Castle of Blood (1964)

aka Danza macabra, The Castle of Terror
Article 1829 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-18-2006
Posting Date: 8-15-2006
Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Featuring Barbara Steele, Georges Riviere, Margarete Robsahm

While conducting an interview with Edgar Allan Poe, a writer accepts a bet to spend a night in a haunted castle.

I’ve taken a number of potshots at Antonio Margheriti’s science fiction movies, but I’ve always tried to keep in mind that my dislike doesn’t extend to his forays into horror. This is because I’ve always been aware that this movie, one of my favorite Italian horror movies, was directed by him. In some ways, the idea is very conventional, but some of the philosophical ideas are rather interesting (the concept about the senses living on after violent death is one of the central ideas in the story), and the moody ambiance is perfect. It also has two unforgettable scenes; the first involves a snake who continues to live after being beheaded (the scene is only marred by the fact that it looks like they actually killed a real snake onscreen, which may not please animal lovers), and the ending scene involving a gate. If the movie has any real problem, it’s that it spends a little too much time having our hero wander around castle looking around, but this is somewhat alleviated by the fact that the mood is so right. My copy has some footage added back that was cut for the American release, and the movie lapses into subtitled French in these instances, which is somewhat disconcerting at first, (especially as you hear the different voices of the original actors and the ones doing the dubbing), but you get used to it. Margheriti would remake the movie several years later as WEB OF THE SPIDER, but, if my memory serves me right, that one lacks the power and ambiance of this one.

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