Cauldron of Blood


1h 41m 1971

Brief Synopsis

A sadistic sculptor who tortures his wife, gets revenge on her after she tries to turn the tables on him by killing people and giving him the bones for his work.

Film Details

Also Known As
Blind Man's Bluff, El Colleccionista de cadaveres
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1971
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 11 Nov 1971
Production Company
Harris Associates, Inc.; P. C. Hispamer Films; Robert D. Weinbach Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Cannon Films
Country
Spain and United States
Location
Madrid, Spain; Madrid,Spain; Torremolinos,Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Synopsis

One day on Spain's Costa del Sol, humble umbrella attendant Majo is strangled by a man cloaked in an overcoat and his body dragged from the beach. Days later, magazine writer Claude Marchand arrives at Costa del Sol to write a tourist industry article and, searching for a lively scene, goes to the Shanghai, a busy bar frequented by the local artist colony. Wanting to interview the reclusive, famous sculptor Charles Badulescu, Claude pays Badulescu's model Valerie, who is also an artist, to take him to Badulescu's villa the next day. Although Badulescu's wife and promoter, Tania, is reluctant, Claude charms his way into speaking with her husband, a frail man blinded in a car crash. When Claude questions Badulescu about the rumor that he uses real animal skeletons as a foundation for his sculpture, the domineering Tania cuts the interview short and ushers Claude out with the promise of allowing him to take photographs later. That afternoon at Valerie's studio, Valerie, Claude and Valerie's model Elga plan a masquerade to use as an exotic background for Claude's photography layout. Back at the villa, Tania's mute housekeeper Pilar attempts to comfort Tania, who awakens moaning in terror. However, Tania, who suffers from nightmares of being beaten mercilessly as a young girl, reacts violently, whipping Pilar until she screams. That afternoon, the strangler, his face hidden by his overcoat, kills a dog and carries its body away. Meanwhile, village boy Domingo reports to club owner Shanghai and Claude that the elderly fortune teller, Gypsy Queen, believes that Majo is dead. While they watch Majo's funeral procession that night, Shanghai and Claude, who have partnered to buy coastal land, hoping to profit from the tourist trade Claude's article will generate, discuss Majo's death as a possible murder. Meanwhile at the villa, Badulescu accuses Tania of staging the car accident in order to kill him and reminds her that she is doomed to take care of him forever. Ignoring Badulescu's ranting, Tania goes to her cellar laboratory, where she pulls out a skeleton from a vat of chemicals which have disintegrated the flesh from the bones. Minutes later, her accomplice and lover, the strangler arrives. After making love to the strangler, Tania returns to the studio and announces to Badulescu that she is procuring skeletons of two young women from an undertaker nearby for his next sculpture commission, claiming that an epidemic took their lives. The next day, Tania befriends Elga on the beach and extends an open invitation for dinner at the villa. Meanwhile, Pilar is returning home when the bartender from the Shanghai attacks and rapes her. That evening, as Elga is walking, she senses that she is being stalked and runs back to her secluded home. When Tania suddenly enters the house, the frightened Elga tells her about the stalker. Feigning sympathy, Tania invites Elga to return to the villa with her. The stalker, who is still lurking nearby, watches as Tania drives off with Elga. While Claude and Valerie spend a romantic evening together, Tania plies Elga with wine and serenades her on the harp. After Elga agrees to spend the night and goes to take a bath, Tania injects Badulescu with a sedative, silencing his complaints that Tania is hoarding the profits from his sculpture. Soon after, Tania watches as the strangler kills Elga then carries her lifeless body to the cellar. The next day, when Claude and Valerie go to the villa to shoot photographs, Claude accidentally drops a sculpture and finds real bones among the shards, enraging Tania, who rushes to clean up the refuse. As Tania ushers out the couple, Claude invites her to the masquerade. That night, Tania, dressed as a policewoman wearing a lace mask and a whip, is taunted by Elga's drunken stalker, who is a guest at the party and insinuates that he knows what happens at the villa. Soon after, a concerned Valerie, who found Elga's scarf at the villa earlier, asks Tania what time Elga left, but Tania shows little concern. Soon after, Tania, needing to cover up Elga's murder, seeks help from the strangler, who is revealed to be Shanghai when he agrees to kill the stalker to quiet him. After Shanghai throws a poison dart at the man, he and Tania carry him out of the bar, under the pretense that he has passed out from drinking. Later, Valerie, loses her cape as drunken revelers harass her outside and returns to the now empty bar to discover the stalker hanging from a meat hook in the cooler. Her screams are muted by Shanghai, who abducts her then takes her to the villa. Meanwhile at the gypsy camp, Pilar explains to the Queen Gypsy and Claude in her rudimentary sign language that she witnessed Valerie's abduction, showing them the cape as proof. The Queen Gypsy prophesizes that Badulescu is responsible for three deaths: Majo, the drunken stalker and Elga. She then warns Claude that the next victim will be someone close to him, who will die at 3 o'clock that night, just twenty minutes from the present. Claude races to the villa, where Shanghai engages him in a brutal fistfight. In the cellar, Valerie, having freed her bound hands, tries to wrestle a syringe filled with sedative from Tania, but Tania overpowers her and Valerie is soon unconscious. Badulescu, having learned the truth about the skeletons while eavesdropping on Tania and Shanghai, confronts Tania in the cellar and vows to kill her. Upstairs, soon after Claude kills Shanghai by strangling him with the strings of Tania's harp, a weary and horror-stricken Valerie falls into Claude's arms, having escaped from the cellar. Meanwhile, Tania attempts to lure her husband into the chemical vat, but Badulescu pushes Tania's arm into the bath, instantly searing the flesh from her bones and causing her to die from shock. Finding his cane, Badulescu climbs out of the cellar and throws himself off a high cliff to his death.

Film Details

Also Known As
Blind Man's Bluff, El Colleccionista de cadaveres
MPAA Rating
Release Date
Jan 1971
Premiere Information
New York opening: week of 11 Nov 1971
Production Company
Harris Associates, Inc.; P. C. Hispamer Films; Robert D. Weinbach Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Cannon Films
Country
Spain and United States
Location
Madrid, Spain; Madrid,Spain; Torremolinos,Spain

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 41m
Sound
Mono
Color
Color
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
2.35 : 1

Quotes

Trivia

The soundtrack for this film was used as incidental music for Filmation Studios live-action series "Shazam!" (qv)

Notes

Cauldron of Blood was released in Spain under the title El Colleccionista de Cadaveres, and an early working title was Blind Man's Bluff. Opening onscreen producer credits read: "A Robert D. Weinbach, Edward Mann Production" and, although the film was also directed by Mann, his onscreen directing credit is as "Santos Alcocer." The closing credits include acknowledgments for the following companies: Pan American World Airways, Mercedes-Benz, Cessna Aircraft and Endur, Madrid-Suede Creations.
       While the film was shot in 1967, according to a August 23, 1966 Hollywood Reporter article, Allied Artists was originally set to produce the film when it was entitled Blind Man's Bluff and cast Jean Pierre Aumont as the lead and a April 6, 1970 Variety article reported that Heritage Films was set to distribute film. Neither company, however, was involved in the released film. The film was shot on location in Torremolinos, Spain and at Estudio Roma, S.A., Madrid, Spain.
       Cauldron of Blood was the last released American feature film in which long-time star Boris Karloff (1887-1969) appeared. The last American film which Karloff made was The Crimson Cult , which was produced after Cauldron of Blood but released in Great Britain in 1968 and the U.S. in 1970. The British-born Karloff began his career with bit parts in the 1910s, but grew to larger roles until he gained international prominence after appearing as the monster in the 1931 film Frankenstein (see below). Karloff subsequently appeared in more than a hundred films and television roles until his death, frequently cast in horror films and comic send ups of his Frankenstein character.

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 1971

Shooting completed in 1967.

Panoramica

Released in United States Fall November 1971