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In the castle Vogeloed, a few aristocrats are awaiting baroness Safferstätt. But first count Oetsch invites himself.. Everyone thinks he murdered his brother, baroness Safferstat's first husband, three years ago. So he is rather undesirable. But Oetsch stays; arguing he is not the murderer and will find the real one... Written by
I knew going in this was not a horror film, in spite of the English title: while not uninteresting in itself, it emerges as a very minor Murnau. Little of the director's trademark stylistics are present here; the film does constitute an early use of flashback, as it slowly divulges the events behind a past crime for which the wrong man was accused but the characters don't exactly set the screen on fire.
The Sinister Cinema edition I watched was a mere 56 minutes in length, as opposed to the restored 74-minute version of the film; not surprisingly, the choppy editing (full of phony-looking transitions and an equally pointless establishing shot of the castle used ad nauseam throughout) made the plot somewhat hard to follow and the lack of detail in the print itself, not to mention the absence of an accompanying music score, didn't help matters either!
Even so, the film is worth watching for the unethical way the elderly hero goes about discovering the real identity of his brother's killer and for a couple of brief if irrelevant dream sequences, one expressionistic (and which can now be seen as a dry run for NOSFERATU ) and the other surreal. Some years back, Image Entertainment had announced a DVD release of THE HAUNTED CASTLE but, for reasons known only to them, it was summarily cancelled and has yet to appear officially on any digital format.
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