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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nightmare Castle (1965)


One of the movies I watched during "Terrorpolooza 2012" was an Italian gothic horror.  When it comes to gothic horror, Europeans tend to surpass North American in quality.

A scientist catches his wife and her lover together, and shows them the extent of his wrath. Soon, his new wife starts to experience hints to the fate of her sister- the scientist's previous wife.
Sometimes, as is the case with "Nightmare Castle," the simplest of plots is the best.  Murder and revenge are all that were needed to create the circumstances for the events in this story.  It moves along smoothly and fairly quickly, with the creepiness and scares spread throughout evenly.  If this were a book, I would have very little problem with sitting down by flickering candlelight, reading it, and enjoying the chills run up my spine.

The characters, while somewhat simplistic in nature are still interesting enough to keep me wondering what was going to happen next.  I really liked the mix of ghosts, mad scientist, and vampire.

While the characters themselves may have been a little two dimensional at times, the acting was superb.  Barbara Steele as BOTH Muriel and Jenny was simply beatiful (both with dark or blonde hair) and marvelous.  She was able to make both characters different from each other, while still making them compliment each other.  I thought Paul Muller did a fantastic job portraying the sadistic Dr. Arrowsmith.  I also quite enjoyed Helga Liné in the role of Solange (the Dr's mistress).  In her younger form, she's also quite beautiful.

"Nightmare Castle" is one of those movies that modern horror film makers should watch to learn about using light, shadow and how to to create mood, suspense, and errieness.  The camera work may not be super creative, but it's still highly effective in bringing a sense of growing doom to the viewer.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend "Nightmare Castle" to my friends- nor would I hesitate to agree to sit down and rewatch this wonderful piece of Italian horror.  I'm placing this movie in The Good.

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