BADass SINema Unearthed - Blu-ray Review

Nightmare Castle (1965) - Blu-ray Review

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Nightmare Castle - Blu-ray Review

3 beers

Severin Entertainment, having recently released two of Jess Franco's more renowned films in High Definition, continues their horror exploitation roll out with the release of one of Barbara Steele’s most memorable films.  Full of great atmosphere and a solidly gothic will of might, Nightmare Castle gets a visual upgrade with this newly discovered and freshly restored print.  Playing two roles and appearing in almost every scene, Steele delivers two compelling performances that would help earn her the title of The Queen of All Scream Queens.

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Directed by Mario Caiano, Nightmare Castle also stars Paul Muller, Helga Liné and Rik Battaglia and is the twisted tale of obsession and madness as one mad scientist plans to punish his wealthy but unfaithful wife without losing control of her inheritance.  When things go too far all too quickly, he must initiate Plan B to lay claim to her money.

"Your time in Nightmare Castle will not soon be forgotten."


While over the top with its hysterics, Caiano’s film is quintessential Italian horror that never once drops its gothic nature as Muller as Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith grows more maniacal with every passing shadow.  His eyes practically gleam with sheer delight while torturing his cheating spouse.   The shocking film – while never having the gusto of a Mario Bava feature – grows even more twisted when her mentally unstable step-sister (Steele in blonde wig) becomes Arrowsmith’s next wife and is haunted by avenging spirits.

It isn’t hard to understand the appeal of Steele.  With her cat-like eyes and her exotic looks, this pale woman with strikingly dark hair haunted many a male and female fantasy.  Her roles here are full of fright and warped sexuality, as fetish becomes fright, and terror inside a torture chamber.  The dark film and its demented manner is punctuated by solid black & white cinematography by Enzo Barboni and a horror score, while not as memorable as might be expecting, by Ennio Morricone.

Nightmare Castle - Blu-ray Review

Nightmare Castle is a great example of why the golden age of Italian horror still resonates with audiences.  There’s a strong sense of doom running throughout the feture and, with top-notch makeup effects, there’s no reason to think twice about owning Severin Entertainment;s release.  The company, by uncovering the original negative and cleaning it up for its blu-ray debut, does Italian horror fans a huge favor with this release.  As bonus content, Severin offers two more Steele flicks with the inclusion of Castle of Blood and Terror Creatures from the Grave

Your time in Nightmare Castle will not soon be forgotten.

Nightmare Castle - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated
Runtime:
90 mins
Director
: Mario Caiano
Writer:
Mario Caiano, Fabio De Agostini
Cast:
Barbara Steele, Paul Muller, Helga Liné
Genre
: Horror
Tagline:
So weird! ...So shocking! Do YOU dare see it!
Memorable Movie Quote: "I've asked you before not to come down to my laboratory while I'm busy with my experiments."
Distributor:
Allied Artists Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
July 5, 1996
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 18, 2015
Synopsis:A woman and her lover are tortured and killed by her sadistic husband. The pair return from the grave to seek vengeance.

 

Nightmare Castle - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - August 18, 2015
Screen Formats: 1.66:1
Subtitles
: None
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A

Released by Severin, the restored HD transfer of Nightmare Castle is a crisp 1080p presentation that makes the censored earlier releases of the movie immediately disposable. Details are at maximum quality throughout the production and none of them miss your attention. It is not an overstatement to suggest that this is the best the movie has EVER looked. The black-and-white cinematography from Enzo Barboni is stellar and – in spite of a few moments of print damage – nothing really takes away from the power of his use of shadows and angles. Black levels are strong and the whites provide a good balance throughout. A mono English track adequately provides clear dialogue and Ennio Morricone's first horror score.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Featuring an audio commentary with Barbara Steele and Horror Historian David Del Valle, the supplemental items kick off with a roaring start. Here, Steele discusses the movie and her career in Horror with a fine sense of the dramatic.

Special Features:

Featuring two more Steele films – Castle of Blood and Terror Creatures from the Grave – the supplemental materials simply do not disappoint. The two films are 2k scans of rare US 35mm release prints and definitely fill a hole in the Steele collection. The actress rules the special features and dominates in almost every single way as this three-for-the-price-of-one blu-ray release is practically her holy grail. Fun, informative, and full of great material with interviews from cast and crew, Severin scores big with this release.

  • Barbara Steele In Conversation (30 min)
  • Black White And Red (14 min)
  • Vengeance from Beyond (27 min)
  • A Dance of Ghosts (17 min)
  • Terror Creatures Deleted Scenes (14 min)
  • Trailers

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