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In the 1800s, a baron, who is the owner of a castle known as The Devil's Castle and who is also an obsessed opera fan, keeps the body of his favorite diva preserved in a crypt in the castle. In order to keep away potentially nosy visitors, the baron's mad-scientist assistant, invents all sorts of spooky phenomena in order to give the castle a creepy reputation. Written by
Congratulate yourself. You've heard of this movie.
Nobody but nobody has heard of this movie. I just can't understand it because it's such a great little flick; if nothing else it deserves its own underground cult following. I've been trying to start one for ages, but it seems in order to drum up a cult you need people. Drat.
Anyway, this film is like a yummy stew of Terry Gilliam (Monty Python), Mel Brooks (Young Frankenstein), Rob Reiner (The Princess Bride), Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children) and who knows, maybe some Fellini thrown in for taste. It's surreal, bizarre, funny artistic, classy and has a great underlying story by Jules Verne to feed your brain.
It's one of those films with lots of antique sets and cool retro-scifi gadgets which put you into a timeless state of mind--not exactly the past nor the future, but definitely not the present. Think of the movies Brazil or HG Wells' The Time Machine, then throw in some absolutely crazy characters: a villain who is obsessed with beards, a hero whose super power is his bellowing opera voice (if not his hyper-inflated ego), a mad scientist who sends rockets to the moon in his spare time, and a gorgeous damsel in distress who has a rather curious affliction (I won't ruin it)...
If you're into bizarre Czechoslovakian nightmares* then this is the film for you. Some of the gags are corny, but they're so corny they're classic. If nothing else, it'll be a memorable experience for you, and you can boast about being the only person in your town (in your hemisphere?) who's seen this flick.
*speaking of bizarre Czechs, you might also want to look for the films of Jan Svankmajer (Alice, Faust, Little Otik), definitely worth czeching out. Har.
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