Depending on how you look at things, you might say that this release is 4 different cuts of 1 movie or simply 4 different movies. Either way, the titles are OPERACIJA TICIJAN (1963), PORTRAIT IN TERROR (1965), TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE, and BLOOD BATH (1966). The films have some basic similarities where they all star William Campbell as Toni/Tony/Anthony. To explain this very non-conventional horror film, there is a little back story that goes with it. As most people know, Roger Corman never made movies like anyone else in the business and BLOOD BATH is no exception. It all started with the Yugoslavian film OPERACIJA TICIJAN in 1963 and even though Francis Ford Coppola was on the prodcution, Corman did not like the final product. The meat of the film was re-cut, re-scored, and basically remade into the film PORTRAIT IN TERROR in 1965. The movie had a little more of the small theater charm or better suited for drive-ins but this still isn’t the end. The final two directors to handle the film were Jack Hill and Stephanie Rothman. They did more reshoots and editing to make BLOOD BATH in 1966. This final cut or version was made into a vampire film but as I said, if you watch these movies in succession, the tweaks are subtle enough to change the tone and the story to make 4 different versions.
The video is a 1080p AVC transfer.
The video for all of the films is about the same quality. PORTRAIT IN TERROR, TRACK OF THE VAMPIRE, and BLOOD BATH have all been remastered to a 2k transfer. It isn’t clear why OPERACIJA TICIJAN didn’t get the 2k remaster but is in 1080p. However, TICIJAN was pieced together from multiple sources for this release. The set would feel a little incomplete without it. There are some scenes that have that remastered look to them and some others that have been done to the best of Arrow’s abilities. The scenes that have been cleaned up the best are loaded with detailing of both the actors faces and the backgrounds. On some of the close ups, the contrasting against some of the darker scenes is strong and make images easy to decipher. The movie has speckling and dirt that doesn’t take away from the viewing experience. Honestly, if you’re a fan of movies from this time period, some of the blemishes come with the territory. It all has to do with the source material not being the best condition when it was found.
The audio tracks for all of the films are English DTS-HD Master Audio mono mixes.
The mono audio works perfectly with the tone of the film(s). Like some of the other films that Arrow has released, this mix is quite strong. The voices have been reproduced well and, for the most part, they are very clear. There are only a few times where there is a little distortion but it isn’t distracting. As far as effects go, they fit nicely and hardly ever overpower the voice or the score. The mixes have that vintage feel and I really think that it is part of the charm of these films.
-The Trouble with Titian Revisited:
a brand new visual essay in which Tim Lucas returns to (and updates) his three-part Video Watchdog feature to examine the convoluted production history of Blood Bath and its multiple versions
-Bathing in Blood with Sid Haig – a new interview with the actor, recorded exclusively for this release
-Archive interview with producer-director Jack Hill
-2 disc Blu-ray set
-Includes a reversible sleeve featuring the original and the new artwork by Dan Mumford
-The set includes a limited edition booklet with new writings by Anthony Nield, Vic Pratt, Cullen Gallagher and Peter Beckman.
1080p AVC MPEG-4
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD Master Audio 1.0
Arrow has really done something special here by providing not just the one film but all four of them in one set. With the extras and the booklet, you get the entire sorted story of these movies. As I said earlier, they may not look that different but with a few scene changes, the plot of the movies change entirely. The new transfer brings new life to the films and the audio sounds very good. If you like this type of horror film or dig Roger Corman, this set is for you.