Il boia scarlatto (1965)

Italy, 1965
74m (USA), 83m – 35mm film, PsychoVision, Eastmancolor, 1.85:1

An Italian horror film directed by Massimo Pupillo using the pseudonym Max Hunter.

Plot Summary

A group of photographers and models arrive at an ancient castle which they believe to be the perfect location for their fashion shoot. But the owner, a deranged former actor, believes himself to be the reincarnation of the Crimson Executioner, a 17th century torturer put to death for his crimes. Donning the Crimson Executioner’s trademark costume, he begins to torture his unwelcome visitors in his torture dungeon.


* = uncredited

Director: Max Hunter [real name: Massimo Pupillo]
MBS Cinematografic International Entertainment Corporation
Created and Conceived by: Ralph Zucker [real name: Massimo Pupillo], Frank Merle [real name: Francesco Merli]
Executive Producers: Felix C. Ziffer, J.R. Coolidge
Producer: Frank Merle [real name: Francesco Merli]
Co-Producer: Ralph Zucker [real name: Massimo Pupillo]
Script: Robert Christmas [real name: Roberto Natale. Credited as Robert Nathan on some prints], Robert McLoren [real name: Romano Migliorini. Credited as Robin McLorin on some prints]
Script Adaptation: Ruth Carter, Cesare Mancini
Based on the writings of the Marquis de Sade
Director of Photography: John Collins [real name: Luciano Trasatti]
Editor: Robert Ardis [real name: Mariano Arditi]
Music: Gino Perugi
Sound Recording: Geoffrey Sellers
Costume Designer: Richard Colbert
Make-up: Alan Trevor
Hair: Lucille Gardner
Special Effects: Carlo Rambaldi *
Art Director: Frank F. Arnold

Mickey Hargitay (Travis Anderson)
Walter Brandt [real name: Walter Brandi] (Rick)
Ralph Zucker [real name: Massimo Pupillo] (Dermot)
Alfred Rice [real name: Alfredo Rizzo] (Daniel Parks – Alex Parks in English language prints)
Nick Angel (Parry)
Albert Gordon (Raoul)
John Turner (lackey with moustache)
Robert Messenger (lackey with beard)
Barbara Nelli (Susie)
Moa-Tahi (Keninio)
Femi Martin [real name: Femi Benussi] (Annie)
Louise Barrett [real name: Luisa Baratto] (Edith)
Rita Klein (Nancy)

Alternative Titles

Bloody Pit of Horror
Il castello di Artena
The Castle of Artena
The Crimson Executioner
The Red Hangman – US promotional title
The Scarlet Executioner
The Scarlet Hangman
Some Virgins for the Hangman
A Tale of Torture
Virgins for the Hangman

Extracts included in
Mad Ron’s Prevues from Hell (1987)

Production Notes

When the film was imported into the USA, around 9 minutes were cut, mostly inconsequential scenes, some dancing scenes and nudity. Although bootleg tapes of the full cut were available, the DVD release by Something Weird contained only the shortened version, with the missing footage included as extras. This was done because the quality of the missing footage was poor and didn’t match the high quality of the main print.



  • Filmblatter no.39 (22 September 1967) p.890 – review
  • Film Fran├žais no.1150 (17 June 1966) p.25 – review
  • Filmwoche 7 October 1967 p.10 – review
  • Giallo Pages Special Edition p.21 – review


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.169
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.149, 162-64, 171, 231, 280, 302, 372
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.43
  • Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969 by Roberto Curti pp.137-143
  • Italian Horror Films of the 1960s: A Critical Catalog of 62 Chillers by Lawrence McCallum pp.43-47 – synopsis, credits, review
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.42 – credits
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.74-76
  • Spaghetti Nightmares p.164 – credits, review