Nightmare Castle (1965)

Directed by: Mario Caiano

Written by: Mario Caiano & Fabio De Agostini


Barbara Steele .... Muriel / Jenny Arrowsmith
Paul Muller .... Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith
Helga Line .... Solagne
Laurence Clift .... Dr. Derek Joyce
Rik Battaglia .... David

Release Dates: Theatrical: July 16, 1965 (Italy); June 5, 1966 (France); July 5, 1966 (USA)



An evil count Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Muller) catches his wife Jenny (Barbara Steele) cheating on another man named David (Rik Battaglia).
He tortures and electrocutes both of them to death and removes their hearts from their bodies.
Years later he remarries a woman identical to his late last wife named Muriel and she goes into trances and experiences nightmares and hauntings of Jenny.
Then Jenny seemingly posessed Muriel's body and tries to kill the count for what he did to her.
He hires a shrink Dr. Derek Joyce (Laurence Clift) to try and cure her from all of this but he thinks that he is way too invovled with her and has deadly plans for him as well.


We spot discussions between Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith and his wife Jenny as well as him snapping at her during these moments which catches your attention and working in pretty well into the story by having a feeling that something is going to happen later on.
Some strong moments when Jenny makes out with David as their situations flow in nicely and leaving an effect that thety're having an affair as this looked natural as two people being sneaky behind Stephen's back and nicely put into the story too.

Things look mildly amusing when the two of them are caught in the act and looking unpretty on what becomes of them such as them being chained up and tortured as this seems to be necessary for a horror flick as well as their death scene being electrocuted although it looked dated still gives you the creepy feeling as well as what he does from the results later on which looked mildly graphic since italian films were way ahead of it's time to reveal certain situations back then compared to north american flicks.
An effective moment with the new wife Muriel in bed and spotting a clock striking midnight as well as good circling camera shots around her and haunting moments which draws you in along with a flashback hallucination on her sister and her affair with echoey effects and I thought I'd be in for a nice creepy horror flick while spotting this but there were many disappointments later on.
Effective discussions between Stephen and Solagne with her bittnerness which makes things truly mysterious and wondering if she has a deadly secret and what will happen later on within everything.
Well focused discussions with Dr. Derek Joyce trying to talk seriously towards Muriel about the situations she's having as things seem nicely still as well as later on her breaking into an evil laughter and other spots too as this looked impressive for a possessive situation and making the moments look truly mysterious. However the conversations do lag on in other spots as it becomes terribly dull by what they talk about or what they find in which the story slumps big time.
Another mysterious moment when Solagne bleeds at the dinner table and Stephen explains that she has a bleeding problem as this also makes you wonder and drawing you in for what will happen later on due to this as things seem creepy.
Another great creep touch is when Muriel gets out of bed and hears her name being whispered as well as Derek looking around in the cellar and sees a coffin door opening during this same time which showed nice timing. Plus a good creepy moment when she slowly comes up to Stephen and plans to kill him with a dissecting knife as I will add good credit to the mysterious horror here.
Things continue to get dull still with other situations as there's a moment with Stephen setting a trap in a bathtub and planning to electrocute someone but it's the wrong victim as there's no effort whatsoever on what happens here.
Yet a good twisted moment with Muriel strapped down and Stephen's deadly plans for her blood that also involved Solagne as this looked good and twisted on someone whom is evil and crazy. Some decent efforts here that saves it from bombing.
More horror moments that worked in well for a horror film in it's time is when Jenny and David come back from the dead to seek revenge with David having a creepy looking scarred face as well as Jenny having the side of her hair hiding her scarred face till later on as this offers some spooky moments. But while we expect some more excitement we're somewhat in for a disappointment.
Bottom line is that this was a disappointing B&W Italian horror film that seemed almost promising at first but duriing the middle of it the film gets really boring with the diaogues between the cast. Plus the audio is off on the actors.

We have some nice performers in this film but the one who was the best out of all of this is UK celebrity Barbara Steele (Muriel / Jenny Arrowsmith) playing two characters in the film and pulling it off well. She knows how to portray both someone evil and someone frightened too. Offers a nice cackly type of laughter and a lustful rage. Plus does well with her frightened berhavior as well as her intenisty in other spots like having a nightmare. She draws all of this perfectly. Really offers a strong wickedness near the end of her role when she seeks revenge.
Paul Muller (Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith) is fairly good as an insane doctor and has good serious attitude. He has a good wicked type of charm to his speaking along with doing well by going into a rage. Brings all of this top a hype especially later on revealing his deadly and evil side. He for sure shows off alot of energy into all of this.
Helga Line (Solagne) also did well playing his assistant and shows nice intensity too. She offers a nice disturbed attitude and well with her emotionless behavior too. Was convincing as a criplleminded and bitter woman with a deadly secret. I found that she had the most effective supporting role. Seemed to be a nice key character to the story.
However, supporting actor Laurence Clift (Dr. Derek Joyce) did not have me convinced playing a shrink in the film as he seemed fairly wooden. Yet was sharp within his seriousness and speaking so he wasn't overly terrible also had the right clean cut looks which helped his role a little bit.

There is someone's heart in a small water tank.
A ghosts face is half sliced off

Ennio Morricone really knew his craft as a composer which saves this film too from going under. He has perfect timing with his creepy organ playing as well as some nice smooth classical piano playing plus he has nice sharp violin sounds to the film as well. Also there's an oddly ghost chanting for a certain scene as this worked in greatly giving it a nice scary moment.