Sunday, August 7, 2016

Nightmare Castle, Barbara Steele in Great Peril

Barbara Steele is one of the greatest horror film actresses of all time. She can be a beautiful damsel in great distress in one scene, then with the twitch of an eyebrow, turn into a demented fiend...although still beautiful.  In 1965's Italian horror shocker "Nightmare Castle" (aka "The Faceless Monster"), she excels in both roles. The English beauty worked in several horror films that ranged from Italian Euro-horror with Mario Bava to American slasher, in 1979's The Silent Scream .
Being married to a mad scientist has it's hazards, as Muriel (Steele) is about to find out.  Believing her husband has left on a business trip, she enjoys some steamy sex with the stable-boy (Rik Battaglia). Uh oh, Muriel's husband, Stephen (Paul Muller) doubles back and catches them doing the dirty deed.  He strings both of them up and tortures them with whips, a hot poker, electricity, and acid. Both expire, mercifully. Unfortunately for Stephen, he mis-read Muriel's will. The whole castle is bequeathed to her sister, Jenny (also Steele).  Jenny is holed up in a lunatic asylum and is as frail as she is insane.  Plan B is put into effect....Stephen marries her and brings her to the castle.
Complications and eeriness arise immediately.  For one, Stephen's maid Solange (Helga Line) is all of a sudden a youthful beauty, instead of an old hag...but how?  How did Stephen unleash youth onto this old woman?  The answer is startling, and will put Jenny in even greater peril.  Then, the diminutive and unstable Jenny starts manifesting Muriel's personality, fiery and insolent.  As Solange and Stephen plot Jenny's demise, Muriel's vengeful spirit begins to work.  To further complicate matters, Dr. Joyce (Marino Mase) comes to treat Jenny at the castle and falls in love with her. As an angry Muriel manifests through Jenny, then actually appears, a bloody fate will'll see.
Will the insane, but lovely Jenny, find love and happiness amidst the carnage that will transpire at her castle?  Will a homicidal mad scientist be able to out maneuver a vengeful ghost?  No one is safe in this European horror yarn, directed by Mario Caiano.  The torture scenes are difficult to endure, and so is the excruciatingly gory ending...but that's just how we like it.  This is one of Ms. Steele's best films, which is saying a lot.  Enjoy "Nightmare Castle" (the unedited 104 minute version) which is available on YouTube.


  1. My kind of movie indeed. I will be watching on youtube Thanks for the review Christopher

  2. Sounds like quite the complex and challenging role for the talented Ms. Steele!