The journalist Alan Foster makes a bet than he can spend one night at the haunted Blackwood Castle. As he learns, the rumors of ghosts at the castle are indeed true. On All Soul's Eve the ... See full summary »
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The journalist Alan Foster makes a bet than he can spend one night at the haunted Blackwood Castle. As he learns, the rumors of ghosts at the castle are indeed true. On All Soul's Eve the ghosts of the castle search for blood to tide them over for another year. In the castle Foster meet and fall in love with Elizabeth Blackwood. Written by
Although advertised as being "based on the story Night of the Living Dead by Edgar Allan Poe", there is no such actual story by Edgar Allan Poe concerning the events in the film. Like the classic The Black Cat (1934) with Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, this film (and 1964's Castle of Blood (1964)), scriptwriters Bruno Corbucci and Giovanni Grimaldi drew from Poe's literary traditions rather than a specific text. The most direct use of Poe's writings was the presence of an actor playing the writer and having him recite one of Poe's actual stories - specifically, the short verse "Berenice". But there is no story called "Night of the Living Dead" by Poe, and no story relating the events shown in either film version. See more »
The opening of this film treats us to Klaus Kinski in twice his usual state of delirium - thrashing about in a shadowy, cobweb-laden crypt. He's playing Edgar Allan Poe, and he looks the very embodiment of an absinthe-soaked poete maudit. His role, alas, turns out to be little more than a glorified cameo! Still, he sets the tone admirably for the next 90 minutes of flickering candelabra, ethereal vampire beauties and white muslin curtains billowing softly by moonlight.
It would be easy to dismiss this movie as a compendium of Gothic horror cliches. Easy but unfair, I feel. Like any other highly stylised art form (Romantic ballet, bel canto opera...) a Gothic tale rests on a set of unreal and perhaps arbitrary conventions. Much of a fan's pleasure depends on how faithfully, how stylishly, these conventions are played out. In truest Gothic horror tradition, Nella Stretta Morsa del Ragno does very little that's new - but does it in grand style!
In a nutshell, the fiendishly deranged Poe inveigles a young journalist (Anthony Franciosa) into spending a night in a creepy old mansion. The family who inhabit this mansion seem to spend all their time dying and coming back to life. The rest of the 'plot' is predictable enough, but Michele Mercier (as the most glamorous ghoul) looks stunning whether dead or undead. Her romantic agonies are offset by Ottavio Scotti's splendid Gothic art direction. If the editing and camerawork look a little choppy at times, I blame the ghastly pan-and-scan job on my video copy.
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