At the beginning of the 9th century a company of wanderers specializes in a show during which a false hanging is staged. During a stop, they are invited by Count Drago to his castle. The harlequin of the company is fired by Bruno after a fight and his place is taken by Eric, a former officer. As the go to the castle they meet an old woman who foretells that when they reach their destination, some will meet death. In the forest they see a crow that looks alive, but isn't. Finally they come to the castle where, behind an open door, they find waiting for them a room full of stuffed birds, or at least they seem so.. Count Drago then makes his appearance.Written by
They don't make them like this anymore (and probably shouldn't)
Back in the '50s and '60s, these Evil-Count-Doing-Something-Bad movies were a dime a dozen. Nowadays, you're lucky if you get one every five years. Which is not necessarily a bad thing if all the entries turned out like this one.
The movie involves a traveling band of minstrels traveling to the castle of Count Drago (Christopher Lee, sporting an odd makeup job) to perform. Once there, they find that the Count has an interesting taxidermy hobby. As you will have figured out in the first 15 minutes, the Count has more in store for the minstrels than they expected.
This movie isn't so much about Lee's plans to turn everthing into a statue (his creations aren't stuffed carcasses; they're permanently frozen while living); it's about the stupidity of the minstrels. Look at these examples of how they completely miss the fact that they are in danger:
* they don't suspect anything being invited to a remote castle for a private appearance for three gold pieces (!!), or when they're warned by an old hag (Donald Sutherland, for Christ's sake!!) that they will die if they go to the castle;
* when Lee tells the lead minstrel that he has started using humans, but substitutes the word "animal" for "human", the minstrel doesn't catch on;
* the strongman/firebreather doesn't notice the evil henchman standing 10 feet away, preparing to shoot him in the eye with a crossbow;
* the female minstrel doesn't realize that a man she knew is dead, even though he is completely immobile and attached to a stand, nor does she catch on when the Count talks of giving her "eternal beauty" as codewords for killing her.
This film does have other problems. The print I saw looked like it had been through the washing machine (I really don't see a big preservation movement for this one). The acting is pretty wooden (the terrible dubbing doesn't help either). Sutherland (who plays a soldier as well the hag) plays the soldier role with all the seriousness he played the surgeon Hawkeye Pierce. There are a few redeeming moments, though: when the henchman throws the midget minstrel off the top of the castle (he lives, but it's nice to believe that he won't), and the great expression Lee has to hold at the end of the movie (he sure is shaking a lot for a statue). Other than that, there no reason to recommend this movie. Die-hard Lee fans may not even enjoy it.
8 of 18 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this