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Baron Blood [UK] Blu-ray Review

baron-blood-uk-blu-ray-coverUnited-Kingdom-Flag-Orb-Icon-32px

  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Video Codec: AVC/MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English & Italian LPCM 2.0 (48kHz/16-bit), English Dolby Digital 2.0
  • Subtitles: English
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: B (Region-Locked)
  • Certificate: 18
  • Discs: 3 (1 x Blu-ray + 2 x DVD)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Run Time: 98 Mins.
  • Studio: Arrow Films
  • Blu-ray Release Date: April 29, 2013
  • List Price: £22.99

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(The below TheaterByte screen captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray Discs and losslessly compressed in the PNG format. There should be no loss of picture quality with this format. All screen captures should be regarded only as an approximation of the full capabilities of the Blu-ray format.

 

The Film

Baron-Blood-UK-BD_01

If you’ve seen one Mario Bava (Black Sunday) horror film, you’ve pretty much seen them all. The master of the “spaghetti horror” genre’s stories write themselves. A group of attractive people gather in a luxurious European manor and are tormented by some form of malevolent spirit.

In this 1972 film from Bava, the story follows a familiar line. Young Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora), taking time off from college, returns to his ancestral home in Austria where he learns of his ancient ancestor. The stories of the feared “Baron Blood” and the castle he lived in have scared the people for centuries. Peter brings with him an incantation, supposedly left behind by a witch that the Baron had burned at the stake. It is meant to revive the Baron so he can suffer a painful death over and over again.

Unable to keep his curiosity from getting the better of him, Peter convinces the beautiful young architect responsible for converting the old castle into a hotel for American tourists, Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer; Lisa and the Devil), to accompany him to the castle to read the incantation aloud at night. After a false start, the two succeed in doing the worst, and that is bringing back what they believe to be the murderous corpse of the Baron, as violent, mysterious deaths begin occurring around the town.

Defined by the usual mixture of Gothic scenery, lavish sets, richly detailed costumes, and sweeping vistas of beautiful European countrysides combined with gory, practical visual effects, oozing fake blood and detailed, over-the-top make-up for its villainous creature, Baron Blood as all the earmarks of the B-grade horror that Bava is known for.

Still firmly grounded in the European school of horror, this is far more campy than it is psychologically-driven or gratuitous, even as it certainly does have its share of difficult to look at gore. Case in point – the deformed figure of Baron Otto von Kleist AKA Baron Blood (Joseph cotton; Citizen Kane; The Third Man), who even makes Freddie Kreuger look like a Disney character.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Baron-Blood-UK-BD_02

This AVC/MPEG-4 1080p encodement from Arrow is average at best. The darker areas are prone to wash out at times, and also prone to some crush at others. Some source damage can be spotted throughout the film, and flicker is also an issue. Close-ups during bright scenes give up the best amount of detail, but there is still a pervading sense of film softness.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3.5/5]

Baron-Blood-UK-BD_03

We get three audio versions, Italian LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit), European English LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit), and AIP English re-dub and re-score by Les Baxter in LPCM 2.0 mono (48kHz/16-bit). Either soundtrack will give you clean and full dialogue, but ultimately a boxy sound with little dynamic range.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:3/5]

Baron-Blood-UK-BD_04

The usual slate of extras is offered with this Arrow release.  For those who like collectibles, this is a nice little package, with reversible artwork and booklet, and a decent bit of video supplements on disc.

The supplements:

  • European English Export Version and Italian Version of the film
  • Audio Commentary (Export Version) with Bava biographer and expert Tim Lucas
  • Introduction to Baron Blood by Alan Jones (1.78:1; SD; 00:03:30)
  • English Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Italian Trailer (1.78:1; 1080p/24)
  • Radio Spots (00:01:54)
  • Bava at Work – Photo Gallery
  • Delirium Italian Style – Ruggero Deddato Interview on Mario Bava and the golden age of Italian genre films (1.78:1; 1080p/24; 00:11:46)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
  • Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver, illustrated with original archive stills and posters.

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3.5/5]

Baron-Blood-UK-BD_05

There’s plenty here for avid fans of the genre to bask in, making Baron Blood a worthy, even if far less than original entry from Mario Bava. Still, Baron Blood is one film you won’t want to be watching alone in the dark and it makes a perfect candidate for autumn holiday film marathon sessions.

Additional Screen Captures

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Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00B5CTRZG[/amazon-product]

Shop for more Blu-ray titles at Amazon.co.uk

Overall
[Rating:3.5/5]
The Film
[Rating:3.5/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3.5/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:3/5]

 

 

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