Nightmare Castle (Italy 1965)

Rating: **
Review Date: 3/29/13
Cast: Barbara Steele, Paul Muller, Helga Line

A mad scientist (delightful Paul Muller) tortures and murders his cheating wife (Barbara Steele), and her spirit comes back to haunt him in the form of her mentally unstable sister (Ms. Steele in a dual role). The sadistic scientist uses his dead wife's blood to make his partner in crime (ravishing Helga Line) young and beautiful again, and they scheme of ways to get rid of the sister as well. The best plan they can come up with is to have her certified as mentally incompetent, so that the scientist can assume ownership of her property and fortune. But with her body being possessed by a vengeful ghost, that's not too difficult. Through twists and turns and a bit of luck, the good guys end up winning with their lives and sanity intact, while the bad guys get sent back to hell.

A bit of a shocker in the sex and violence department, as you would expect from Italian horror of the time period. The production is well lit and looks great, and the acting is quite good. Helga Line is absolutely stunning as the wicked Solange, and Paul Muller's calculated performance is both charming and sinister. The camera doesn't shy away from steamy liasons and bloodshed, but the execution is tame and tasteful. The visual effects are decent, as is the gore makeup. The story is interesting and suspenseful throughout, although the pacing is a bit slow. Certainly worth checking out for fans of the genre.