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The Black Castle

USA 1952
produced by
William Alland for Universal
directed by Nathan Juran
starring Richard Greene, Boris Karloff, Stephen McNally, Rita Corday, Lon Chaney jr, John Hoyt, Michael Pate, Nancy Valentine, Tudor Owen, Henry Corden, Otto Waldis, Paul Maxey
written by Jerry Sackheim, musical director: Joseph Gershenson

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Europe, the 18th century: Though they have never actually met, Sir Ronald Burton (Richard Greene) and Count Karl von Bruno (Stephen McNally) were the fiercest adversaries in a colonial war in Africa. Since then, von Bruno has returned to his native Germany and has lured two of Burton's allies to his castle and killed them. Now Burton, under an alias, pays a visit to the Count's castle posing as his hunting guest to look for his friends and find evidence against the Count.

Evidence is soon found against the Count in his castle, and besides that, Burton also falls in love with the Count's lovely young wife Elga (Paula Corday) - and vice versa -, and even though von Bruno has grown increasingly suspicious (let alone jealous) of Burton, he figures it's safest to just let him leave when he wishes to and cool his emotions off by torturing his wife ...

The Count's personal physician Meissner (Boris Karloff) though is really a close ally of Elga and he goes after Burton to get him back ... and soon enough, Burton is back at the castle using some feeble pretense - and runs into a trap the Count doesn't even know he has set yet - and before he knows it, he finds himself in a cell with Elga, being entirely at the Count's mercy. A valiant attempt of Burton's servant (Tudor) to free his master and Elga only leads to the servant's death, so Doc Meissner suggests a desperate measure: To put the two in suspended animation and fake their deaths and this way escape their cell and the castle in coffins ... a plan that is unfortunately found out by the Count, who kills Meissner in cold blood and then wants Burton's and Elga's coffins sealed - just to hear them die. But somehow the coffins are not sealed quickly enough and the Count finds himself leaning over Burton's open coffin just when he awakens - and Burton grabs the opportunity, pulls his gun and shoots the Count ... and in the end he of course gets the girl.

Lon Chaney jr is rather wasted in the role of a mute brute in the Count's services.

 

Routine period B-picture with slight sadistic and horror overtones. Nothing too great actually, but nicely done, competently acted and featuring sets and costumes appropriate for its story (not always a given in B-pictures of its time). If you don#t expect a masterpiece, this one is totally watchable.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD