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Cauldron of Blood aka 'Blind Man's Bluff' aka "El coleccionista de cadáveres" [Blu-ray]
(Santos Alcocer, 1970)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Robert D. Weinbach Productions
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 19,755,732,727 bytes
Feature Size: 19,557,771,264 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.92 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 14th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 941 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 941 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 1.0 / 48 kHz / 768 kbps / 16-bit)
• English - Burned in for Spanish dialogue
Description: Also known as Cauldron of Blood, Blind Man's Bluff is a Spanish-made horror film long on gore but short on logic. Several beautiful models have disappeared, and the prime suspect is blind sculptor Boris Karloff, a surly and secretive sort who produces skeletal statues. Lovely model Rosanda Monteros tries to get to the bottom of the mystery, and of course nearly winds up a victim herself. The killer is not Karloff but his wife Viveca Lindfors, who hopes to sustain her husband's reputation by providing fresh skeletons for his artwork. Lindfors ends up hoisted on her own petard when she accidentally dips her arm in a vat of acid. Yeccch!
Santos Alcocer’s Cauldron of Blood (1970) (AKA Blind Man’s
Bluff) was filmed in 1967, but languished on the shelf until its
release three years later (to little fanfare, despite its potential
marketing as one of horror icon Boris Karloff‘s last films). Where
Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968) was a low-rent knock off of
Black Sunday (1960), Cauldron is an equally low-rent rip of
Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933) and
House of Wax (1953).
Travel writer Claude Marchand (Jean-Pierre Aumont of Truffaut’s DAY FOR NIGHT, dubbing himself in the English version) gets assigned to interview reclusive sculptor Franz Badulescu (Boris Karloff) who resides in a Spanish artists’ colony. Arriving in the picturesque under-touristed area, Marchand immediately strikes a deal with restaurant owner Shanghai (Milo Quesada, BLACK SABBATH) to buy up the beachfront property and promote the town to tourists. Through artist Valerie (Ingrid Pitt look-a-like Rosenda Monteros), Claude meets Badulescu and his imperious wife Tanya (the always delightful Viveca Lindfors – next to her turns in CREEPSHOW and BELL FROM HELL, this is my favorite performance of hers) who controls all dealings with her blind and crippled husband; who himself is unaware that the skeletons used as armatures for his famous sculptures are locals picked off by an unseen strangler rather than being illegally obtained through arrangements with cemeteries in the neighboring villages as he has been told by his wife. The killings go largely unnoticed by our jet-setting main characters until perpetually-sunbathing Elga (Dianik Zurakowska of RETURN OF THE ZOMBIS) disappears after spending the night at Tanya’s and Claude finally listens to the superstitious mutterings of the Queen of the Gypsies (Mercedes Rojo) who predicts more deaths to come including someone close to Claude.Excerpt from Eric Cotenas at Love,Lockand Load located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Cauldron of Blood has a modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films but the film's limited production quality is more the issue with the presentation. Shot on location in Spain - certain scenes with locales (the opening sequenced and forced subtitle insertions) are fraught with light scratches. This is only single-layered but this weaknesses are more the condition of the source. The majority of the film is clean with solid colors. The 1080P shows some decent outdoor sequences which naturally, looked the best. Detail is modest and there is no real depth but there is some grain and this may be a close approximation of how Cauldron of Blood looked almost 45-years ago. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering but it nevr comes close to reaching the highest standards if the HD format, although it will probably never look any better.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The DTS-HD mono track at 944 kbps is fairly flat with no demonstrative depth or range to speak of but it seems a faithful transfer with a few rough edges here and there. We get somewhat of a score by Ray Ellis + José Luis Navarro but it seems less effectual and unremarkable in the uncompressed. There burned-in subtitles for some of the film's Spanish dialogue and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.
October 6th, 2014
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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