The two disc set from Arrow Video together four films all of varying quality; Operation Titian, Portrait in Terror, Blood Bath and Track of the Vampire. They are connected by the legendary resourceful Roger Corman who during this time of the 1960s was a major force in American Independent cinema. After his only directorial flop, the William Shatner starring civil rights drama The Intruder, failed to connect with an audience Roger Corman looked for filmmaking opportunities over in Europe.
The business savvy producer who was under the employment of American International Pictures secured footage from Russian Sci Fi movies and helmed F1 drama The Young Racers filmed under budget with the remaining money given to then unknown Francis Ford Coppola to direct horror flick Dementia 13. While in Europe he set up finance for the Yugoslavian crime movie Operation Titian that was to filmed in the picturesque Dubrovnik under the orders that it was to be shot in English to satisfy american audiences. Plus director Rados Novakovic had to work with a cast and crew that had just finished making Dementia 13.
Operation Titian is a slow moving atmospheric movie about a stolen painting that’s got some great location footage. The performances William Campbell and Patrick Magee give takes proceedings through effective twists and turns that you’d normally find in an Orson Welles movie. But Corman wasn’t satisfied with the end product but saw the potential in the cinematography of Dubrovnik so re edited Operation Titian which morphed into Portrait in Terror with some added footage filmed in Los Angeles for its release on television.
When Roger Corman offered future Blaxploitation director Jack Hill (with further additions from Stepanie Rothman later) to make his first movie Blood Bath he had to use footage from Operation Ticjian and brought back William Campbell to play a serial killing painter who murders his models for sexual satisfaction that also happens to be a vampire. While Blood Bath at 62 minutes is an incompetent hodge-podge of a movie, it does harken back to Corman’s 1959 Beatnik horror comedy A Bucket of Blood. There’s fun to be had from Blood Bath’s scares alongside the raving intellectuals dialogue from Corman casting regular Jonathan Haze and future Captain Spaulding Sid Haig.
This set is rounded of with Track of the Vampire that’s basically a very badly padded TV version of Blood Bath and was an endurance test to sit through especially the eight minute endless foot chase it’s good that it’s a part of the set but it’s not one to revisit ever again.
The films are presented in a 2K restoration that sit alongside several short interviews from Blood Bath director Jack Hill and actor Sid Haig. The most interesting extra is the hour plus long video essay from Video Watchdog’s Tim Lucas who in 1990 created a three part magazine article on the production history of these interlinked movies and goes into great detail about the changes in all of the films.
A must see for Corman fans a man who gave many opportunities to the top actors ,writers and directors that the industry greats such as Ron Howard,Martin Scorsese and Jack Nicolson.
Dir: Rados Novakovic, Michael Roy, Jack Hill & Stephanie Rothman
Scr: Vlasta Radovanovic, Vic Webber, Jack Hill & Stephanie Rothman
Cast: William Campbell, Patrick Magee, Rade Marcovic, Miha Baloh, Irena Prosen; Marissa Mathes, Linda Saunders, Sandra Knight, Carl Schanzer, Biff Elliot, Sid Haig, Jonathan Haze
Prd: Roger Corman
DOP: Nenad Jovicic, Dan Telford, Alfred Taylor
Music: Bojan Adamic, Ronald Stein
Years: 1963 – 1966
Runtimes: 95, 81, 62, 75 min
Blood Bath available on Blu Ray now