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  • All right, the writing is something to be desired, but this movie is so richly photographed and the great '60's Scream Queen Barbara Steele is so alluring that it hardly matters. This movie uses Steele to full advantage, and even casts the sultry, sinister star in a dual role, much like Mario Bava's classic BLACK SUNDAY. Babs stars as a faithless wife who, along with her lover, is tortured to death by her vengeful-husband. However, her hubby finds that this may not have been the great revenge he thought it would be because his wife left her inheritance to her mentally unbalanced sister(Steele again, this time in a blonde wig). Of course, being the sadistic, money-hungry, conniving little swine that he is, he decides to marry his sister-in-law, and drive her to complete hysteria so he can commit her to the local loony bin and claim the family fortune for himself. Naturally, things don't go exactly as planned, but I won't give the rest of this weird little gem away. Shown in the US in a severely cut version that is so butchered, it's hardly worth watching. The original full-length European version is rare, but definitely worth seeking out.
  • Laughable dialogue doesn't detract too much from this moody, sometimes disturbing Italian Gothic. The story seems to be loosely adapted from an M.R. James ghost story called "Lost Hearts". Although the torture scenes in the uncut version are remarkably strong for their time, there are other things that are more disquieting. Most hideous of all is the character of Solange, the maid, whose youth has been restored by a dead woman's blood. When she speaks of how the blood grows cold and heavy in her veins, it's a very unsettling moment. The black-and-white photography is beautifully atmospheric. Ennio Morricone's music is more conventional than usual -- especially the mazurka that represents Muriel, which is too simple and sentimental for a Barbara Steele character... but the tremendous Fugue for organ which dominates the soundtrack deserves special mention. In spite of its lapses, and with apologies to Mario Bava, this is still my favorite Italian Gothic horror film!
  • 'Night Of The Doomed' is an excellent Gothic thriller, full of mystery, atmosphere and chills. The stunning Barbara Steele, arguably the most beautiful Scream Queen of all, plays a duel role as an unfaithful wife, who is tortured and murdered by her scientist husband (Jess Franco regular Paul Muller), and the wife's mentally fragile sister. Muller marries the sister in an attempt to keep his hands on his late wife's fortune, needing the money to help finance his experiments. His new bride finds herself going through some increasingly strange experiences, which unbeknown to her seem to be caused by her dead sister's attempts at revenge from beyond the grave. This is a first rate example of a melodramatic supernatural thriller. Steele and Muller are both excellent and well cast, and their performances added to the stylish black and white photography, and an above average Morricone score, make this is a real treat for fans of Italian horror and giallo.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I first saw this chilling film from 1965 on a horror film showcase called Macabre Theatre co-hosted by Butch Patrick, Eddie from the Munsters. Directed by Mario Caiano, it stars Barbara Steele who was championed by horror film directors in Italy and who once upon a time even starred in Fellini's 8 1/2. Also in the cast: Paul Muller, Helga Line, Laurence Clift and Rik Battaglia. It has all the elements of Gothic romance/horror. Old castles, candles, organ music, ghosts, torture in a dungeon and eerie visuals. Muriel (Steele)is married to Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Miller)but engages in an extramarital affair with the sexy gardener (Addobati). The lovers are caught en flagrance and Dr. Stephen extracts his brutal revenge by electrocuting them to death in his dungeon. Years later, he marries his dead wife's sister who looks just like her. Muriel and her lover, now ghosts, extract their own revenge on Stephen - and his current paramour the housemaid Solange (Helga Line)through the intervention of a psychiatrist Dr. Joyce (Laurence Clift). The latter parts of the film are the scariest, though the Eloctrocution scene is radically violent and sure to have earned the film an R rating. This movie seems to have been originally released in Italy and the sound/vocal-synch makes it obvious. It's in black and white but some versions are in color. Very evocative music and haunting cinematography. One of the greater horror classics.
  • My main reason for seeing this film was the fact that it's on the Redemption label. Redemption films are often not all that good, but they have great cult value and are usually worth seeking out. Of course, Barbara Steele offered up another reason for watching - but still, my expectations for this film weren't very high. After the first twenty minutes, however, my low expectations turned into hopefulness; as I prayed that the remaining eighty minutes would be as great as the first twenty! The film grabs you instantly with it's combination of crisp black and white photography, morbid subject material, Gothic locations and a score courtesy of the great Ennio Morricone. The film is pure cult class, which really doesn't let up until the final credits role. The plot follows a man who, after finding his wife with another man, proceeds to torture them both. However, she takes the upper hand when she lets him know that all of her wealth has been left not to him - but to her imbecile sister! Our protagonist isn't taking this lying down, however, and it isn't long before he's returning to the castle with a new bride…

    Just like she did in Mario Bava's masterpiece "Black Sunday", Barbara Steele takes on a dual role. Despite being obviously the same actress, it's easy to buy into the fact that she's playing too different characters. Her roles are suitably different, and she plays them both to perfection. Steele is often passed off as merely a horror film actress; but she really does have talent. The rest of the cast's performance is marred somewhat by some really awful dubbing and a script that isn't much better, but it doesn't matter too much because the focus of the film is never on the acting - it's clearly on the atmosphere. The plot gives way to a beautiful set of locations; the lushly Gothic castle photographed in the same cinematic style as the best black and white films that Italian cinema has to offer. At times, the film is incoherent and the plot doesn't always flow well; but it doesn't matter much, because there is always enough of the style element to ensure that the film remains interesting. The fact that the plotting isn't soaked with silly jump moments and out of place imagery makes me love the film even more; as it's clear that the director cares more about delivering story and atmosphere rather than simply trying to scare the audience. On the whole; the film has flown under more than a few radars, but that's unfair as it's damn good! Take that as a recommendation.
  • Of course Nightmare Castle used to scare the hell out of me as a kid when I saw it on late-night TV, it's not exactly scary anymore but it's still a lot of fun to watch as I discovered buying it on DVD. Brings back a lot of memories of staying up late in a dark room watching old horror movies on the late late show, TV certainly has lost a lot of charm since the late 70's as you rarely find gems like this on anymore. Heck you'd be lucky to even find a late late show anymore, let alone old horror movies. But anyhow, good to see this one again.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Fans of the ravishing goddess Barbara Steele will immediately rank "Nightmare Castle" among their favorites, simply because she plays a lovely double-role. And, either blond or brunette, Barbara remains the most gorgeous actress who ever lived! But, luckily enough, "Nightmare Castle" is more than just a one-girl-show. It's an atmospheric and ominous Gothic tale with genuine moments of fear and darkness. Steele shines as the adulterous Muriel Arrowsmith who's tortured and eventually put to death by her husband, the sinister Dr. Stephen. The guy exclusively lives for his secret scientific experiments in the basement and, in order to keep custody over the castle, he remarries the countess' mentally unstable sister Jenny (Barbara again!!). Stephen developed the diabolical plan of driving his new wife insane by the eerie castle surrounding, but it looks like he'll be whizzed by the restless souls of Muriel and her lover that still wander around the castle. The large and ugly looking castle is effectively used as the location for all sort of morbid barbarities. The torture dungeon, the laboratory, the greenhouse…All these are very impressive horror settings. It's pretty obvious that director Mario Caiano attempts to cash in on Steele's success that started with Black Sunday in every possible way, but still his film has enough personality to stand on its own as a modest but not-to-be-missed classic. I do admit that there are some tedious sequences in the script, though. The best way to struggle yourself through these is focusing on the downright brilliant musical score by none other than Ennio Morricone. Beautiful Barbara receives good backup from the malevolent actor Paul Muller. Fans with a passion for Euro-exploitation movies will definitely recognize him from Jess Franco highlights like "She Killed in Ecstasy", "Virgin among the Living Dead" and "Lesbian Vampires". This "Nightmare Castle" is warmly recommended viewing, preferably together with "Black Sunday", "Castle of Blood" and "Satan's Sister". Make it an all-Barbara Steele day!!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    After such brilliant films as "Black Sunday" (1960), "The Pit And The Pendulum" (1961) and "Castle Of Blood" (1964), "Gli Amanti D'Oltretomba" aka "Nightmare Castle" of 1965 is yet another mesmerizing and highly atmospheric Gothic Horror tale starring Horror-goddess Barbara Steele (my favorite actress of all-time) that must not be missed by any true Horror fan. Director Caiano really did a great job building up an immensely creepy and unique atmosphere in this brilliant Italian Gothic Horror gem, an atmosphere that is even intensified by the eerie score composed by no one less than the great Ennio Morricone.

    • Possible Minor SPOILERS ahead! -

    Aided by his maid Solange (Helga Liné), the ruthless Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Mueller), who conducts bizarre experiments in his eerie castle, catches his beautiful wife, Countess Muriel Arrowsmith (Barbara Steele) red handed with her lover (Giuseppe Addobbati). The Doctor thereupon brutally tortures his wife and her lover before murdering them in a sadistic manner. Since it was his wife, who brought the wealth into the marriage, he then marries his wife's kind-hearted, but emotionally disturbed sister Jenny (also Barbara Steele), whom Muriel has made beneficiary in her will. While the Doctor has his own plans with Jenny, his late wife's sister seems strangely possessed when she comes to live at the castle...

    "Nightmare Castle" is a vastly underrated little genre-gem that delivers pure Gothic Horror greatness in every aspect. A wonderfully eerie atmosphere, chilling suspense, an excellent score and great acting. The great acting comes particularly from the wonderful Barbara Steele, who once again delivers a brilliant performance in her double role as Muriel/Jenny Arrowsmith. Paul Mueller is furthermore great and wonderfully evil in his role as the unscrupulous Doctor Stephen Arrowsmith, and Helga Liné is very good as his accomplice, the maid Solange. Some of the main aspects creating this movie's mesmerizing atmosphere are the amazing photography by Enzo Barboni, Ennio Morricone's brilliant score, and, not least, the eerie castle setting. This is great Gothic Horror as it should be - greatly acted and excellently photographed creepiness that is spine-chilling from the beginning the end.

    All said, "Nightmare Castle" is a mesmerizing Gothic Horror tale that no Horror fan can afford to miss. A Must-See!
  • Italian queen of Gothic horror Barbara Steele portrays the wife of a deranged scientist played by Paul Muller whose latest experiments involve electro-stimulation of human blood.When the mad doctor discovers that his wife is unfaithful,he tortures,disfigures and kills her alongside her gardener lover,then removes and preserves the hearts of the victims,using their blood to restore youth and beauty to his own lover Solange.When the madman discovers that his late wife left all her wealth to her mentally unstable sister he quickly sets about courting and marrying the poor girl,then proceeds to drive her completely mad in order to inherit her fortune."Nightmare Castle" is an essence of Italian Gothic horror.It takes place almost entirely in castle interiors,frequently in utter darkness.There are some scenes of depressing violence and the visuals are rich and beautiful.The hypnotic eyes of Barbara Steele are not easy to forget.9 out of 10.
  • A mad scientist finds his wife cheating on him with the butler. After torturing them with electric shock and other gruesome methods (whippings, beatings) he finally kills them. But to get the inheritance from his wife's family, he has to marry her lunatic sister who is now cursed with the spirit of his dead wife. On top of this, we have an old women who remains young with the blood of the dead wife, who feels the dried and cold blood inside her.

    Sounds good, right? And it is. The only thing that could have been better was the dubbing from Italian to English, but after the first five minutes you hardly notice anymore. The black and white really sets a mood and the fact the blood is black (because it can't be red) makes it seem even more sinister than it had to be.

    Luca Palmerini calls this one an "elegantly executed story of love after death." Director Mario Caiano (under the name Allan Grunewald) is upstaged the same year by Mario Bava's "Planet of the Vampires", though I daresay the former is better. "Vampires" is given too much credit, while this film (and "Terror Creatures From the Grave") are forgotten. Caiano has said that Barbara Steele had a face that was "elusive and obscure", and was "an introverted sort of person." Considering her mythical status, even at the time, this may strike the viewer as odd. It sure seemed odd to me! And let us not forget the classic, creepy organ music by Ennio Morricone.

    The Madacy DVD claims to be "digitally remastered", but is in the same poorly lit, grainy black and white as always. A better copy would surely improve this film's legacy. (Caiano had intended the film to be in black, white and red!) Interestingly, when you put the disc in a computer, it claims to be "Last Man on Earth".

    I'm beginning to grow more fond of old horror films, especially with my disillusionment with modern horror. And this film is one of the better old horror films I've found. Recommended for those who are sick of Hollywood pumping horror films out for little girls.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I'm working my way through the Horror Classics 50 Movie Pack Collection and NIGHTMARE CASTLE is one of the movies in the set. I am watching them with my soon-to-be seven-year old daughter, which makes most of these movies a laugh riot.

    However, NIGHTMARE CASTLE is not one of them! In fact, it is just my kind of old-fashioned, B-grade horror movie. It is an especially creepy thriller!

    Barbara Steele plays a duel role as an unfaithful wife; and, her mentally fragile sister. Despite being obviously the same person, it's easy to suspend one's disbelief because the characters are so completely different – the wig doesn't hurt either.

    The plot gives way to Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith marrying the sister, to keep his hands on his late-wife's fortune (of course after torturing her and her lover in the first part of the movie). He does this to continue his bizarre experiments, including extracting the hearts of his two victims, for the benefit of his ally Solange, the maid – who really wants to be more than that in the doctor's life.

    NIGHTMARE CASTLE features beautiful cinematography, lush locations; and, an aptly Gothic castle. It is rather thin on plot; and, has absolutely abysmal dialogue, due to poor dubbing.

    Barbara Steele is exceptionally well cast; and, offers up apt performances. The score is quite eerie (I wish the sound was better on this print); and, sufficiently intensifies the atmosphere and action.

    Yes, the plot reads like a sordid melodrama. But, I like NIGHTMARE CASTLE.
  • NIGHTMARE CASTLE (Mario Caiano - Italy 1965).

    Barbara Steele is the wife of a brutal count. Brutal counts don't take half measures and when he finds out that his wife has been unfaithful, he tortures her and her lover and puts them to death, removing their hearts from their bodies in retribution. Time passes and he remarries a beautiful and unsuspecting young woman. Soon she is experiencing horrendous dreams and apparitions. It appears the spirits of his former wife and her lover have returned to exact their revenge. Then various forms of torture, electrocution(!) and distorted dream images follow.

    This film is 80 percent atmosphere and some scraps for story and acting. The first twenty minutes will get your attention, but the middle part is slow and talky with some "plot elements" being played out. But still worth seeking out for lovers of early Gothic horror with quite a haunting Gothic atmosphere and an unusual strong cast for this kind of film. The fine score by Ennio Morricone is a major bonus in this interesting little mystery.

    Camera Obscura --- 6/10
  • Warning: Spoilers
    A crazy scientist catches his wife cheating and tortures both her and her lover to death, after he marries her sister because she inherits the castle and the ghosts come back for revenge.

    The movie is full of horror clichés. Crazy scientists, castles, ghosts, screaming, but in the atmosphere of a 60's Gothic horror movie those clichés seem to be kind of charming. If this movie was done in our time with the same story and dialogues that made me giggle, but using modern special effects I would not be as generous with my rating.

    The atmosphere of the movie is definitely its best part. It is very dark and beautiful. The castle and the fact that it is black/white make it look very chilling and one really feels the haunted atmosphere that is the positive part of this movie.

    Another great thing that saves this movie from a 2/10 rating is the fact that the "Queen of Scream" Barbara Steele is actually playing a dual role. And she is great at it. We can see the strong difference between Muriel and Jenny. The only problem is that the part of Muriel is much better than Jenny. Muriel is the goth beauty with a dark and sexy side while Jenny is sort of a wall flower, and yet we only see Muriel in a few scenes at the beginning and the end. Those scenes are actually very powerful. It is of course not very scary for our time, but seeing Muriel play the organ in the castle at the beginning of the movie made me think that I will love it. Unfortunately the middle of the movie are badly written dialogues that make the movie go very slow.

    The rest of the cast does a good job with this poor script as well. Paul Muller is great in the role of a crazy scientist and I was surprised to see that this is the only part Laurence Clift has played.

    This movie is not something that I would consider a classic, but it is beautiful and something one could enjoy on a thunder night in in a dark room while eating candy. For a good old horror movie there definitely are better choices.
  • Usually I like Barbara Steele's movies, but Mario Caiano's "Amanti d'oltretomba" ("Nightmare Castle" in English) is a little too slow-moving. Steele plays the wife of a scientist who looks like a cross between Christopher Plummer, Donald Sutherland and Benjamin Netanyahu. He kills her after discovering that she's having an affair, only to learn that she left her money to her sister. More shocks follow.

    The cinematography and setting create a very eerie feeling, and I can forgive the lousy dubbing, but the movie is just too slow-moving. This isn't a terrible movie, but I wish that it had gotten to the main story quicker than it did. Still, Barbara Steele looks great, as always.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This atmospheric Italian period Gothic features one of Barbara Steele's greatest performances. When a sadistic count kills his unfaithful wife and her lover, he finds out that his wife's will stated that all her fortunes be handed over to her sister after death. Having remarried her sister, the count then starts to experience paranormal encounters with his first wife (now gruesomely deformed).

    Clearly made to cash-in on the success of Mario Bava's "Black Sunday", Steele plays dual-roles as woman and monster in both films. Although Mario Caiano's directon is slow-moving and tedious, Ennio Morricone's effective score adds suitable tension to the film.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I rented this because of Barbara Steele, who is fast becoming my all time favorite actress of the macabre! In this interesting, dark and very atmospheric black and white Gothic Italian chiller, the haunting and lovely Barb again displays her versatility by playing a dual role similar to what she played in "Black Sunday." Her first role is that of a manipulative, wealthy and unfaithful woman named Muriel. Muriel's frequent taunts directed at her scientist husband Stephen (played by Paul Muller) don't go unnoticed. And neither does her affair with the hunky castle gardener! When Stephen finds out what's afoot, he murders both Muriel and the gardener and seals them in a downstairs crypt. Too bad for him Muriel left all her funds and her large estate to her fragile and very naive sister Jenny (Steele's second role, in a blonde wig). Stephen decides to court and marry Jenny and then plots to drive her crazy for the inheritance with help from a bizarre female accomplice (Helga Line in a very interesting role as an elderly maid whose youth and beauty is restored by blood transplants administered by Stephen). And did I mention the vengeful ghosts? Well, it's probably better I don't get into that!

    Well I honestly loved this movie! The plot is typical of the genre but very entertaining nonetheless, the sets are nicely detailed, the score by Ennio Morricone is gorgeous and the cast is very enjoyable. Muller is excellent and oozes evil as the murderous husband. Steele and Line (the latter's sleek nose and regal demeanor perfectly contrasting the more exotic look of Steele) not only prove just how gorgeous women used to be before plastic surgery but also deliver nicely shaded acting performances as well. There are also several good looking guys in the cast, especially Laurence Clift as a compassionate doctor who takes a liking to Jenny.

    So make sure to check this one out if you enjoy Gothic horror as much as I do. I think you'll really enjoy it!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    This is one of my favorite Gothic chillers, that's very atmospheric and creepy, with a solid story and fantastic performances!. All the characters are great, and I loved the creepy setting as well, plus Barbara Steele and Paul Muller are simply amazing in this!. The score is especially awesome, as it's quite chilling, and Barbara Steele gives a tour De force performances as both Muriel and Jenny, plus Paul Muller, is absolutely brilliant as the sadistic scientist. Yes it's talky but it always kept me engaged, and it's actually rather unpredictable, plus it has some very disturbing torture scenes. I also loved the ending as it was the creepiest part in the film, and the only major qualm I had with this is the terrible dialog, but that's a minor thing, plus I got this in a DVD horror set called Back From The Grave, as I have seen this film before so I was quite pleased. The dream sequences with Jenny (Steele) were quite creepy and very interesting, and it actually has a little bit of gore as well, plus Steele's constant laugh always managed to give me the creeps. This is one of my favorite Gothic chillers, that's very atmospheric and creepy, with a solid story and fantastic performances, I highly recommend this one!. The Direction is great!. Mario Caiano does a great! Job here, with effective camera work, creating lots of creepy atmosphere, using a great setting, and just keeping the film at an engaging pace. The Acting is fantastic!. Barbara Steele is amazing here, she is very beautiful, very creepy as the cheating witch Muriel, but extremely likable as the clueless Jenny, she really gives a tour De force performance, and that creepy laugh of her's always gave me the creeps, only qualm is the bad dialog she had to spurt out at times, otherwise she was just perfect! (Steele Rules!!!!). Paul Muller is also amazing as the sadistic scientist, he was very creepy, unpredictable, and was just a madman, he especially Creeped me out in the scene where he's trying to take Jenny's blood, I would love to see more of this guy's work. Helga Liné is OK here, she overacts at times, and her character could have had a bit more Oomph, however she played her part adequately. Laurence Clift is very good here as Dr. Joyce, considering this was his only role, it's not a bad way to be remembered he was likable,and had good chemistry with Steele, I liked him. Rik Battaglia is creepy as David (Steele's lover), and did what he had to do well. Rest of the cast are fine. Overall I highly recommend this one!. ***1/2 out of 5
  • It's a tribute to the strength of Barbara Steele's acting (not to mention her surreal beauty) that this, perhaps on the lower-rung of her Sixties Italian horror films, is still such a superlative experience. The movie also gives her a chance to play two roles in the same film - and the English track has her real voice for the "Jenny" character. The rest of the cast is more or less very good, too - especially Leni. Now that Retromedia has issued a widescreen, pretty clean, uncut 100 minute version of the film on region 1 DVD under one of the alternate titles - THE FACELESS MONSTER - Steele fans and Italian horror fans in general can put away the cut versions (NIGHTMARE CASTLE) and enjoy the movie properly, previously only available in the PAL format from Salvation on videotape (NIGHT OF THE DOOMED.) From that period of time which made her an absolute icon of the genre, and with two masterful films yet to come, especially AN ANGEL FOR SATAN. No lady in horror films ever surpassed her.
  • boris-2611 November 1998
    Most commonly known in the US as "Nightmare Castle", this 1965 shocker starts off with cinematic guns ablazin!! Barbara Steele plays a wicked woman married to a lunatic doctor. He discovers her in a heated trist with their gardener. Both Steele and her lover are chained to a lab wall, and given a slow, grimy, painful death via horrible surgical instruments. These scenes, disturbing as hell, remind one of crime scene photos of Lizzie Borden or Jack The Ripper. But then, the film becomes a talky soap opera, centering around the bad woman's mousy twin sister (played by a blonde Steele) Somebody should have told the director audiences don't want to see their character a colorless, cheerless, unemotional, unimaginative nothing. The first reel rates an A+, the rest a C-.
  • macabro35710 June 2003
    Warning: Spoilers

    *spoilers attached*

    The DVD from Retromedia calls it THE FACELESS MONSTER but I like the older title, better.

    We also have an early, haunting Morricone score that alternates between a lushly scored piano waltz and a solo church organ. It's quite creepy and effective for the film and fits right in to the story being shown.

    Story involves a jealous doctor (Paul Muller) who catches his wife Muriel (Barbara Steele) in the arms of her lover, their stableman, David (Rik Battaliga) inside the greenhouse. He knocks both of them out with his cane and then has them shackled and tortured in his dungeon.

    There, he finds out that he has been left out of his wife's will and that all her wealth will go to her step sister Jenny (again played by Steele) that will not only make him poor but will put an end to his mad experiments in his quest for the fountain of youth. He uses these experiments in order to keep his lover Solange (Helga Line) both young and beautiful. Without fresh blood, she will grow old and hideous.

    He kills Muriel and David anyway, with a bolt of electricity in order to make way for him to marry Jenny and become executor of her estate. It seems Jenny is fragile and unstable herself and if pushed, could wind up in a mental institution.

    I like the end where the rotting ghosts of Muriel and David come to avenge their deaths at the hand of the doctor. The doctor is strapped to a chair and his body is set on fire, burning him to a crisp. Solange is also cut off from her blood supply, immediately turning her into a rotting corpse - skeleton. Only when Muriel's preserved heart is thrown into the fire will her spirit find peace.

    This film has excellent atmospherics and a creepy 17th century castle to boot, much like Steel's earlier CASTLE OF BLOOD (1964) had. And being filmed in b/w helps with the atmosphere, immensely.

    Unfortunately, the Retromedia DVD looks like it was taken from a VHS source and is quite snowy with drop-outs and pops in it's soundtrack. Too bad they couldn't find the original film material. But even with that going against it, it's still a great horror classic from the 60s.

    7 out of 10
  • I can see why the exotic Ms Steele has become a cult figure. With her odalisque eyes, sensuous mouth, and statuesque figure, she's a real scene grabber. Here she's got dual roles. First she's a philandering wife, Muriel, murdered by her vengeful Dr. Frankenstein husband, Stephen. Then she's Muriel's blonde sister Jenny who's being driven to madness by Stephen for her newly inherited fortune. Seems Stephen (Muller) has got this infernal potion that brings on ghostly dreams that he inflicts on hapless Jenny. Jenny's long been mentally frail, but now threatens to go over the edge. Interestingly, however, it's not always clear whether the ghostly figures are real or potion induced. Good thing Doctor Dereck (mase) arrives at the nightmarish castle to help.

    The movie's richly photographed with glaring close-ups and deep shadow that highlight the Gothic horror. Unfortunately, the script's pretty sloppy, as other reviewers point out. Still, that may be the result of a poorly edited version that I saw. Nonetheless, to the movie's detriment, the suspense doesn't so much intensify or build to a climax as it simply bumps along from one narrative episode to the next.

    With his patrician features, actor Muller makes a visually apt villain, even though he doesn't project enough needed evil. At the same time, actress Line as the dishy housekeeper Solange can come clean my house any day. Seems however she's really an elderly woman that maestro Stephen has made temporarily young, so maybe not.

    Overall, the movie's a rather classy horror film, not as cheezy as most. Also, mark me down as a new member of the Barbara Steele fan club.
  • This Italian Gothic is mainly a showcase for the beautifully haunting Barbara Steele. You can't get hung up on the plot or worry so much about the cheesy dialogue. The photography and music is excellent and Miss Steele is mesmerizing. The last scene of the movie looks amazing with Barbara in a ghostly white negligee and long wild black hair covering half her face as she comes back from the dead to seek revenge. Her face is almost skeletal with huge dark eyes and sharp cheekbones. Very scary and erotic. If you like that 60's gothic horror S&M look, this is a must see!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Hot-blooded Muriel (ravishing Goth queen Barbara Steele in fine form) has an extramarital affair with studly gardener Jonathan (hunky Guiseppe Addobbati). When Muriel's sadistic and pitiless husband Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (splendidly played to the snotty and sneering hilt by Paul Muller) finds out, he brutally tortures the adulterous duo prior to killing them. Stephen subsequently marries Muriel's innocent and emotionally fragile half sister Jenny (also portrayed by Steele), who soon starts being tormented by Muriel's vengeful and unrestful spirit. Ably directed with style and assurance by Mario Caiano, with a constant snappy pace, an absorbing script by Caiano and Fabio De Agostini, a flavorsome evocation of the past period setting, some startlingly bloody and ferocious moments of in-your-face nasty violence, handsome, agile black and white cinematography by Enzo Barboni, a potently gloomy and oppressive atmosphere of pure skin-crawling dread, a rich score by Ennio Morricone that alternates between supremely spooky'n'shuddery ooga-booga midnight chillshow stuff and more elegant orchestral music, and a rousing conclusion that makes inspired and effective use of ominous swirling mist, this fright film certainly does the pleasingly creepy trick. The witchily beautiful and alluring Steele excels in her juicy dual role. The lovely Helga Line also does well as Solange, a wizened old crone servant who has her youthful pulchritude restored by a serum Stephen made from Muriel's blood. Essential viewing for Barbara Steele fans.
  • jahlaune30 March 2003
    This movie I saw as a little kid on television and it scared me so bad I was afarid to use the toilet, move or do anything. It is so creepy! A good movie. It wasn't until adulthood that I learned it was a "B" flick but it still ranks tops with me. Poor acting, horrible lighting and a gory, creepy theme is what gives this movie its charm and a place in the B horror hall of fame
  • Warning: Spoilers
    It's the same old horror set-up; A cheating wife is caught by her supposedly out of town husband and both the wife and her lover are tortured and murdered. The husband takes a new wife (with an agenda, of course) and the spirits of the restless undead return to make their lives a living hell. Paul Muller is the evil scientist who ruthlessly tortures his wife and her lover then gives the wife's blood to the embittered housekeeper (Helga Liné) who is suddenly youthful again. She's extremely jealous when Muller marries the dead wife's half sister (a blonde wigged Barbara Steele, also present as the brunette first wife) with the intention of getting his hands on the estate that sister left sister. But the spirits of the not completely dead want their revenge and the blonde Steele begins to have nightmares which fits completely in plan with Muller's motives of having her declared insane so he can get his hands on the entire estate. Not if the ghosts have their way, and this is where the real nightmare comes into play.

    Not for the squeamish, "Nightmare Castle" features torture through acid and electrocution, and the victims must suffer greatly before they go off into the restless spirit world of the still wandering undead. Steele has played this type of role many times before, most notably in the cult classic "Black Sunday", and while her part is fun to watch (as always), the technical flaws of this badly dubbed film are sometimes difficult to stand. The characters for the most part are all one-dimensional but the execution (pardon the pun) is exceptional and the macabre elements of the story truly gripping if one is strong enough to stomach it. Helga Liné goes from hunchbacked servant to still embittered beauty so rapidly that it takes a minute to figure out what transpired. Still, there's a lot of fun to be found in this Z-grade Gothic thriller if you can get past the poor photography, extremely tinny sound and sometimes maudlin acting.
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