Castle of the Living Dead (1964)

CASTLE OF THE LIVING DEAD (1964)
aka IL CASTELLO DEI MORTI VIVI
Article 2140 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-24-2006
Posting Date: 6-22-2007
Directed by Luciano Ricci, Lorenzo Sabatini and Michael Reeves
Featuring Christopher Lee, Gaia Germani, Philippe Leroy

In the chaos after the Napoleanic wars, several roving entertainers are invited to the castle of Count Drago, an eccentric who practices taxidermy. The count is planning on extending his hobby to other life forms, and pretty soon the entertainers begin to die one by one.

Here we have another odd Eurohorror starring Christopher Lee as a Count. This one doesn’t quite work, largely due to bad pacing and poor dubbing (though Christopher Lee and a young Donald Sutherland are for the most part allowed to keep their own voices). Still, there are plenty of odd touches to this one. Mirko Valentin makes for a fairly scary henchman, and Antonio De Martino is quite memorable as the surprisingly heroic dwarf. The discovery of the preserved bird in the tree is fairly striking, and the presence of Donald Sutherland in at least two roles (he may be in a third role, but I can’t remember noticing him in a role as an old man). Sutherland does give a good performance, though his presence is a little jarring; his acting style seems out of place among all the dubbing in the Sgt. Paul role, but in his old witch role, he is dubbed as well. Still, it does give us a fun little moment in which he helps himself off of the floor. Christopher Lee does fine, but his makeup (with big black patches under his eyes) is ineffective. The script was cowritten by Michael Reeves, and he did some uncredited direction as well, but he would get better with his later movies.

 

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