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Danza Macabra

Castle of Blood
Danse Macabre / La Lunga Notte de Terrore / Coffin of Terror / Dimensions in Death

Italy/France 1963
produced by
Leo Lax, Marco Vicario for Era Cinematografica, Ulysse Productions, Giovanni Addessi Produzione Cinematografica
directed by Anthony M. Dawson (= Antonio Margheriti)
starring Barbara Steele, Georges Rivière, Margarete Robsahm, Arturo Dominici (as Henry Kruger), Silvano Tranquilli (as Montgomery Gleen), Salvia Sorrente, Giovanni Cianfriglia (as Phil Karson), Umberto Raho (as Raul H.Newman)
written by Sergio Corbucci, Giovanni Grimaldi, allegedly based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Riz Ortolani, assistant director: Ruggero Deodato

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Flix.com

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 Reeves instead.

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.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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

out now on DVD