A beautiful young woman travels to a remote estate to seek employment as a biochemist for Baron Janos Dalmar. She finds herself attracted to him, so immerses herself in her work to suppress...
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A beautiful young woman travels to a remote estate to seek employment as a biochemist for Baron Janos Dalmar. She finds herself attracted to him, so immerses herself in her work to suppress her lusty desires. A rash of rather brutal murders occurs in the area and she soon discovers that the Baron is not what he seems. Not long thereafter, the Baron transforms into a demon, and the beautiful young woman becomes his very own love slave.Written by
"Il Castello Dalle Porte Di Fuoco" (*) aka. "Altar of Blood"/"Blood Castle"/"Scream of the Demon Lover" (1970) is a below par Italian Gothic Horror film. This is not to say that it isn't a good film, however, as this combination of country and sub-genre has brought forth so many masterpieces and cult-gems, that even a highly entertaining, atmospheric and neat-looking flick like this one is below par (to be precise, this is an Italian Spanish Co-Production, the director José Luis Merino being Spanish).
José Luis Merino's film may lack logic, and seems to be terribly predictable and cheap in the beginning. However, it soon gets better, and furthermore turns out not to be quite as predictable as one might think. In the 19th century, the female chemist Ivanna (Erna Schürer) accepts a job in the castle of Baron Janos Delmar (Carlos Qunay). In spite of rumors that the Baron is a madman who rapes girls and has them mangled by his dogs, the un-superstitious Ivanna decides to stay. However, she soon has to realize that there are indeed strange things going on in the castle...
The foxy leading actress Erna Schürer might be recognized by Italian Horror lovers, as she had a role in Andrea Bianchi's sleazy Giallo "Nude Per L'Assassino" ("Strip Nude For the Killer", 1975); the role suits her quite well. Leading man Carlos Quinay appeared alongside the Spanish Horror legend Paul Naschy in "La Orgia De Los Muertos" (aka. "The Hanging Woman"/"Terror of the Living Dead", 1973). The cast member of this film that is doubtlessly (and rightly) best known, however, is the drop-dead gorgeous young Agostina Belli, a stunning beauty who appeared in a bunch of Italian genre films. She plays the supporting role of a young maid here. Marino Vidal Molina, who plays a police inspector, appeared in several films alongside Paul Naschy.
The film has a nice atmosphere, even though it is not quite as moody and eerie as it is the case with many other Italian Gothic Horror films. In some parts I was reminded of Antonio Margheriti's "La Vergine Di Norimberga" ("Horror Castle", 1963), which, of course, is a lot better. The plot has huge holes, but these holes are often entertaining, as are the spontaneous moments of comparatively rather tame sleaze. The camp-factor is definitely a good thing in this case. The characters' actions and emotions make little sense at times, but the film is entertaining anyway. It probably isn't going to scare anybody's pants off, but it is warmly recommendable to my fellow enthusiastic fans of Italian Gothic Horror. People not so familiar with the genre should doubtlessly stick with the many Italian Gothic Horror masterpieces, such as anything by Mario Bava, Antoni Margheriti, Riccardo Freda, etc. My rating of "Il Castello Dalle Porte Di Fuoco": 6/10
(*) This actually does not concern this film in particular, but all non-English language films listed on IMDb: Am I the only one who laments IMDb's decision to change from using original titles to using American a.k.a. titles? The titles used are often not even the most common English titles. And the name-change concerns only about half of the non-English films. Furthermore, the films appear under the English aka-title but are still alphabetically listed under the beginning letter of the original title. E.g.: "What Have You Done To Solange" is listed under "C" ("Cosa Avete Fatto A Solange"); this film appears as "Scream of the Demon Lover" but is listed under "I" ("Il Castello..."). This makes it quite confusing and annoying to browse one's own Reviews. Well, no sense in nagging, I guess.
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