Tuesday, June 23, 2009

NIGHTMARE CASTLE

Commonly available on home video and DVD under several titles (including THE FACELESS MONSTER) with subpar transfers culled from beat-up, edited TV syndication prints, this 1965 Gothic Eurohorror gem has been given new life by the fine folks at Severin Films.

Directed by Mario Caiano and featuring an eerie organ score by maestro Ennio Morricone, NIGHTMARE CASTLE (AMANTI D'OLTRETOMBA) tells the familiar tale of a mad scientist, Dr. Arrowsmith (Paul Muller) and his unfaithful wife, Muriel (Barbara Steele, BLACK SUNDAY, THE SHE-BEAST). In a rage of jealousy, he murders his wife and her lover by cutting out their hearts. Unfortunately, his castle belonged to Muriel, and she’s bequeathed it to her twin sister Jenny (Steele in a blonde wig). Arrowsmith woos and weds the sister, but when he brings her home to the manse, strange things begin to happen.

Severin Film’s DVD provides this much abused title with a quality presentation at last. First, there’s a remarkable new HD anamorphic transfer from the newly discovered original negative, uncut and restored, and presented in its proper 1.66:1 aspect ratio. The picture quality is amazing and truly showcases the atmospheric black & white photography. The audio is Dolby Digital mono (English) and there are no subtitles provided. Severin has also included a brand new on-camera interview with Ms. Steele, who still appears quite striking. She discusses not only NIGHTMARE CASTLE, but also her entire career, with an emphasis on her horror film experiences. There’s also a second featurette with director Caiano, who reminisces about the film from his home in Italy. Finally, there are both the UK and US theatrical trailers.

As Severin’s packaging says, "Throw away all those inferior transfers," because this is by far the best NIGHTMARE CASTLE has ever looked. Highly recommended for fans of the great Ms. Steele and/or old school Gothic horror films.

BUY: Nightmare Castle