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In an ancient castle, a mad scientist is trying to revive his dead daughter by an operation, but there are certain body parts he needs that he can't get. His problem is solved when a group of drunken party-goers stumble into his castle. Written by
The sleaze-loving Austrian director Adrian Hoven is probably best remembered for writing, producing and co-directing the notorious Exploitation gem "Hexen Bis Aufs Blut Gequält" aka. "Mark of the Devil" (1970) and its vastly inferior sequel "Hexen Geschändet Und Zu Tode Gequält" ("Mark of the Devil 2", 1973). This earlier Gothic Horror/Exploitation effort, "Im Schloss Der Blutigen Begierde" (aka. "Castle of Bloody Lust"/"Castle of the Creeping Flesh") does not share the notoriety of Hoven's Hexploitation films, but is enjoyable in a very different way. "Im Schloss Der Blutigen Begierde" must be one of the cheesiest, inept and unintentionally funny Trash-Horror films I have ever seen, and I am a very regular consumer of low-budget cult flicks.
This very bizarre little flick starts at an orgiastic party hosted by the arrogant and malicious Baron Brack (Michel Lemoine). After taking a ride, fate then leads the Baron, as well as five of his guests including the sexy sisters Vera (Janine Reynaud) and Elena Lagarange (Elvira Berndorff) to the castle of the very sinister Count Saxon (cult-star Howard Vernon)...
The film, which has an utterly confused and incomplete storyline, features some of the most inept and hilarious lines of dialogue. Howard Vernon's character, for example, shows guests around his castle and tells stories about his ancestry, only to proclaim thereafter that his beloved daughter "died half an hour ago". Other than Howard Vernon all acting performances are hilariously inept. Howard Vernon was a great cult-actor, who blessed many of the films (great and awful alike) of Spanish Exploitation deity Jess Franco; he had a great, incredibly sinister screen-presence. However, in this film he is hardly given anything to do but grimace and talk nonsense. Michel Lemoine has very weird eyes, but his performance is abysmal, as are all the others. Janine Reynaud (known for Jess Franco's earlier works) and Elvira Berndorff are very nice to look at, however, and they regularly have their breasts exposed. The cast also includes Vladimir Medar, who is best known in German-speaking countries for participating in many of the cheesy Karl May-adaptations.
The film has somewhat of a pioneer-quality, as it is very sleazy and very gory for a pre-1970 film. We see breasts in every other scene, there are orgies and rapes, and some very graphic gore during surgery. On the side, the film features one of the most popular 60s Eurohorror themes, the 'mad scientist kills women in order to restore the life of one woman' story, which had formerly been the topic of such masterpieces as Georges Franju's "Les Yeux Sans Visage" ("Eyes Without a Face", 1960), Giorgio Ferroni's "Il Mulino Dalle Donne Di Pietro" ("Mill of the Stone Women", 1960) or Jess Franco's "Gritos En La Noche" ("The Awful Dr. Orloff", 1962). Vernon's role here has some similarities to that of the eponymous Dr. Orloff in Franco's film, only that Franco's film was great, and this one is a hilariously inept mess. The setting and photography are actually quite nice, but the inept dialogue and ridiculous story destroy any chance of a creepy atmosphere or genuine scares. It gets somewhat eerie towards the end, but by then the foregoing ridiculousness is dominating the film's mood. The only comparable film I can think of is Massimo Pupillo's "Il Boia Scarlatto" ("The Crimson Executioner", 1965), which offered an equal amount of unintentional hilarity.
Overall, "Im Schloss Der Blutigen Begierde" may be the most inept European Gothic Horror film I have ever seen, but it also is highly entertaining. Along with the Italian Giallo, European Gothic Horror films are probably the most stylish, elegant and fascinating sub-genre Horror has ever brought forth, and there are plenty of masterpieces to see in the field, especially films from Italy (e. g. everything by Mario Bava, Antonio Margheriti, Riccardo Freda, etc.). If you want to see a good (but disturbing) film by Adrian Hoven, check out "Mark of the Devil". "Im Schloss Der Blutigen Begierde" is undeniably total crap. However, it's inept charm is irresistible for Cult-Horror fans with a sense of humor. This film is unintentionally hilarious from start to finish; it may be an awful excuse for a film, but I cannot remember when I was more entertained.
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