Castle of the walking Dead The Aikman save 1967 / shade / 1:33 level pan scan / 81 85 min. / die Schlangengrube und das Pendel, The Blood Demon, The snake Pit and the Pendulum, The Torture chamber of Dr. Sadism / Street date August 19, 2003 / 24.95Starring Lex Barker, Christopher Lee, Karin Dor, Carl Lange, Vladimir MedarCinematography serious W. Kalinke, Dieter LiphardtArt Direction will certainly Achtmann, Gabriel PellonFilm Editor Hermann HallerOriginal Music Peter Thomas created by Manfred R. Köhler native The Pit and the Pendulum by Edgar Allan PoeProduced through Erwin Gitt, Wolfgang KühnlenzDirected by Harald ReinlReviewed by glen EricksonGerman producers originated your home-grown Edgar Wallace crime thrillers, however when it came to Euro-horror and spaghetti Westerns, castle were regularly 2nd-tier co-partners top top Italian films. For die Schlangengrube und das Pendel, some optimal German names add to provide the Italians a operation for your money in the terror stakes. The an outcome is a far better than typical thriller through an okay script and direction enlivened by high production values. And also topping the off with horror icon Christopher Lee guarantees global interest.The Aikman Archive"s DVD of castle of the walking Dead (one of its numerous titles) is a an excellent compression of a reasonably poor print with one English dub track. Although the pan-scanned framing is frustrating, this might be the best version obtainable on DVD, and it walk look far better than the old graymarket VHS tapes i saw. A tiny better. Synopsis: i get it (Lex Barker) travel to a remote lock to find out that his genuine ancestors were, on the way meeting kindly priest dad Fabian (Vladimir Medar) and also lovely young Lilian (Karin Dor). In a magic forest external the forbidden castle, they"re menaced by black riders and chilled by the vision of tree festooned through corpses. However that"s nothing contrasted to the terror within the lock - hypnotic potions, a torture chamber through twelve murdered virgins, and also a creepy servant who shows up to be a life corpse. Special torture chambers are scheduled for Roger and also Lilian, now revealed to it is in the descendants of the executioners of the castle"s initial owner, counting Regula (Christopher Lee). Regula"s earlier for revenge ... And also Lilian"s to it is in the thirteenth virgin blood donor to complete his "elixir that life eternal".Cleverly adjusted from The Pit and also the Pendulum, castle decorates the spare tale with obtained story elements, attractive exhilaration leads, a fast pace and also excellent settings. Exteriors appear to be shot in the very same town whereby The Wonderful world of the brother Grimm was filmed - I recognize the photogenic switchback turn in the center of some quaint old buildings.Handsome Lex Barker and also exotic Karin Dor (You only Live Twice) meet cute, horror-movie style, throughout a grotesque exorcismic parade with town. In a nice touch, Barker stops the lead parader, who happens to be dragging a large cross. ("Pardon me, I recognize you"re busy, however ...")Things stay eventful as a kidnapping is thwarted and also a fellow traveler transforms out to be other than what that seems. Climate the coach travels through a hellish fogbound timber where the trees room draped with dead white bodies. Arms and also legs stick out from tree trunks as if representing imprisoned souls. Then comes a spot of woodland with dozens the hanged corpses. All this is too much for the coachman. His passengers don"t react really strongly, but since the dramatics throughout continue to be at a rather an easy level of great unbelievability, that plays no as a detriment but as an invite to expropriate the film"s dream logic. Later occasions suggest that the totality corpse forest may be a wonder hallucination.1Count Regula"s castle is comprised of impressive, well designed internal sets dressed through creepy paints reminiscent of Hieronymous Bosch. Odd statuary and occasional props, like Count Regula"s throne-like chair, add nice touches. One trucking shoot takes us down a small passage lined with human being skulls and also is genuinely disturbing. Some of the corridors are a little bit stagebound, however this is no key to usage for last judgments ~ above the movie: it"s not feasible to tell what the film"s original color scheme and density was. Some shots top top this DVD look much better than others, and have a rich sub-Mario Bava feel.The story is directly adventure with horror trimmings. Dor"s servant Babette (Christiane Rücker) is conserved from a gruesome death in the nick the time. Dad Fabian blunders and blusters broadly, learning along the way that servant Anathol (Carl Lange) is a resuscitated corpse. When shot, Anathol"s wounds heal instantaneously. Nice inserts of stop-motion animation administer the gory details. Elsewhere, reverse filming is offered as a simple way of making count Regula"s quartered human body leap earlier into one piece.Harald Reinl"s direction is artless yet lively, unpretentious and to the point; that compares favorably come the dreary modern work that Jess Franco. The camera move frequently, and Reinl likes to perform rapid push-ins on frightened faces.Although the picture isn"t frightening, the pushes the limits for what might be shown to a kiddie audience. Ns don"t know whether this English-language variation is reduced from other spicier. Nude female bodies room strapped come torture devices, all strategically covered here and also there, however disturbing simply the same. In ~ one point Karin Dor has actually a lizard crawling across her bosom and spiders on her shoulders. Miscellaneous gruesome deaths are plotted with torture devices; true to the title, over there is a line pit and a pendulum. Dor is terrorized so as to chill her blood to the right state for count Regula"s immortality treatment; Barker"s suffer with Poe"s swinging tongue is well-filmed however nowhere close to as outstanding as i get it Corman"s version, mainly since the handsome ex-Tarzan never seems concerned that he"s about to it is in bisected.Christopher Lee"s function isn"t exactly minimized - let"s call it concentrated. He appears for a brief flashback scene narrated by an interesting one-legged mountebank whose later function in the story is garbled. A golden mask is affixed come his face, a clear recommendation to black Sunday: Regula is yet another specter return to curse the family members that did him wrong. Lee is then revived for a few minutes near the end of the tale. That looks as necessary creepy, through punctures tho in his face; too negative that Barker so easily turns the tables ~ above the Count, as it looks like the foolish alchemist invest a lot of of tough work just to end up liquified on the floor the his foolish lab.For all its expressive trappings, the film doesn"t produce a atmosphere to match the much better Italian product native Bava, Margheriti and also Freda - the environment is out for thrills an ext than dread or revulsion. It"s much more efficient than memorable, yet even v its pat finishing (everyone who goes right into the castle lives!) Reinl"s movie is a great entertainment.Unless there"s some pristine an ar 2 release out over there of lock of the wade Dead, this bowl will need to do. Unforgivably trashy art is top top the cover and the source element is a ragged publish with poor color for most of its to run time. The soundtrack is great - in lot of the dubbing, few of the gibbs seem to be speaking English, so it"s possible that the movie to be filmed in a genuine English version. Otherwise, the present has cheap violin written anywhere it: a crude opening that simply pops into a scene, and also a key title raggedly cut in, possibly on video. The initial film was more than likely not anamorphic (Phil continuous makes plenty of errors that this nature in his reference Encyclopedia) however even the cropping from widescreen to the small 1:33 look at tight, specifically on the sides, and also hampers the evaluation of separation, personal, instance compositions.One thing also the worst that Italian images beats this movie on is the music score. The series of ill-fitting cues here are therefore bad, they might be replace instead instead so as to not salary royalties. One traveling design template sounds like it belong in a negative Bavarian travelogue for ice cream skating or something. Darken this snapshot down and also put a composer like Roman Vlad behind the creepy interiors and also haunted forest, and also it would be twice as powerful.The last verdict is the this DVD of lock of the go Dead is a an excellent "reference-quality" alternative - an excellent enough to watch until a real restored version appears. Hope a Fantoma, Anchor only or Blue Underground will certainly eventually have the ability to get quality materials for DVDs of title such as this one, and others like Mill that the rock Women, The lengthy Hair that Death and also The awful Dr. Hichcock. Top top a scale of Excellent, Good, Fair, and also Poor, castle of the walking Dead rates: Movie: an excellent Video: negative Sound: great Supplements: quick Chris Lee bio (ends in 1996) Packaging: Keep case Reviewed: December 1, 2003Footnote:1.

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I"m looking forward to the upcoming restored DVD the The legendary Curse of Lemora, which has actually a very successful and even creepier terror-forest, bordering an angry destination. Return