Eva), only a generation past - the images of dead villagers staked and hung from the roofs, or destroyed by the most elaborately scientific, medieval torture contraptions, have a resonance which is only to contemporary.

Like all great stylists, Bava eschews the tyranny of 'psychologically realistic' narratives - his characters are non-acted puppets made even less convincing by the dubbing. One exception is Joseph Cotten, a man with fair claim to the epithet 'the greatest actor in the cinema', and his wheelchair-bound performance of an insane wealthy man, alone in his crumbling castle, reverberates thrilling echoes of CITIZEN KANE.

There is some good stuff about modern families (the child has seemingly telekinetic powers that enable her to see ghosts where others can't) and gender; while there is an ummistakably Sadean flavour to the Baron's tortures that interestingly rents the central 'family', with most of his exertions going on his descendent, which adds an incestuous frisson to a metaphyically charged conflict.

As with Franju, the use of Gothic horror in modern Europe also allows, in our age of beauty and supermodels, for disquisition on the nature of faces, bodies and decay. The names of characters are also surely significant (Kleist - suicidal Romantic German writer who wrote some of literature's most disturbing stories, often violent tales about eruptions of the past; Gretchen, sweetheart of Faust, who sold his soul to the devil; Eva - the first woman whose transgression made man aware of his sexuality - there is a significanct sequence with a wayward apple).

This is mere surface-scratching, and perhaps reveals the breadth of the film's reach, and the thematic flexibility of a genre marginalised as exploitaition. But the real point of this film is Bava's visuals. His castle is a magnificent Gothic creation, and he turns it into a lead character, an omniscient observer of the silly, flailing humans. Characters who boast their rational power find themselves shrouded in darkness, or enveloped in elaborate decor.

Bava focuses on certain minor details that initially befuddle the viewer, but open up surprisingly, and offer a completely unexpected way of looking. His use of exagerrated perspective - another tribute to Orson Welles - is astonishing, as the already loaded frame seems ready to collapse under its own weight and possibility. As my wife suggests, the house, with is corridor-veins and arteries, even seems to bleed.

What's really disorienting is Bava's playing with point of view. He makes frequent use of subjective shots - we see from a character's point of view - and many scenes are 'unrealistically' lit and coloured by the emotional state of the characters (eg the extraordinary sequence where Eva is chased). This empathy makes the breaks with conventional point of view all the more shattering. We get point of view shots that can't quite belong to a character, or obviously don't - long shots from miles off, way out of characters' reach, or in crannies or at angles they could never negotiate. And yet these are filmed, not as omniscient, but as belonging to someone. Who? The sense of an unseen presence, beyond even the realm of the undead, is not the least of Bava's achievements here.
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9/10
Glorious Mario Bava's horror film. **Spoilers**
HumanoidOfFlesh6 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This glorious Italian horror film made by Mario Bava concerns a young couple(Antonio Cantafora,Elke Sommer)who manage to revive a cruel sorcerer-Baron Otto Von Kleist(Joseph Cotten)from the 1500s.Posing as a cripple,the Baron assimilates back into society and buys back his old castle,where he begins torturing and murdering innocent locals in his dungeon.It takes an enchanted amulet to defeat him,as all his victims rise from the grave for revenge.Veteran filmmaker Mario Bava's direction is truly splendid,the cast features plenty of Euro-horror regulars including Massimo Girotti,Luciano Pigozzi and young Nicoletta Elmi and there are some memorable horror set-pieces for example we see scenes containing:disfigured characters,hanged people,characters locked inside of a torture device and a couple of crusty zombies.The film is stylish and offers plenty of wonderful Gothic atmosphere.The use of lighting is especially notable."Baron Blood" is definitely not the best Mario Bava's horror film,but if you are a fan of Italian genre movies or Hammer productions you can't miss it.9 out of 10.
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7/10
Where did you get that hat? Where did you get that hat?
Bezenby12 December 2017
It might not be top tier Bava, but any Bava is still highly enjoyable. This is one of your more straightforward plots concerning a sadistic evil baron brought back from the dead by accident. In fact, it's so straightforward I kept waiting for a twist that never actually occurred.

It's the evil Baron's distant direct relative who unleashes the grumpy undead bastard. He's one of these know-it-all young seventies gents who just has to revisit his family tree by going back to his home in Austria, getting an incantation, talking a sexy Euro babe (Elke Sommer) into helping him, then indirectly burning the parchment that could possibly send the Baron back to his grave.

I've probably watched too many Italian films set in Castles and/or huge mansions, but while this rotten faced murderer was going around pouncing on folk, I couldn't help but think that it was all a Scooby Doo type ruse by someone in disguise to get some sort of inheritance. I was wrong, though. There really is an undead aristocrat on the loose – but what has wheelchair bound Joseph Cotton got to do with it?

Yep, it really is an undead monster on the loose film, but it's one directed by Mario Bava, so you get immaculate cinematography and colour schemes, a dark atmosphere (especially during the bit witch Rada Rassimov channels the spirit of the Baron's old enemy, plus the sight of impaled people on the battlements of the castle), and some properly tense scenes, for example Elke Sommer being chased by the Baron through fog-filled streets.

The ending's a good one too – I can't argue with the undead rising (is this a case of Bava being ahead the pack again?). This one goes down a bit too smoothly, but others rate it as one of Bava's best, so it's just a case of taste. I'm a big fan of his last film, Shock, and I'm sure others are down on that one.

Also - you can't go wrong with a zombified Luciano Pigozzi! I suppose most people also point out that this isn't as gory as some of Mario Bava's films too.
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9/10
A masterpiece in imagery
BaronBl00d8 February 1999
Mario Bava was above any star he could ever put into a film for he was the star of the film behind the camera. With the possible exception of Barbara Steele in Black Sunday, Bava's films are noted mostly for Bava's direction and Baron Blood is no exception. The acting in the film is competent, but what makes this a great horror film is the visual landscapes Bava paints for us, whether it is a sadistic caped killer rampaging the tiny streets of a dark European night filled with fog or the stately grandeur of the animated dead within the confines of the castle, Bava is an artist using colours like a Rembrandt or Picasso. Baron Blood is a gruesome film filled with genuine terror and it will scare because it is scary in both content and with its heavy mood looming throughout.
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8/10
The Baron is back....Let the Blood flow........
Prof-Hieronymos-Grost4 March 2005
Orrori del castello di Norimberga, Gli aka Baron Blood (1972) Mario Bava Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) an American returns to his ancestral home in Italy hoping to gain information on his family in particular Baron Otto von Kleist known to locals as Baron Blood, who legend has it died a terrible death because of the cruel and sadistic way he would torture and kill the local villagers and also had a curse put on him by a witch that would see him suffer a hundred times what he inflicted on others. Peter is met at the airport by Dr. Karl Hummel(Massimo Girotti)who brings him to Baron Blood's old Castle which he is told is to be renovated and turned into a themed hotel based on the torture chamber of the Baron to attract foreign tourists. Peter has in his possession an old parchment his grandfather gave him that says if you read it aloud in the place where the Baron died he will return from the dead….Peter shows this to Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer) a historical restorer working on the Castle and she agrees to go with him at midnight to the room where the Baron died to read the incantation……A sudden gust of wind blows the parchment into the fire meaning the spell is irreversible…..Things start to get kinda spooky locals start to die and go missing and Peter and Eva believe that the Baron Blood may be back from the grave to continue his bloodlust. Cue the arrival of the mysterious Alfred Becker{Joseph Cotten) a wheelchair bound stranger who buys the castle at auction and announces his intention to live there. The killings continue and soon Eva realizes she is next on the killers list… Stunningly beautiful visuals as always with Bava….The castle in particular is amazing a real bonus to any Horror Director with a visual flair……….Yes there are a few holes in the plot but they didn't detract from my enjoyment……The performances are a little open to debate…. Its hard to know if the acting is bad or just the dubbing actors voice, but I do wish the undubbed versions of Bava's films were all available.
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10/10
`The Agony of Hell' …. Terrifically brought to live by Mario Bava!
Coventry5 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
(Small spoilers included) This is a brilliant film…I'm getting rather monotonous when reviewing Mario Bava films, but I can't help it. The man just made nothing but masterpieces and cult-highlights! Perhaps not the most genius film to state Bava's importance, Baron Blood still remains a stylish gothic wholesome that destroys practically all American horror movies. Baron Blood contains a lot of suspense and a rather fair amount of gore and maniacal slaughters. Other than that, all the usual Bava characteristics are present such as beautiful music, breath-taking locations and top-scenery (Von Kleist's torture chamber!!!). I just love the basic plot of Baron Blood! The key figure is a bloodthirsty madman, who was cursed to suffer eternally in hell back in the 17th century. A direct ascendant of his found a parchment, containing a formula to bring him back. Driven by curiosity he and a female architecture student (Elke Sommer – who already worked with Bava in the sublime ‘Lisa and the Devil') speak the words and true terror is resurrected once more. Innocent inhabitants of the small Austrian town start to die in horrible ways again. Meanwhile, a mysterious and lonely millionaire comes to town and buys the Baron's castle… Could there be a relation between the dwelling maniac and this man?

There are some serious plot holes in Baron Blood – almost the size of a melon - and the acting performances in this film surely are below standards. The constant screaming of Elke Sommer might become annoying after a while and especially Joseph Cotton disappoints with his uninspired performance. Cotton is best known for his role as Vincent Price's opponent in `The Abominable Dr. Phibes'. In spite of these few negative aspects, Baron Blood still is a MUST for Italian horror lovers and fans of horror cinema in general. If it were only for the haunting sequence in which Elke Sommer is being chased through the dark and foggy small streets of the village. Like none other, this scene proves that Bava is a master in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere.
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Bava's Best
LJ2723 August 1999
This 1972 film is the best film Mario Bava ever made if you ask me (and I like most of his films). I first saw it on TV when I was 10 years old and got lost in the parts about the witch but don't worry, those parts don't take up much of the film and it gets itself back on track quickly for a really great, cool climax that was truly ahead of it's time. Best of all, it is SCARY! Scenes of the heroine being hunted by the living dead Baron Von Kleist still make me nervous and I must've seen this film 20 times ( I own a VHS and a laserdisc copy of it if that shows how much I enjoy it). Joseph Cotton gives a really fine performance as Mr. Becker, the man who wishes to restore the Baron's castle, and the other main characters are likeable (important if you are to care whether or not they die). Bava is in top form here with some of the best horror film lighting ever done and builds suspense time and again. Don't watch it if you are going to be distracted because you do have to pay attention if you don't want to get lost but if you watch it closely, it's pretty easy to follow. Recent copies of the film are widescreen which is good, but have the original Italian score. The earlier pan and scan tapes are the American International Pictures version which contains a much scarier score by Les Baxter. The widescreen copy is supposedly uncut but I can't tell any difference other than the framing and the score. Either way though, it is a scary, fun horror masterpiece that I always enjoy watching again and again. If you've never seen it before, I dare you to watch it alone late at night.
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8/10
Heavily flawed Bava masterpiece
Casey-5223 April 2000
Mario Bava is one of the best Italian horror directors, his name is synonymous with terror! He influenced the "Friday the 13th" series, "Halloween", and countless other films, inside and outside of the genre. "Baron Blood" is a lesser-known opus from Bava and is one of his least watchable.

Bava regular Elke Sommer is top-billed with Joseph Cotton, who are both usually great, but Sommer overacts in her hysterics and Cotton isn't very sinister. None of the acting of the film is very good except underrated child actress Nicoletta Elmi. The real stars of the film are Bava's cinematography, set (a real Austrian castle), and lighting techniques. The highlight of the film is a chase scene in a courtyard maze lit by blue and yellow lights, simply breathtaking! Other scenes worthy of note include a coffin lined with nails, the final (rather tame) scenes in the baron's torture chamber, dead bodies impaled on the castle's towers, a witch feeling the wraith of the Baron, Elmi being chased by the Baron in the woods, and a chase scene through the halls of the crumbling castle. Fabulous! But, it is too tame for Bava, holds very little actual intelligent in the plotline and execution, and is too tedious, grabbing little attention for the entire film. Budding Bava fans should be steered towards "Black Sunday", "Bay of Blood", or "Lisa and the Devil"; "Baron Blood" should be a last resort to new and old Bava fans.
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7/10
Baron Blood
Scarecrow-884 June 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Peter Kleist(Antonio Cantafora)pays a visit of leisure and relaxation to Austria where many of his ancestors once lived. He's quite fascinated with a notorious figure in his family ancestry, that of Baron Otta von Kleist who was known for torturing innocents in his chamber of horrors in his castle for pleasure. In myth, a witch named Elisabeth Hölle evoked a curse on "Baron Blood" which resulted in a horrible death..a parchment was created which could bring him back from the dead and is discovered by Peter and Eva(Elke Sommer, nice-looking pair of legs, but terrible performance), an assistant to Mayor Dortmundt(Dieter Tressler)who is seeing the transformation of the notorious castle into a hotel. Peter and Eva, as a joke, evoke the incantation on the parchment releasing the evil spirit of Baron Blood to kill again. Soon Dortmundt's neck is snapped like a twig hanging by his throat from a rope Baron had prepared, while a poor caretaker named Fritz(Luciano Pigozzi)gets spiked by a horizontal version of the Iron Maidan. Even a medical doctor, with only the kindest intentions, gets stabbed in the throat..Baron Blood takes no prisoners, he executes them with a vile pleasure. Soon, the castle is up for auction with the mysterious Alfred Becker(Joseph Cotten, with this cat-like grin as if hidden behind his eyes is a devious intent)purchasing it. Meanwhile, Eva's life is threatened, in the flick's best, most inspired sequence(an expertly photographed chase sequence with immensely stylish lighting taking the utmost advantage of the street lights and how they can create the greatest atmosphere through fog and trees following Elke around building corners among other angles)where she runs for her life as the Baron chases her. This chase actually started when Eva went to visit Alfred showing him a quilt she found that might suitably fit within the castle he is renovating. She finds the Baron(his grotesque face and charred, crushed hands trying to grab her)as he darts for her ready to kill one of those who he feels has a chance to send him back to whence he came. Peter finds her, taking Eva home, but guess who is waiting for her? They seek help from Dr. Karl Hummel, quite a mathematical mind, a scientist who hadn't believed the story until Eva's life was threatened, who sets up a visit with a clairvoyant. This clairvoyant's name is Christina(Rada Rassimov)who is a medium between the living and the dead. She has the ability to call Elisabeth Höll from the spiritual realm for guidance at how to defeat Baron Blood..she informs them that he can only be destroyed by those who he himself destroyed. Christina hands them an amulet and sends them on their way. When Karl's niece is possibly threatened Peter, Eva & Karl decide to warn Alfred, who is wheel-chair bound, but..the little girl may possibly deliver them clues to who might actually be Baron Otto von Kleist if they put together reasons why it might just be who they never might expect.

Despite a terrific castle setting and some magnificent Gothic sequences showing the exercise in style always on display from the master artist Bava, the premise is old-hat and story rather silly..especially the conclusion which undermines such terrific atmosphere set-up throughout. Some awful musical accompaniment on the soundtrack reminding us of it's 70's roots doesn't help matters. There is still enough here to satisfy Bava faithful and a solid villain certainly helps. The supernatural aspects may be the film's main Achilles' heel. The most unintentionally hilarious aspect could be that the protagonists figure out the identity of Baron Blood from a little girl.
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7/10
You can't keep a good sadist down!
lost-in-limbo21 March 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Peter Kleist is on trip to Vienna, Austria and while there he comes across an ancient castle once owned by his ancestor Baron Otto Von Kleist, who performed sadistic torture and killed many village inhabitants that dared to get in his way. He meets up with Eva who's an assistant to the current owner of the castle and curiosity gets the better of them when the two bring back to life the Baron from reciting an incantation that Peter has had since his childhood. Soon enough, the Baron is back to doing what he does best as people start ending up dead or missing.

Beautiful! Artistic! Mario Bava's craftsmanship totally bounces off the screen! 'Baron Blood' sports maybe a conventional plot, but it's the dominantly visual prowess and innovative flair that burns a formidable imprint in your mind. Amen to that! You know you can't go wrong with the visual scope when Bava's on board, but the film's material was another story. Lapses in the continuity of the leaden script don't go away and within the loose story not much really did happen with a real lack of surprises and suspense. It felt like I was watching a slasher film to begin with as when the baron is resurrected he knocks off a couple of people in quick concession, but then it changes direction with it opting for a slow-grinding mystery/revenge phase. Some stuff that's brought up in the dialogs seems quite silly (like how Peter wants to learn from the Baron) and overall it's given pretty much wooden treatment by a stiff looking cast. The more than capable Joseph Cotton gives in an uninspired performance and Elke Sommer is there to look radiant and have a scream every now and again.

Well, at least Bava was switched on for the job because it's his strokes of finesse that lifts this out of the rut. The set pieces are genuinely striking with its atmospheric make-up. The awe-inspiring Gothic castle with its dark passageways and horrendous dungeon looks the part by evoking terror from its dreaded surroundings and ghoulish torture devices. There's one sequence that stands out from the rest involving the Baron chasing down Eva one night throughout the foggy village. Simply it's sensational in its execution! The art direction is seamlessly faultless with such good use of light composition, especially during the film's best sequence. There are one or two sequences that hinder the pacing, but for most part it's supremely done. The usual dynamically, intrusive camera shots make a lasting impression with Bava's constant obsession with zooms and exuberant panning. The boisterous score doesn't escape you either with a reasonably persistent pattern in capturing the lurid feeling that seems to be prowling off the screen. The thick make-up and the mysterious outfit looked great and fitted in ideally with the treacherous look of the Baron. The blood and gore is not over-the-top, but there are a few neat touches in some solid death scenes and the climax is more so understated that you'll probably wish it showed some torture instead it goes for suggestiveness where we only hear the pain.

Very heavy on style, but incredibly light in matter is an idyllic statement for this flick. You might call it mediocre at best, but saying that, it's not nearly enough to damage my viewing because Bava's profound capability purely takes hold.
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7/10
Eerie and Spooky
claudio_carvalho14 July 2009
After the completion of his master's degree, Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) travels to Austria to spend a leisure period doing nothing. He is welcomed in the airport by his uncle Dr. Karl Hummel (Massimo Girotti) and he asks if he could visit the castle of his ancestor, the evil Baron Otto von Kleist a.k.a. Baron Blood. In the Sixteenth Century, the sadistic baron was cursed by a witch Elisabeth Holle that he had burned at the stake and then he was killed by the locals in his Castle of Death. Peter meets the gorgeous Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer) that works restoring the castle and invites her to go with him to the castle after dinner to read an incantation written in an ancient parchment that would evoke the family course and bring the Baron back to life. After reading the magic words, the wind blows the parchment to the fireplace and it burns. When villagers mysterious disappear and Eva is chased by a weird man, they realize that they have released the Baron and they do not have the parchment anymore to call the incantation off. Their hope is that the clairvoyant and medium Christina Hoffmann (Rada Rassimov), who is a descendant of Elisabeth, might help them.

"Baron Blood" is another eerie and spooky movie of Mario Bava. The uncanny story of curse, witchcraft and resurrection is very well supported by the predictable screenplay that works well, but the stylish cinematography, the lighting and shadows and the camera work with unusual angle are impressive and give a creepy and nightmarish atmosphere to the feature. This is the first time that I see this movie and the IMDb Rating is underrated; I believe fans of horror movies will really like "Baron Blood". My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): Not Available

Note: On 07 Oct 2018 I saw this film again.
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7/10
Underrated Bava
bensonmum24 February 2005
Warning: Spoilers
While I prefer Bava's Black Sunday and Kill Baby...Kill, this is a good movie that I would highly recommend. Baron Blood combines the best elements of a good old-time ghost/haunted house story with a modern day slasher film.

All of Bava's trademarks are here - imaginative lighting, wonderful sets, and dramatic locations. Combined, they create the perfect horror movie atmosphere. Unfortunately, another Bava trademark is here as well - a weak script. There are some plot holes big enough the drive the Baron's castle through. But with Bava's style and skill as a director, the plot problems seem very minor.

The film concerns the evil Baron Otto von Kleist. After having been brought back to life, he continues the murderous ways of the past. There are some truly frightening moments in the film. (I'm not talking just creepy, I mean downright scary.) Examples would include the scenes involving the summoning of the Baron or Elke Sommer running from the Baron through the dark streets.

Speaking of the chase scene, films like Halloween or Friday the 13th were obviously heavily influenced by this movie. One could easily envision either Michael or Jason chasing Elke through the foggy streets.
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6/10
ridiculous, but stylish and amusing
ThrownMuse8 December 2004
Peter goes to Austria to relax after getting his MA and to..."find his roots." He stays with an uncle who shows him the castle that belonged to his dead ancestor (aka Baron Blood), who was notorious for his torture chamber. He meets an architecture student named Eva and they find out the Baron was cursed under a witch's spell. So they decide to invoke the Baron's spirit. Why? Because Peter can't pass the chance to get to know one of his ancestors. Really. This is the worst Bava movie I've seen so far. Not to say it was bad. Baron Blood is very stylish and entertaining, gruesome, suspenseful, and the sets are great. The main problem is that the plot is absurd and the characters and their apparent motivations are extremely stupid. The horrid 70s song that opens and closes the movie should have never been recorded. My Rating: 5.5/10
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4/10
Even the greats have their bad days
Falconeer28 October 2006
Mario Bava is responsible for some of the the most chilling, and most beautiful horror films of all time. That is why I found his 'Baron Blood' somewhat of a letdown. Although some of the cinematography is appealing, especially the beautiful old castle, the movie mostly comes across as silly, and not scary at all. The story is a tired one, and it looked as though Bava was just going through the motions here. And as much as I loved Elke Sommer in the infinitely superior "Lisa & the Devil", I really grew tired of her hammy acting and constant screaming here. It was as though she read the script and somehow knew that it wasn't on par with "Lisa", so she perhaps did not give it her best effort. If you are curious about the great Mario Bava, this is not the film to start out with. I recommend his other works, such as the gorgeous and bizarre S&M laced "Whip & the Body", or the understated and creepy "Kill, Baby, Kill", or of course, "Black Sunday", the b/w Gothic horror masterpiece. 'Baron Blood is unfortunately, one of Mario Bava's weakest films.
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Surprisingly good!
WritnGuy-216 June 1999
"Baron Blood" was the first horror movie I actually bought to keep. I usually rent them, watch 'em once or twice, then return them. But yesterday, I decided, "What the hell, get it." So, I did. And I really liked it.

The storyline was pretty good. Yet, I was only disappointed with one thing. In horror movies, I look for the female characters to have a really good scream. That seems to always be a good element. And I've seen a few movies with great screamers. But the main female character in this was a little disappointing. She sounded a little weird. But that wasn't a big deal. She was a good actress, particularly in the chase scenes between her and the Baron. That was another part of this movie I liked. It had two chase scenes that were very good. And, if you watch, there's a little "Halloween"-like scene in the second chase scene. I recommend checking that out, even though this movie was made six years before the John Carpenter classic.

If you don't listen to the dialogue and follow the movie well, you won't understand some of scenes. I was lost in a few scenes involving a psychic woman of some sorts. But this is still a true classic, and a cut above the rest.

Great trivia note: Listen for the organ music when the woman is in the church. You'll hear a familiar soundtrack favorite.
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10/10
The Baron deserves a better score.
patphonic20 May 2019
Baron Blood is one of my favorites of Bava's horror films. Baron Blood is more of a horror film in the traditional sense compared to Bava's other work. It honestly plays out much like a really good Scooby-Doo episode, and I don't mean that as a slight. You can expect more gore and creative kills in this late piece of popcorn fodder. Enjoy.
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6/10
Brutal Fun
tabongareviews24 February 2019
STORYLINE / Joseph Cotten stars in this Euro horror fest, it's a tale about a young man who's visiting the castle of a murderous ancestor in Austria, and, accidentally brings his dead relative back to life. Now, the monster's out searching for new victims!

TABONGA SEZ... What's great about Euro horror is that it's so over the top, and that translate's into 'fun to watch.' Baron Blood is a pretty creepy guy, so, check out this crazy flick when you get a chance, especially if you like lots of BLOOD!
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8/10
Stylish horror film that plays like a rethinking of Bava's "Black Sunday"
AlsExGal1 February 2019
Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) takes time off from college and flies to Austria to find out about his ancestry. His Uncle Karl (Massimo Girotti) meets him at the airport and takes him home. On the way, they stop by what used to be their family home. It was once owned by a ancestor of theirs, who was nicknamed "Baron Blood". The castle is now called "The Castle of the Devils". When they arrive, they meet Eva (Elke Sommer), an archivist who is helping with the castles' refinishing; it is being turned into a hotel. Later that night, Peter produces an old manuscript that has an incantation on it to recall the baron from Hell. On a whim, he and Eva go to the castle and pronounce the ritual. Strange things happen immediately, and then people start disappearing.

Cantafora is good as the man who thinks the occult is nothing but a joke, and learns otherwise the hard way. Sommer will never be one of the screen scream queens, but otherwise she is near perfect in her role. She goes from flirting with Peter, to being nervous about what may happen, to being terrified, to being the only one who understands how to bring about the baron's end. Joseph Cotten is excellent in his role as the American who is not afraid to stay in the castle.

As with almost all of Bava's films, the cinematography is excellent. In this case the cinematography was by Emilio Varriano. This is a very good horror film that is worth your time.
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