Centuries ago the "Crimson Executioner" was sentenced to death as a punishment for his abhorrent crimes; he was to be imprisoned forever in an iron maiden within his very own castle. Many years later a group of writers, photographers and models arrive at the castle to shoot some cover pictures. The house lord allows them to stay overnight but warns them not to enter the dungeon. Two of the group ignore his warnings and accidently break the seal of the iron maiden. The Crimson Executioner reawakes and claims his century-old vengeance.
Very entertaining, sometimes a little trashy, italian horror movie. The first half of the movie is a little bit slow, but makes this up with some cheezy dialogues, but as soon as Mickey Hargitay puts on the red hood and starts using the old torture chamber, the movie shows his real value.
Overview of the different versions of the movie:
Meanwhile there are multiple different versions of „Il boia scarlatto“. Apart from all the alternate titles, there are more and less censored releases. Basically there are two different versions of the movie: The italian/european one and the US version.
The italian version
The italian version seem to be the original and longest version of the movie.
The US versions
For the US market a specially edited version under the titel "A Tale of Torture" was released. This edition, starting with a quote by De Sade, misses some scenes and was remodeled in others. Most of these cuts were done in order to streamline the movie. The only notable exception to this is a torture scene towards the end of the movie, which involves some nudity. The short shot of the exposed breasts of Annie was most likely to delicate for the American market. All in all, this version is missing ca. 4 min.
This edited version was the basis for a far more cut down release, this time under the title „The Bloody Pit of Horror".
The comparison shows the differences between the italian and the US version.
TV version: 82:37 min. (PAL)
US VHS: 82:27 min. (NTSC)
There are 4:05 min. missing in the US version.
The US version begins with a quote of De Sade.
US: 20 sec.
A scene during the photo shoot is missing. Edith hands Donnie a pistol, he fools around with it for a while and then chooses a sword for Annie.
He tries to draw the sword out of its sheath, but fails to do so even with Edith’s help. He then proceeds to take a picture of Annie.
The US version only contains the end of this scene, namely Donnie making a picture of Annie.
US: 4 sec.
Nancy approaches Rick who is busy writing a horror story. She confesses her love to him, but he simply responds they wouldn’t fit together.
Edith can be seen leaving the cellar.
A line of Kinojo is missing.
Kinojo: "I knew it. I knew something was going to happen. I had this feeling, like a premonition."
The TV version misses a shot of the tied up Kinojo. (This scene is used later on in the TV version.)
US: 2 sec.
The TV version shows Kinojo just a little bit longer.
In the TV version Rick can be seen crawling beneath the net a bit earlier.
Again Rick can be seen earlier.
Once more Rick is shown beneath the net a bit earlier.
This time Rick can be seen beneath the net for a longer period of time, the next shot features Edith a bit earlier.
Rick can be seen earlier.
A shot of the Crimson Executioner is missing.
Another shot of the Executioner watching the girls.
Both girls are being touched by the blades. A short shot to the Executioner.
A shot of Rick is missing, afterwards the threads of the machine are shown, finally Rick can be seen a bit earlier.
A shot of the long nails is missing, then a shot of Rick’s eyes.
A few shots of the descending bed of nails are missing.