Bloody Pit of Horror

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Bloody Pit of Horror
Italian film poster for Bloody Pit of Horror
Directed by Domenico Massimo Pupillo
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Roberto Natale
  • Romano Migliorini[1]
Story by
  • Roberto Natale
  • Romano Migliorini[1]
Music by Gino Peguri[1]
Cinematography Luciano Trasatti[1]
Edited by Mariano Arditi[1]
  • M.B.S. Cinematografica
  • International Entertainment Corp.[1]
Release date
  • November 28, 1965 (1965-11-28) (Italy)
  • May 16, 1967 (1967-05-16) (United States)
Running time
87 minutes[1]
  • Italy
  • United States[1]
Box office ₤65 million

Bloody Pit of Horror (Italian: Il boia scarlatto) is a 1965 Italian-American gothic horror film. The film, set in Italy, stars Mickey Hargitay, Walter Brandi, Luisa Baratto, and Rita Klein, and tells the story of a group of women modelling for a photo shoot, when the owner of the castle becomes the Crimson Executioner, bent on their deaths.


A group of individuals including the writer Rick (Walter Bigari), Daniel Parks (Alfredo Rizzo), his publisher, his secretary, Edith (Luisa Baratto), their photographer, Dermott (Ralph Zucker) and five young models enter a seemingly deserted castle to take photos for a horror photonovel. The castle is actually occupied by a former actor, Travis Anderson (Mickey Hargitay). Anderson initially desires to send the group away, but recognizes Edith (who was once his fiancée) and changes his mind, but places the dungeon as off limits for the group. The group ignores this warning and proceed to take photos there anyway. This angers Anderson, who dons a costume and takes the identity of the Crimson Executioner, who was hanged centuries earlier for the crime of having his own private torture chamber. Anderson eventually kills each member of the group until Edith and Rick remain. Anderson succombs to his own torture devices and is killed by the poisoned barbs on the "Lover-of-Death" machine. Edith and Rick then escape with their lives.


Mickey Hargitay in 1964, one year before the release of Bloody Pit of Horror
  • Mickey Hargitay as Travis Anderson
  • Walter Bigari as Rick
  • Luisa Baratto as Edith
  • Ralph Zucker as Dermott, the photographer
  • Alfredo Rizzo as Daniel Parks
  • Nando Angelini as Perry
  • Gino Turini as Travis' mustached henchman
  • Roberto Messina as Travis’ bald henchman
  • Barbara Nelli as Suzy
  • Moa Tahi as Kinojo
  • Morgan Salpietro as Nancy
  • Femi Benussi as Annie[1]


Bloody Pit of Horror was shot at Balsorano Castle while interior shots were at Palazzo Borghese, Artena.[1] Mickey Hargitay stated he had little experience in acting, noting that he "wasn't any more of an accomplished actor than a taxi driver", but still felt he provided a good performance in the film.[2]


Bloody Pit of Horror was distributed in Italy by M.B.S. and released on November 28, 1965. It grossed a total of 65 million Italian lire on its release. It was released on May 16, 1967 in the United States, where it was distributed by Pacemaker Pictures.[1] On its release in the United States, the film was released as a double bill with Terror-Creatures from the Grave. The American version was cut to 74 minutes of predominantly expository scenes.[3] The American promotion of Bloody Pit of Horror made claims that it was based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. The film was re-released in Italy in 1972 under the title Marchese de Sade (lit. I...the Marquis de Sade)[4]

The complete English-language "friendly" version of the film was released as a Special Edition DVD by Something Weird Video (distributed by Image Entertainment), and contains the shorter print with deleted scenes included as a supplement.[4] The film has been released numerous times on DVD, with over 20 different releases by various studios.[5]


Critical reception for the film has been mostly negative with some critics calling it "trashy".[6] In his analysis of the film, Roberto Curti noted his derivation from fotoromanzi and fumetti neri,[7] and dismissed the film as "decidedly campy."[4] Italian critic Roberto Guidotti marked the film as "a comic-strip movie, with a story told through a series of scenes, pictures and pacing that are more akin to comics than cinema. Inside the empty spaces, that open continually, immobilizing the story, one would often be tempted to insert a few captions and balloons."[8] In his book Italian Horror Film Directors, Louis Paul described the film as "a laughable yet disturbing and sadistic entry in the [horror] genre",[9] and "an exercise in homophobia and the debasement of women masked as entertainment."[10]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Curti 2015, p. 138.
  2. ^ Senn 2007, p. 156.
  3. ^ Curti 2015, p. 142.
  4. ^ a b c Curti 2015, p. 143.
  5. ^ "The Bloody Pit of Horror (1965) - Releases". Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  6. ^ Hughes 2011, p. 92.
  7. ^ Curti 2015, p. 140.
  8. ^ Piselli, Stefano; Guidotti, Roberto. "I deliri di un sadico narcisista. Il boia scarlatto". Diva Cinema 1951-1965. Glittering Images edizioni d'essai, 1989. p. 36. 
  9. ^ Paul 2005, pp. 19-20.
  10. ^ Paul 2005, p. 307.


  • Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 1476619891. 
  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0. 
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3. 
  • Senn, Bryan (2007). A Year of Fear: A Day-by-Day Guide to 366 Horror Films. McFarland. ISBN 1476610908. 

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