83 user 54 critic

Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

Approved | | Drama, Horror, Mystery | 12 February 1962 (Denmark)
3:37 | Trailer
A mysterious and cruel Baron, whose face has become frozen in a horrifying grin, demands that a prominent London physician apply experimental treatments on him to restore his face.


William Castle


Ray Russell (screenplay), Ray Russell (novel)
1 nomination. See more awards »





Cast overview:
Ronald Lewis ... Sir Robert Cargrave
Audrey Dalton ... Baroness Maude Sardonicus
Guy Rolfe ... Baron Sardonicus / Marek Toleslawski
Oskar Homolka ... Krull (as Oscar Homolka)
Vladimir Sokoloff ... Henryk Toleslawski
Erika Peters ... Elenka Toleslawski
Lorna Hanson Lorna Hanson ... Anna


A search for a winning lottery ticket in his dead father's grave causes Sardonicus' face to freeze in a horrible grimace, until he forces a doctor to treat his affliction--with even more grotesque results! The audience gets an opportunity to vote--via the "Punishment Poll"--for the penalty Sardonicus must pay for his deeds... Written by M.E. Nelson

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


During the running of the film,the "Punishment Poll" lets YOU decide the fate of Mr. Sardonicus! See more »


Drama | Horror | Mystery


Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


William Castle: [gimmick] During its initial theatrical release, attendees were given small white cards with luminous thumbs with which to vote thumbs-up or thumbs-down. See more »


As the Doctor arrives in the train depot in Gorslava, the door opens and the camera pulling away is reflected in the door's glass. See more »


Baron Sardonicus: What I had not forseen was that the face of my father, the muscles stretched by a terrible death recoil, would look directly and hideously upon me, the dead lips drawn back in a constant and soul-shattering smile.
See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was initially refused a UK cinema certificate by the BBFC, and only passed 4 months later after considerable pre-cuts which included shots of Sardonicus' face and the entire leech torture of Anna. The 1996 Encore VHS release was complete and uncut. See more »


Featured in Cinemassacre's Monster Madness: Mr. Sardonicus (2016) See more »


Foggy, Foggy Dew
(English folk song)
Sung by Ronald Lewis
See more »

User Reviews

The Lottery Ticket
9 August 2017 | by claudio_carvalhoSee all my reviews

In the Nineteenth Century, in London, the prominent medical doctor Sir Robert Cargrave (Ronald Lewis) receives a letter from his former sweetheart Baroness Maude Sardonicus (Audrey Dalton) with the invitation to visit her husband Baron Sardonicus (Guy Rolfe) and her at his castle in Gorslava. Soon Sir Robert learns that the notorious Baron is an appalling man that frightens the local population. On the arrival in the castle Sir Roberts sees Sardonicus's servant Krull (Oscar Homolka) torturing a maid with leeches in a weird experiment. He meets Maude and her husband that wears a mask covering his face. Sir Robert has a private conversation with Sardonicus and he learns that the Baron was the peasant Marek Toleslawski that lived in a poor house with his wife Elenka Toleslawski (Erika Peters) and his father Henryk Toleslawski (Vladimir Sokoloff), who gives a lottery ticket as a gift to Elenka and dies. Months later, Marek and Elenka learn that they have won the lottery; however the ticket was buried with Henryk. Marek decides to retrieve the ticket in his father's grave and when he sees the face of Henryk, he freezes his face with a horrible grimace. Sardonicus wants Robert to recover his face; otherwise he will destroy Maude's face. Will Sir Robert succeed?

"Mr. Sardonicus" is a creepy horror film directed by William Castle. The story is a sort of combination of the story lines of "Nosferatu" (or "Dracula"), "The Man Who Laughs" and "Les Yeux Sans Visage" among others. William Castle plays with the audiences asking for the fate of Sardonicus. The make-up of Sardonicus is impressive. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "A Máscara do Horror" ("The Mask of the Horror")

11 of 11 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 83 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »






Release Date:

12 February 1962 (Denmark) See more »

Also Known As:

Mr. Sardonicus See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed