In 1897, in a castle near the town of Werewolfville in the Carpathians, a slightly deranged Professor Orfanik experiments with his new inventions which include, even at this early date, television and a film camera.
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
Going into territory previously dominated by fellow Czech filmmaker Karel Zeman, this 1981 Czech production was based on a lesser known Jules Verne novel "Le Château des Carpathes" (1892) (published in English as "The Carpathian Castle"). See more »
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.
51 of 51 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this