An Italian Barbara Steele train in which she plays two similar roles (one in a wig), as two ladies, one tortured and murdered by her hubby who finds her in flagrante with a lover, the second a new wife who is tormented by the ghosts of the murdered! And really that’s it!
Barbara Steele is a weird looking little bird of a woman and you get to look at her plenty, as she bugs her big eyes out and lets her jaw hang open, looking just like a gargoyle. There’s a subplot of a her hubby being a weird Galvonic-style scientist messing with frogs and electricity, and this is one of the gruesome tortures he uses to execute his wife and lover.
The main interesting bit in this awful tale, is that the wronged husband is the one who is treated as the demon. The cheaters, an endlessly fascinating drama to most of us, are portrayed sympathetically. I sort of feel like most American films would indulge the husband’s rage to the fullest and basically consider him the “victim” despite his monstrous actions. I suppose you can only maintain victimhood if you don’t become a monster, but in this feature we assume the husband/scientist’s rot as soon as the couple are found out, which happens within the first minutes of the film setting us up for the long, drawn-out opportunity for Barb to do her best Lou Costello impressions.
The film has no subtlety or any other quality really. It’s very much a Soap Opera drama in which you’re given all the knowledge of the circumstances and all you’re doing is waiting for it to unfold. For me it’s the worst kind of film, as I live for twists and surprises in familiar tales.
it’s Free on Prime, but unless you just can’t get enough of Miss Steele, and I have no doubt there are at least a few masochists out there who adore her . . . it’s best left where you found it.
3 thoughts on “Nightmare Castle (1965)”
I’m here for Steele, but this sounds awful!
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Yeah, even she can’t save it. The dullness of this product is hard to overstate. Though I’m just one opinion, I tend to lose concentration pretty quickly in these old horror products that rely almost entirely on close-up reactions to various spooky revelations that we watched actually happen in the first 10mins. Had they flipped the narrative, had the new wife come home only to find herself going bananas in a haunted house . . . and THEN revealed that her hubby had killed the previous wife . . .
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Now that sounds better! Similarly, I frequently find an interestingly cast old movie and hope for a gem, then find myself passing out with disinterest; the German Sherlock Holmes movie with Christopher lee springs to mind…