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Journalist Claude Marchand (Jean-Pierre Aumont) wants to turn a quiet
Spanish coastal town/artist colony into a tourist paradise by a series of
articles, and to this end, he soon enlists the help of barower Shanghai
(Milo Quesada), model Elga (Dyanik
Zurakowska), and first and foremost Valerie (Rosenda
Monteros), who seems to know simply everyone in the village.
Claude plans to make Badulescu (Boris Karloff), a blind sculptor, the
centerpiece of his articles, and thanks to Valerie, he even gets an
interview with the reclusive artist, but there are several things about
Badulescu he simply doesn't know: Actually, it was his wife Tania (Viveca
Lindfors) who made him famous, but it was also her who blinded and
crippled him in an effort to kill him, but his loss of eyesight only made
him a better sculptor - which is why Tania sees to it that he keeps
working on commission after commission. Tania also has a secret affair
with Shanghai, and together they supply Badulescu with human bones to use
as armatures for his sculptures - and they get these bones by just killing
people of the right size and stature, all without Badulescu's knowledge.
So it's of little wonder that by and by, people are disappearing in the
village. When one day, Elga disappears, Claude and Valerie start to worry,
and when one night, Valerie finds a corpse in the storage room of
Shanghai's bar, Shanghai is quick to capture her and take her to
Badulescu's place, where Tania will take care of her. Thing is though,
Tania's mute maid Pilar (Jacqui Speed) has seen everything and tells it to
the Gypsy Queen (Mercedes Rojo), a local clairvoyant, who passes the story
on to Claude ... who rushes to Valerie's rescue and dukes it out with
Shanghai. In the meantime, Valerie has managed to free herself while
Badulescu has learned about the ruthless behaviour of his wife (and
especially her murders in the name of art), and the two fight it out until
the blind man manages to push Tania into the vat of acid she had used to
dispose of her victims' bodies without harming their skeletons. Once she
is dead, Badulescu jumps off the nearest cliff to his death ...
One of Boris Karloff's very last films, and certainly a film below the
actor's worth and not a very fitting swansong to his career. That said
though, the film is also an enjoyable piece of (trashy) Eurohorror that
mixes shocks, a bit of sex and some cheap and pulpy surrealism to a
sensationalist if silly plot, all set in front of authentic and idyllic
backdrops and helped by a bit of colourful lighting and at times even
This all makes Cauldron of Blood no classic of course, not even
a good movie, but at least good fun to watch.