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The Castle of the Living Dead (1964)

Il castello dei morti vivi (original title)
Count Drago invites entertainers to his castle, but what the people don't know is that Drago mummifies animals and humans.

Directors:

Warren Kiefer, Luciano Ricci (as Herbert Wise) | 1 more credit »

Writers:

Warren Kiefer (story), Warren Kiefer (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Christopher Lee ... Count Drago
Gaia Germani Gaia Germani ... Laura
Philippe Leroy ... Eric
Mirko Valentin Mirko Valentin ... Sandro
Donald Sutherland ... Sgt. Paul / The witch / The old man
Renato Terra Renato Terra ... Policeman (as Renato Terra Caizzi)
Antonio De Martino Antonio De Martino ... Nick
Luciano Pigozzi ... Dart
Ennio Antonelli Ennio Antonelli ... Gianni
Jacques Stany Jacques Stany ... Bruno
Luigi Bonos Luigi Bonos ... Marc (as Luigi W. Bonos)
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Storyline

All'inizio dell'800 una compagnia di girovaghi è specializzata in uno spettacolo durante il quale viene messa in scena una falsa impiccagione. Durante un sosta vengono invitati dal conte Drago nel suo castello. L'arlecchino della compagnia viene licenziato da Bruno dopo una lite ed il suo posto viene preso da Eric, ex ufficiale. E così partono per il castello; per strada incontrano una vecchia che predice loro che arrivati a destinazione alcuni incontreranno la morte. Nella foresta vedono inoltre un corvo che sembra vivo, ma vivo non è. E infine giungono al castello dove, dietro una porta aperta, trovano ad attenderli una sala piena di uccelli imbalsamati, o che almeno lo sembrano. Fa quindi la sua comparsa il conte Drago. Written by Baldinotto da Pistoia

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

How much shock can the human brain endure before it cracks? See more »


Parents Guide:

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Details

Country:

Italy | France

Language:

Italian

Release Date:

5 August 1964 (Italy) See more »

Also Known As:

The Castle of the Living Dead See more »

Filming Locations:

Bomarzo, Viterbo, Lazio, Italy See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Filmsonor,Francinor,Serena See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Mono
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Sir Christopher Lee, during the post-sync stage, he had to dub his own voice only with a vague memory of his lines, because a continuity girl had neglected to record the dialogue of the movie on paper. See more »

Connections

Featured in Horror Europa with Mark Gatiss (2012) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Bonkers Gothic Horror
21 December 2017 | by BezenbySee all my reviews

This Gothic Horror dispenses with heaving cleavage, secret passages and all that jazz for a cautionary tale regarding trusting creepy ass Counts who hand you invitations to their similarly creepy castles, and, strangely even for a Euro-horror film, it has Donald Sutherland playing three separate roles...for some reason.

Those invited are a travelling troupe of performers led by greedy jerk Bruno, who travels with sister Laura, deaf/mute Gianni, level headed dwarf Nick, and newly recruited horny jerk Philip Leroy, who has taken over the role of Harlequin from violent jerk Luciano Pigozzi, who has flounced off after a bar fight with Bruno. This lot head off to the castle on the promise of a lot of cash, despite the warning of an old witch (Donald Sutherland!) who speaks only in rhyme.

The first strange occurrence happens shortly afterwards when Philipe finds what looks like a stuffed crow stuck to a tree branch. Puzzled, he casts it aside and heads for the castle anyway, all the time hitting on Laura while Bruno grunts about the money they'll all make.

Of course, Christopher Lee plays Count Drago, who lives in the castle with his hulking man servant. Drago appears to be quite the rabid taxidermist, as his castle is stuffed with all sorts of animals. You'd have to be some sort of actor in a cheap horror film to not guess where things are heading next...especially when Drago mentions that the new creature he's working with is 'the most dangerous of all'.

Some people hate this film for some reason, but I found the set up different from the usual gothic horror clichés. Apart from Donald Sutherland's performance as the witch, and the bumbling soldier, it's good that the main hero of the piece ends up being the dwarf, rather than Philipe Leroy. I did have a good laugh at the dwarf dummy that is thrown off the side of the castle, mind. The sight of Donald Sutherland as an old crone speaking in rhyme and making a dwarf touch his/her hump for luck is something to behold also.

I think this is also the earliest film I know that uses the Gardens of Bomarzo (aka The Sacred Grove or Park of the Monsters) as a location. Created in the 16th Century, this place is full of bizarre sculptures and buildings used by some fella to cope with the grief of his wife's passing. The Orcus is the most famous of the sculptures, having been used in the film The Relic, the naked Sherilyn Fenn film Phantoms, and of course Luigi Cozzi's utterly demented and classic film The Adventures of Hercules (which is one of the most entertaining films ever made).


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