Peter Kleist (Antonio Cantafora) is an American college student whose heritage hails from Austria. He goes to Austria to find out more about his family, especially his great-grandfather, Baron Otto Von Kleist (Joseph Cotten). Reportedly Von Kleist was a well known sadist who tortured and killed dozens of people. Because of his evil butchery he earned the nickname Baron Blood. Peter is fascinated with the legend.
Once in Austria Peter is greeted by his uncle Karl Hummel (Massimo Girotti). Peter plans to stay with Karl and his family. On the way to Hummel’s place they pass the Baron’s castle. Peter asks to stop and get a closer look. The castle is being refurbished to become a fancy hotel. In charge of the project is Mayor Dortmundt (Dieter Tressler). Eva Arnold (Elke Sommer) is from the Preservation of National Monuments. It is her job to make sure that there are no changes to the castle that alters its original architecture. Peter is introduced to both Dortmundt and Eva.
That evening Eva joins Peter and the Hummel family for dinner. The conversation at dinner eventually turns to the Baron and the story of Elizabeth Holle. It is said that Elizabeth was a witch that the Baron burned at the stake because he was afraid of her. Before she died she put a curse on him promising that he would suffer a hundred times as much as his victims did. The villagers eventually tortured the Baron and burned him. Peter tells them that Elizabeth left an incantation that would bring him back so that he could suffer again and again. Peter found the old parchment in his grandfather’s papers. It is said that the incantation will only work in the room where the Baron was killed.
Later that night Peter convinces Eva to go to the castle. Peter and Eva perform the incantation and succeed in bringing the dead Baron back to life. Not being able to send him back, the Baron picks up where he left off torturing and killing the villagers.
“Baron Blood” AKA “Gli orrori del castello di Norimberga” was released in 1972 and was directed by Mario Bava. It is an Italian/West German co-production horror movie.
This is one of Bava’s lesser known horror films but it is a decent offering. There are a couple scenes that are a little dark but all in all it is very atmospheric and creepy. The film was shot in Austria and is one of the few times that Bava made a film outside of Italy. With such a gothic and impressive castle to film in it is no wonder that Bava agreed. As with a lot of Bava’s films, the cinematography outshines the story.
During the late 90’s an urban legend circulated on the internet, and in various tabloid papers, about a Russian borehole that was, supposedly, drilled so deep that it broke through into hell. It is also said that Russian seismologists in Siberia recorded sounds coming from the hole that were screams from sinners in hell. In reality the audio was a mix of various soundtracks spliced together. One of the tracks was the soundtrack from “Baron Blood”. It was dubbed “The Well to Hell” hoax.
The film was shot at castle Burg Kreuzenstein in Austria. The part of Baron Von Kleist’s resurrected corpse was played by stuntman Franco Tocci.