Baron Blood | Chicago Reader

Baron Blood

Italian director Mario Bava made his name with gothic horror films like Black Sunday and The Whip and the Body, but this 1972 feature finds him going through the motions with a lame script and a listless Joseph Cotten in the title role. An American student (Antonio Cantafora) arrives in Austria hoping to learn more about his notorious ancestor, a sadistic 17th-century nobleman whose murderous abuses of power ended when his subjects rose up and killed him. The family castle (actually the beautiful Korneuberg Museum near Vienna) is being converted into a tourist hotel, and with the help of the project's architectural adviser (Elke Sommer) and a magical incantation, the hero brings the old fiend back to life. There are two scary set pieces—the midnight resurrection ceremony in the castle's bell tower, and the slouch-hatted baron's pursuit of Sommer down a darkened street (the latter inspired by Andre de Toth's House of Wax)—but the trite plot drags on forever. Dubbed in English. 100 min.

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