Cauldron of Blood (1967) aka Blind Man’s Bluff
Supposedly subbing in for the recently deceased Claude Rains, Boris Karloff finds himself in this Spanish production with little to do other than sit in his wheel chair and allow Viveca Lindfors to carry the deranged plot forward.
Arriving in the Spanish countryside is reporter Jean-Pierre Aumont hoping to secure an interview with the reclusive sculptor played by Karloff. Not as easy as he thinks. Karloff is married to the over bearing Lindfors who carries an evil presence with her from the opening scenes in which she appears. For the time being Aumont at least gets to meet Dear Boris and finds a romantic possibility with beautiful Rosenda Monteros. It took me about ten minutes to realize where I had seen this attractive actress, Then it hit me. Bang! She was the beauty whom Horst Buchholz gives up his career as a gunslinger for in The Magnificent Seven.
At this point of the film we’re treated to a totally bizarre dream sequence featuring Lindfors in a costume looking a lot like an SS officer of the Nazi Party wielding a whip and striking a young girl. Upon waking up she immediately starts to whip her mute house maid. Let’s just say we have some heavy sexual overtones going on here the way Viveca seems to lust over a local blonde girl. Perhaps a bit of a precursor to the Ilsa films of the seventies?
Jean-Pierre comes to suspect that the sculptures that Boris is working on contain the skeletal remains of animals and quite possibly people that have been disappearing. Is the blind crippled Boris really behind it all or is he a pawn being used by the sadistic Lindfors?
Either way it’s not all that exciting and if you’re at all familiar with the final films of Boris then you’ll know he was fairly crippled up by this time so the action scenes near the film’s climax are kind of laughable. Much as I hate to say it as a long time Boris fan while at the same time it should be pointed out that he was a trooper to his final days.
This low budget affair was directed, written and even has a theme song credited to Edward Mann with the producer credit going to Robert D. Weinbach. Mr. Weinbach also gave us a rather bizarre film in 1974 called The Mutations or in some corners as The Freakmaker from director Jack Cardiff.
Vivica Lindfors enjoyed a long film career appearing opposite the likes of Charlton Heston in his 1950 film debut Dark City all the way up to helping Kurt Russell see what’s on the other side of the Stargate in 1994. So this rather twisted sexual predator role didn’t seem to hurt her in the long run.
I hadn’t seen this film since the days of a poorly released VHS tape in the eighties from the lower shelf of a VHS store’s horror film section. I really couldn’t recall much after all these years other than Karloff with a pair of sunglasses on. Thanks to the good folks at Olive Films one can revisit this curiosity at best from the last section of King Karloff’s career.