7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Bava Gothic Shock Horror,
This review is from: Baron Blood (DVD)
Elke Sommer plays Eva Arnold, an architectural student employed on the restoration of Baron von Kleist's creepy castle from the 11th century AD, whose boss introduces her to Peter, Kleist's American nephew, and a real good looker played by an actor who you'd never place as American.
Karl Hummel, the math professor, is played by Massimo Girotti, who stepped off the set of BARON BLOOD and onto the French locations of Bertolucci's LAST TANGO IN PARIS--quite a stretch for our Massimo! Dr. Hummel has a lovely wife, a cottagey-type home in the Austrian village on the outskirts of the castle, and his daughter, Gretchen, a plain-looking redheaded tyke filled with mischief and given to spying. There are so many scenes with Gretchen poking her head through the banister of the staircase, as the grownups talk on downstairs while drinking Austrian wine, that I expected she would get her head caught between the bars. Instead she develops an unexpected acuity and she's the only one who a) can identify Joseph Cotten as Baron Blood and b) can tell Elke Sommer and Peter how to return Baron Blood back to his crypt, from which they have accidentally awoken him. That little girl seems like a nut, and she's ugly as sin, but she's got brains and she's got courage. Later she played an important part in Dario Argento's PROFONDO ROSSO, and still later she was the usher girl in Bava Junior's DEMONS.
BARON BLOOD is a terrifying Mario Bava shocker with a wicked cool performance by Joseph Cotten as the revived Baron von Kleist. In his wheelchair and waxy makeup he seems treacherously close to death. Indeed it's hard to imagine that Cotten himself would be alive for another 20 years after wrapping up his shoot here. His face looks like it's been Botoxed long before anyone had ever heard of the term. And yet his eyes "glow with evil," as little Gretchen notes. She's no dumbkopf that Gretchen. A sinister bond seems to link the little girl with the ageless, cadaverous stranger in town: a takeoff on his role as Uncle Charlie in the Hitchcock-directed SHADOW OF A DOUBT I suppose?