Castle of Terror (1963 R64) German A1 Poster
Rossana Podestà, looking rather more square-jawed than she did as a blonde, is suitably terrorised by a hooded maniac (the original ‘The Punisher’) through richly depicted castle dungeons and crypts, in Antonio Margheriti’s sumptuous gothic horror. Actually shot in three weeks after his Castle of Blood (1964) to take advantage of the former’s sets, the film is set post-WWII in Germany, and has a political secret behind the mystery and the horror - the German version removed this entire subplot. Podestà roams the castle fetchingly in her white gown, discovering an eyeless victim in the Virgin of Nuremberg itself (an Iron Maiden), or watching caged rats strapped to another victim’s face, and all the while, everyone telling her she must be dreaming…
Margheriti is rarely mentioned in the same breath as Freda or Bava, but he successfully crossed genre barriers, with great horrors – The Long Hair of Death (1965), his 1966 Sci-Fi trilogy, and a horror/giallo hybrid Seven Dead in the Cat’s Eye (1973). He may have been more erratic than his peers, but when given the resources and crew (here with his long-time collaborator cinematographer Riccardo Pallottini) he could produce beautiful and atmospheric work.
Aka: The Virgin of Nuremberg, Horror Castle
Cast: Georges Rivière, Christopher Lee (billed Cristopher in the original Italian prints), Laura Nucci, Leonardo Severini, Mirko Valentin