CANNON MONTH 2: Cauldron of Blood (1970)

Originally filmed — in Spain — as El Coleccionista de cadáveres (The Corpse Collector), this was directed by Santos Alcocer, who some credit as Edward Mann. They’re definitely two different people — Alcocer also made Only a Coffin and wrote several other movies while Mann  directed Hallucination Generation. He also wrote Island of Terror, The Freakmaker and Seizure, while directing Hot Pants HolidayWho Says I Can’t Ride a Rainbow! and Hooch. He also contributed the song “There’s a Certain Kind of Woman” to this movie, co-founded New York City’s Circle in the Square, was a syndicated cartoonist on Andy Gump, Dixie Dugan and Joe Palooka before doing his own strip Blade Winters and was a creative force who worked to make Woodstock, NY an artier place to live. He also co-wrote this movie along with John Melson and José Luis Bayonas.

Franz Badulescu (Boris Karloff) has been using skeletons in his sculptures for years; it’s only recently that the bones have come from the victims of his homocidal wife Tania (Viveca Lindfors). She’s already hobbled Franz with a car wreck; now it seems that she wants to take him off the table.

Journalist Claude Marchand (Jean-Pierre Aumont) is in town to interview Franz and fall in love with Valerie (Rosenda Monteros) just in time for Tania and her lover Shanghai (Milo Quesada) to select her as their next victim.

Cannon released this on a double bill with Crucible of Horror which seems like a fine pair. Thanks to DVD Drive-In, I learned that Karloff replaced Claude Rains in this film and had been in Spain to shoot an episode of I-Spy — “Mainly on the Plains” — that also has Paul Naschy in it.

Fitting in with the art as murder genre — House of WaxA Bucket of BloodBlood BathColor Me Blood Red — this has a great ending centered around a vat of acid and an awesome psychedelic freakout opening credits sequence. This isn’t a well-considered movie yet I found myself really enjoying it, particularly the dream sequences that Lindfors endures of her being beaten and dressing as a German soldier before waking up to take out her worries on the staff.

If the music seems like you’ve heard it before, that’s because Filmation used it for their Shazam! and Star Trek series.

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