Castle of Blood (1964)

  • Year: 1964
  • Released: 27 Feb 1964
  • Country: Italy, France
  • Adwords: N/A
  • IMDb:
  • Rotten Tomatoes:
  • Metacritics:
  • Available in: 720p, 1080p,
  • Language: Italian
  • MPA Rating: Not Rated
  • Genre: Horror
  • Runtime: 87 min
  • Writer: Giovanni Grimaldi, Bruno Corbucci, Edgar Allan Poe
  • Director: Antonio Margheriti, Sergio Corbucci
  • Cast: Barbara Steele, Georges Rivière, Margrete Robsahm
  • Keywords: bet, vampire, castle, gothic horror, gothic, ghost,
66% – Critics
66% – Audience

Castle of Blood Storyline

CASTLE OF BLOOD synopsis-NOTE: In the European version the actors are listed by their real Italian names. In the US version they were given American-sounding names. Below they are referred to in their real Italian names.**On a cold dark night a man is seen outside the Four Devils Tavern in London, looking around. Entering, he goes downstairs where Edgar Allan Poe (Silvano Tranquilli) is reciting lines from one of his stories to Lord Thomas Blackwood (Umberto Raho) and the bartender. He listens for a moment, then introduces himself as Alan Foster (Georges Rivière), a reporter who has been trying to get an interview with Poe. Remembering him as having pursued him without response, he invites Foster to sit down. They discuss death and whether there is an afterlife. At one point, Sir Blackwood invites Foster to spend a night in his castle atop a cliff overlooking the sea at Providence. He must remain there from midnight to dawn, upon which he will receive 100 pounds sterling. Refusing the bet at first, Foster offers to try it for 10 pounds. He is told by both Blackwood and Poe that all those who tried before ended up dead. The most recent deaths were a newlywed couple who never returned but are buried in the castle cemetery. Foster agrees and Poe agrees to accompany them to the castle (which is a two-hour ride by carriage) during which he will interview Poe at length.As they arrive at the castle in the middle of the night, Poe asks Foster if he has any second thoughts before he is left alone. Having none, they bid him goodnight saying they will return in the morning. He waves as they leave. Going inside the gates, he wanders through the narrow cemetery. He sees only a black kitten hanging around. As he ascends the steps he finds a woman’s garment which he picks up and carries inside with him.Inside he finds an old dusty castle, very dark and dank. Lighting a candelabra, he begins looking round. He hears a noise and goes to an open window. Looking out, he sees nothing and closes it. He taps his cane on an ancient dining table, covered in dust. He sets the candelabra down, removes his cape and hat and places them on the table. Picking up the candelabra, he explores more until he hears a large clock striking eleven. He looks at the grandfather clock, which shows 11:30. The pendulum appears still. As he turns away, he hears the clock strike once more. He looks and sees the pendulum swinging. As he approaches, it stops. He compares the time to that of his pocket watch and sees they are the same.As he looks into another room, he is startled by the image of a man. He goes to investigate and finds a full-length mirror. Tapping on it, he tells himself not to be afraid of his own reflection. He goes on and sees a portrait of Julia Alert (Margrete Robsahm). As he looks again, the portrait seems to be rippling. He tells himself its only a portrait and returns to the table, setting down the candelabra and pulling out note paper and pencil. He tells the portrait that he will make some notes and begins writing.All at once he hears music playing and gets up to see. In another room, he sees a couple dancing but as he approaches the door, it slams shut. Forcing the door open, he finds a dark music room with a harpsichord and harp. He lights a candelabra on the harpsichord, and noticing sheet music there, he sits and begins playing it. Suddenly we see a hand reaching out to touch his shoulder from behind. He is startled and turns to see Elisabeth Blackwood (Barbara Steele) who asks if her brother sent him. Rising, he tells her Lord Blackwood made a bet, but he didn’t know anyone else would be in the castle or he wouldn’t have accepted the bet. She tells him she fell out with her brother because she was in love with the gardener Herbert (Giovanni Cianfriglia) and Lord Blackwood didn’t approve. He tells her he will leave rather than cause her misery, but she insists he stay and win the bet. She says that his room has been prepared. He is surprised and asks how she knew he was coming. She replies that her brother makes the same wager every year on this night and someone comes. As they continue walking, the candles go out just as Elisabeth laughs. He asks who blew them out and she answers only the wind. As they pass by the portrait of Julia, it seems to be rippling again. Elisabeth doesn’t see the rippling, but asks about it. Again he tells her he will leave and gather his belongings. She sees the garment he brought in and picks it up, smelling it. He tells her he found it outside.They go upstairs to a bedroom where he sets the candelabra on a desk. Elisabeth sits on the bed and calls him to sit beside her. He comes close and she asks about the world outside. He tells her nothing has changed, but that it is a shame that the world cant share her beauty. She asks him if he finds her attractive and he admits he does. She asks about him and he tells her there is not much to tell. He is single, lonely and works in London as a writer.Suddenly Julia enters the room and says that they have not been introduced. Elisabeth warns Julia not to interfere, telling her that Foster was sent to her by her brother. Julia challenges that, asking Foster if it is true. He says only that he is there because of a wager. Elisabeth tries to get Julia to leave and not to cause any trouble. When she refuses, Elisabeth says that she will leave and does. Julia tells him it is late and that she will also retire. He asks if he will see her in the morning and she tells him no. When he asks if she is leaving, she tells him, no, I only said you wont see me in the daylight. She leaves and he ponders all that was said.Outside in the hall, the two women talk. Elisabeth tells Julia that he belongs to her, that she is in love with him, and they will be happy together. Julia tells her she will not be happy and that he will soon learn the secret of this place. Julia threatens to tell him. Elisabeth is upset and runs off.In his room, Foster removes his coat and looks at a small stack of books on the desk. He picks one up and opens it. The title page reads: CARMUS: ELEMENTS OF METAPHYSICS MEDICINE. He goes to the bed to begin reading, but is distracted by a noise coming from the door. He notices the door handle slowly opening. He rises and gets his derringer and stands by the door. When he pulls the door open, he sees Elisabeth, who says that he is still awake. He invites her in and she goes to the bed, where she sees the book. She says that she will leave, so he can read it. He persuades her to remain, telling her how much he likes her and is attracted to her. She answers that she is pleased to hear this and that she wants his body warmth. She asks him to kiss her and embrace her. They embrace and she begs for his kisses and for him to warm her.Meanwhile Julia is listening outside the door. She remarks to herself that she tried to warn Elisabeth but was unsuccessful. She turns to go and runs into William (Benito Stefanelli) who asks about Elisabeth. Julia tells him she will inform Herbert.Alan and Elisabeth are seen in bed, where he expresses his joy of meeting her. She tells him she cant be part of his world because he is in the present, while hers is in the past. He tells her that he doesn’t believe that, resting his head on her chest. As he caresses her arm, he suddenly notices that she has no heartbeat. He looks at her and calls her name. She answers and he tells her that he was afraid her heart had stopped beating. She tells him that her heart has not beaten for ten years since she died.Suddenly Herbert bursts into the room with a knife and stabs Elisabeth. He runs from the room with Alan following. Alan shoots him and he falls. As he watches, the body vanishes. Alan returns to the bedroom to find it empty. He begins calling for Elisabeth, going room to room. All at once he encounters Dr. Carmus (Arturo Dominici), who tells him that he will be unable to find Elisabeth. They go into his study where he offers Alan a drink of whiskey. He explains about the three parts of life. The first part (the weakest) is the human body. Second is the spirit within, and third are the senses, which he explains live on after death in some bodies. Alan scoffs at this and Carmus tells him he will prove it. Removing a small case from a cabinet, he produces a small venomous snake which he puts on a table. Cutting off the head, he tells Alan to note how the body continues moving without the head and the head, though severed from the body is still dangerous enough to bite. Alan says that may be true for reptiles, but he doesn’t believe its the same for humans. Carmus takes him to the window, where he points out below the graves of Elisabeth and the others. He tells Alan that tonight they each will live out the last five minutes of their lives until they died.They ascend a staircase and Alan begs for more details about Elisabeth. Suddenly the clock chimes and Carmus tells him that the time is at hand and that words mean nothing. He is told to watch below. The room plays back the evening of a festive party where Elisabeth was dancing with her husband William, who stops and goes to get her a drink. As she waits by a window, Herbert knocks from outside. She opens it and he insists on seeing her. She tells him she will try to see him later and closes the window. Julia sees her talking to Herbert but says nothing. William brings the drink to his wife. Sir Blackwood and his wife approach and inform their hosts they must leave. Escorting them outside, Elisabeth then turns aside to talk to Herbert. He takes her aside into the stable and demands her loyalty, saying that she promised herself to him while her husband was away. Suddenly the dream fades and Carmus tells Alan that their deaths will be replayed tonight, as every year at this time.He takes Alan into the bedroom where William and Elisabeth are in bed together. Herbert comes in and strangles William. He then turns on Elisabeth to kill her, but he is knocked out by Julia with a candlestick. He falls with half his face indented from the blow. Julia turns to comfort Elisabeth, telling her she is now safe. Elisabeth reaches for a knife and stabs Julia. Getting out of bed, Elisabeth views the three dead bodies and screams. Alan says he doesn’t want to see anymore, and that it must be a trick. Carmus tells Alan that there is more for him to see.Alan sees that the bedroom is now empty. No bodies are present. He begins searching again, calling for Carmus and Elisabeth. When he reaches the study of Carmus, the door opens and he goes in. Next he sees Carmus, who takes a drink of whiskey. Hearing a banging noise, Carmus takes a candelabra and goes from door to door and window to window until he finds the door that keeps banging open and shut. Opening it, he goes downstairs into the crypt room. He passes by an ornate coffin showing a man and a dog to a stone bier. He slides the cover off to see a decomposed woman inside. As he watches, she begins to breathe, then converts into a mist. Going back to his study, he sits down and begins to write. Suddenly Herbert enters and kills him, then bites to suck blood from his neck. At this point Carmus comes back into the room, telling Alan that he has seen how Carmus met his end. When Alan looks at the desk again, no one is there. He picks up the paper Carmus wrote on and reads: Blood is the fountain of life; only blood brings back the dead to life; we will drink from this fountain!!Alan hears ghostly laughter and pulls out his derringer. Realizing the gun will do no good, he drops in on the desk and exits the study. Soon he hears more laughter from outside. As the front door opens, he hides to watch. The bride (Sylvia Sorrente) and groom enter to spend their wedding night.As they go upstairs, Alan calls out to them to warn them they are going to their deaths, but realizes they cant hear him and there is nothing he can do but watch. He notices the door standing open and goes to it. It closes and he tries to open it, but the handle breaks off. He realizes he is trapped. He begins calling out loud, hoping Carmus can set him free while he is still alive.Upstairs, the amorous couple is kissing but hears a noise. He goes to investigate and she begins to undress by the fire. As she gazes at her reflection in the mirror, we see Herbert approach from behind. Seeing him, she screams as he attacks. Her husband rushes in to find Elsi dead, and is killed by Herbert. The scene vanishes and Alan sees the couple approaching him. They tell him it is now his turn. He runs downstairs and sees Carmus, who tells him that he is next. He tries to run, but each of them are closing in on him. All at once he sees Elisabeth, who tells him which way to run. She says they need his blood to be able to live again next year for a few minutes.Alan runs down a hall and is trapped as the others approach. At the last second, Elisabeth opens a door and leads him through. Again she tells him they need his blood but if he can escape they will die. He tells her to come with him, grabbing her arm. She cries no, that she cannot enter his world. He insists, pulling her along through corridors. She continues to tell him that she cant come with him because she is dead. Finally they go outside where she collapses, telling him goodbye. Her body deteriorates completely away until she is only dust. He stumbles through the graveyard, hearing the voices of the others calling him. As he comes under the tree with the low branches, he sees the bodies of the others hanging from high limbs. They all tell him there is no escape and they will live by his blood. He makes it to the gate and steps outside, thinking he is safe. Suddenly the gate closes and a metal rod pierces him through, killing him and holding his body upright.The next morning Poe and Blackwood arrive in their carriage and Poe remarks how he is standing there. But when they approach they see he is dead. Blackwood takes money from Alans wallet, telling Poe he must collect on the debt. Blackwood says he will arrange for burial in the cemetery. Poe says he can now write the story, but no one will believe it.The voices of Elisabeth and Alan are heard talking to each other. She says you stayed with me, Alan. He replies: yes, Elisabeth.

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Castle of Blood Movie Reviews

Another Brilliant Gothic Tale With Steele

Antonio Margheriti’s “Danza Macabra” aka. “Castle Of Blood” of 1964 is a beautiful and incredibly haunting masterpiece of Italian Gothic Horror, and after Mario Bava’s “La Maschera Del Demonio” (aka. “Black Sunday”) of 1960 and Roger Corman’s “Pit And The Pendulum” of 1961 (starring the great Vincent Price) another must-see that earned the wonderful Barbara Steele her more than deserved fame as the most important female Horror icon in the history of motion pictures. But not only is the beautiful and brilliant Barbara Steele one of my favorite actresses of all-time, the screenplay to “Danza Macabra” was co-written by no one less than the cinematic genius Sergio Corbucci, who directed such ingenious Spaghetti Western milestones as “Django” (1966) and “The Great Silence” (1968). Italy’s number 2 in the field (right after Mario Bava), Director Antonio Margheriti is one of the all-time masters of Gothic Horror, and “Castle of Blood” is doubtlessly his greatest achievement. Hardly another film works so brilliantly in creating an incredibly haunting, yet beautiful atmosphere as it is the case with this creepy masterpiece.

When he encounters the famous writer of brilliant macabre stories, Edgar Allen Poe, in a gloomy London tavern, young journalist Alan Foster (Georges Rivière) accepts a bet from a nobleman, that he can not spend a night in his haunted castle in the night of all souls’ eve. As soon as Foster enters the eerie castle, mysterious things start to happen. After a little while, however, he encounters an enchanting resident of the castle, the stunningly beautiful Elisabeth Blackwood (Barbara Steele). The mysterious events so far, however, have only been forebodings of the terrors the castle bears, however…

The eerie castle setting alone would be sufficient to create a gloomy mood, the excellent black and white cinematography and a great score by Riz Ortolani create an incredibly haunting atmosphere that is eerie beyond comparison. The wonderful Barbara Steele is fantastic as always, I simply can not find enough words to praise this wonderful actress. No other actress has ever been capable of uniting ravishing beauty with the uncanny as it is the case with Steele, and no actress ever will. Besides Steele, the movie’s cast contains another stunning beauty, Margarete Robsahm, and she also delivers a great performance. George Rivière’s performance as Alan Foster is great, and the rest of the performances are also very good. “Castle of Blood” is outstanding in many departments: Barbara Steele Delivers one of her best performances, the cinematography and locations are beautifully haunting beyond comparison, the atmosphere is incredibly eerie… The film simply is a perfect whole of atmosphere, Gothic beauty and the art of terror. In short: “Castle of Blood” is one of the most atmospheric and greatest Gothic Horror films ever made, and must not be missed by anyone interested in the genre! 10/10

Great on atmosphere…

The DVD for “Danaza Macabra” (Castle of Blood) is very odd. That’s because parts of the film are in French with subtitles and the rest is dubbed into English from the French. Sometimes, characters switched between the two in the middle of a scene! When I tried to get the film to be JUST subtitled or just dubbed, it made no difference! Odd, but still watchable.

The story purports to be based on a Poe story, though I can’t recall which one. In fact, the character of Poe appears in the beginning and end of the film–though it didn’t look especially like him.

A rich man makes a bet with a guy down on his luck that he cannot stay the entire night in a manner home. It seems like an easy bet to win–even if the house is very creepy. However, it can’t be that easy, as the rich guy says that all those who previously took the bet died–yet this fool STILL wants to make the wager! While in the home, he meets lovely Barbara Steele within and falls madly for her. Later, however, he learns that she died more than a decade earlier! How can this be?! I could tell you more about the plot but don’t want to spoil any of the suspense. See it for yourself to find out the rest of the story.

This film gets very high marks for creating a creepy atmosphere. The house, black & white cinematography and music work together to make for a scary looking film. As for the plot, it’s interesting–especially because there are many twists and turns–so many that you are wondering just who is and who isn’t among the undead by the end of the film.

The only negative is that I felt sorry for the poor snake that was needlessly killed. Crazy as it might sound, I felt sorry for it and it hardly seemed necessary.

Also, parents may want to know that towards the end there is a bit of nudity. A strikingly beautiful woman appears topless, but it’s hardly necessary for the plot.

Well executed old and very dark house horror

Well executed old and very dark house horror. Good set-up which includes the character of Poe, himself, alluding to the story in a London pub. Although from here it is pretty much the one guy who has taken the dare to visit the house on a particular night running from room to room either looking for or avoiding people, it is still most enjoyable. Plus we have the delightful and enigmatic Barbara Steele. There is some wooden dialogue and some unexplained bits and bobs but it is the super creepy atmosphere that is maintained throughout, that and the super musical score that keep this one moving nicely along. DVD originates from US and has a few extras