Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) keeps his teenaged children locked up and drugged, fearing that his insane wife passed along a congenital curse to them before her own suicidal death. Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) escapes for a brief tryst with a local before being recaptured and subjected to a bleeding process to "draw out the bad blood". Emil (Shane Briant) keeps trying to escape, but is thwarted time and again by his Aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell), who runs the house like a prison. One reason the siblings have to be kept apart is their incestuous attraction to each other. Local wenches are being murdered in the woods, and the superstitious peasants think demons are responsible. A wandering Priest (Sir Michael Hordern) dedicates himself to root out the evil, but isn't taken seriously. Arriving at the castle are two more interested parties: Mountebank scientist huckster Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) stands to make a small fortune if his strange apparatus can cure the children of their inherited evil...
They came to torture an agonised mind
Did You Know?
[to his daughter, Elizabeth
This is where you should be. Here... with us.
The original UK cinema release was cut by the BBFC to remove shots of dirt being forced into Inge's mouth and the stabbing of Hilda with a set of keys, and to optically blur shots of the scarred body of Zorn's wife and of her cutting her throat. The same cut print was used for the 1990 Warner video though this was then cut by a further 18 secs to remove shots of Inge's topless bloodstained body and a bloodstained woman caressing her breasts during a flashback montage. The 1990 video cuts were waived in 2006 for the Optimum release though the original cinema edits now appear to be lost. See more
Referenced in Inside the Tower