Castle of Blood (Danza macabra)(Coffin of Terror)(Dimensions in Death)(Tombs of Terror) Reviews
I absolutely adore Gothic Horror when it's done right, and in terms of historical films, it almost always is. The 1960's weren't all that bad for horror, especially when there are movies as great as "Psycho" and as good as "Black Sunday". If you liked either of those two films, then you might just want to check out the film I am reviewing, which is called "Castle of Blood". It's an entertaining work of Gothic Horror that I believe some will adore; not only for the work that goes on her narratively and thematically, but also because of the sheer atmosphere and style exercised.
I can't say I recommend this film, although I do have a great level of respect for it. It is what it is; a solid Gothic Horror flick that isn't chock-full of spectacular or unforgettable imagery. I was open to either liking it or loving it, but alas it feels sort of underwhelming. It's a familiar movie with a familiar set-up. I didn't expect to love it, and it's good to see that in spite of its unoriginality, it doesn't stink to high heaven. However, there are things to like and things to dislike; and they both come in almost equal amounts. The good might just defeat the bad, in some cases.
Man bets that he can stay a night in a local haunted house and live. He places this bet with Edgar Allen Poe himself. Man goes to house. Man meets a beautiful spirit (Barbara Steele). Man is in for a night of pure hell, in which he discovers many things, one of them including his connection with the spirits who refuse to rest in this castle.
The narrative is simplistic, and right there I might as well have described enough. There have been films before this one to expand upon such a premise, and there are also better films too. Maybe you should see those films first.
That's not to say that I don't like "Castle of Blood". It's a pretty decent flick. It's just not one that I would watch again with glee, although if I absolutely had to, it would be entertaining if not disappointing all over again.
What I liked about "Castle of Blood" were the simple things. The acting is solid, and Ms. Barbara Steele is gorgeous. If you're as big of an admirer of the actress as I am, then maybe you should see this. After all; Barbara Steele might as well be all you can possibly ask for when it comes to movies like these, even if they are, as I said, not as good as they want to be.
However, a movie this well-made, perhaps did not need to be made at all. The story gives us little reason to be involved, aside from the great little atmospheric moments involved. In short, there is great direction going on here; just not great story-telling, character building, or anything else particularly worth mentioning, or remembering. But if you're looking for a couple good spooks and scares at night, then "Castle of Blood" is competent entertainment for the horror lover in you. It's not a bad horror film, like "Friday the 13th", and it's not a good one, like "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". But it is a decent one, and really, that must count for something.
Storywise this movie isnt great, and there seems to be too many scenes which consist of people walking around the house- (its like this movie predated Gus Van Sant's craptacular trio of "Elephant", 'Gerry" and "Last Days".)
The atmospheric black and white cinematopraphy and creepy production design are the real stars of the film, resulting in some great chills and thrills-if you stuck with it, as well as a very realistic scene of a snake being decapitated- and some nudity and lesbianism. Just make sure you have a pot of extra strong black coffee brewed to help you through the duller parts.
And Margarete Robsahm, obviously. The plot is quite ridiculous, acting is bad, dialogues and effects are below average. And on top of it all you have the shameful killing of a real snake, an act presented in the movie as the proof of some whacky metaphysical theory.
All in all a solid gothic chiller with much to recommend about it, and one that's more thoughtful than most horror films of the day. I'm interested in seeing Margheriti's second attempt (Web of the Spider), though by all accounts it's pretty lackluster in comparison. Surely it'll be worth it just to see the master of intense acting (Klaus Kinski) trying his hand at playing a most intense artist (Poe)!