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Actually, reporter Alan Foster (Georges Rivière) only wanted to get an
interview with Edgar Allan Poe (Silvano Tranquilli), but before he knows
it he accepts a wager with Lord Blackwood, who bets him he cannot survive
one night in his haunted castle.
Soon enough, Foster finds himself in said castle, to find it all empty
nd only mildly frightening. Then someone startles him, Elisabeth Blackwood
(Barbara Steele), who claims that she lives in the castle, and that her
brother sends her a visitor over every year on the night of the dead.
Foster and Elisabeth seem to get along quite well, but then enters Julia
(Margarete Robsahm), who immediately gets into a fight with Elisabeth and
tries to keep her and Foser apart. Later that night though, Elisabeth
visits Foster in his room, and they make love, but almost immediately
afterwards, Elisabeth is stabbed to death by an unknown man. Foster
follows that man and shoots him, then the man's body disappears.
Returning to his room, Foster finds Elisabeth's body is gone as well.
Instead, Foster stumbles over Doctor Carmus (Arturo Dominici), an
investigator into the occult, who tells him that on the night of the
dead, all those who died violently in this house will return to relive
their last minutes of life - and soon Foster can witness the violent story
of the house (which happened 10 years ago) with his own eyes, a story full
of jealousy, betrayal and even lesbianism, at the end of which Elisabeth
even kills Julia.
Once that story is told though, all the bodies left behind disappear,
and Foster witnesses a new story, of Doctor Carmus coming to the castle,
to make some investigations about the spirit world ... but before long he
is attacked by one of the resident spirits, who now turn out to be
blooddrinkers, and killed.
Last year: A couple of newlyweds enters the castle, but the spirits
kill them drink their blood as well.
This year: The spirits are closing in on Alan, but Elisabeth helps him
to escape. Alan tries to drag her with him, but before she can leave the
premises, she falls to dust. Alan himself manages to leave the premises,
but once outside, he is stabbed to death by a spike sticking out of the
castle gate. The spike keeps him standing up to the next morning, when
Lord Blackwood and Poe arrive to pick him up. At first they are surprised
to see him still standing ... but ultimately, Blackwood fetches the dead
man's purse and picks out the wager he has won ...
A tad talky at first, this film quickly develops into an creepy piece
of Eurohorror, well-played and high on atmosphere. Despite of what many
fans say, the film though is definitley not up there with the best
films of horror greats Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda, nevertheless it's a
piece of fine craftmanship that every horrorfan will find easy to enjoy.
Allegedly, the film was originally to be directed by Sergio Corbucci, but contractual obligations forced him to do the
peplum Il Figlio di Spartacus/The Slave starring Steve
In 1971, director Anthony M.Dawson remade his own film as Nella
Stretta Morsa del Ragno/Web of the Spider, which
features a great, mad performance by Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allan Poe.