Directed by Mario Caiano
Starring Barbara Steele, Paul Muller, Helga Liné, Laurence Clift,
Giuseppe Addobbati, Rik Battaglia
In 1960, Barbara Steele starred in Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, which set her on her path of being a horror icon. Over the next few years, she starred in many gothic horror films in Italy. When she appeared in Mario Caiano’s first entry into this sub-genre, it wasn’t her first rodeo. Before that point, Caiano’s work mainly consisted in the westerns and peplum (sword & sandal) genre. It is pretty surprising that he and co-writer Fabio De Agostini came up with such a great story, with plenty of strange angles, and filled the picture with so much atmosphere that I’m surprised that the fog doesn’t just ooze out of your television when you’re watching it. The original title is Amanti d’oltretomba, but it has been released under the titles The Faceless Monster and Night of the Doomed. But now, thanks to Severin, you can get the uncut and original version under Nightmare Castle.
Directed by Michael Reeves
Starring Barbara Steele, Ian Ogilvy, John Karlsen, Mel Welles
This film has the honor of being the first movie from the young up-and-coming director Michael Reeves, who would only direct two more features, the last one being the incredible Witchfinder General, before dying of a supposed accidental overdose of barbiturates. The cinematic world lost something special that day.
The She-Beast has all the makings of a great gothic film. Filmed in a setting of a real town is better than anything Hollywood could have created. You have a pretty standard but effective story about a witch returning from the grave to make good on the curse she put on the town two centuries before. Plus, you have Italian horror icon Barbara Steele in the lead role. So how could you go wrong? Continue reading
We had an amazing time at Flashback Weekend (pictured above with filmmaker John Borowski), even selling a few more copies of my book, Discover the Horror. I got to do a little Q&A on Saturday morning to talk about the book (thanks Mike & Mia!!!) and answer a few questions. My good friend Bryan Martinez not only recorded it, but made a nice little video out of it, with film clips and all! You can see it below.
Please remember that if you have read the book, PLEASE go on to Amazon and post a review. It doesn’t have to be an essay, but can just be a sentence or two. But the more reviews it gets the more circulation it will get for similar titles. So please take a second and post your thoughts. And besides, I would love to hear them as well. Continue reading
Black Sunday (1960)
Directed by Mario Bava
Starring Barbara Steele, John Richardson, Andrea Checchi, Ivo Garrani, Arturo Dominici, Enrico Olivieri, Antonia Pierfederici, Tino Bianchi
Once you start to wander down the path of Italian horror cinema, there is one director that is a must for you to seek out. While I know quite a few fans start out with Dario Argento, which is a great place to start, but you mustn’t stop there, but go further back. Back to 1960 when the film Black Sunday was released. There are many titles that are considered ‘classics’, but director Mario Bava’s tale of witchcraft, Satanism, and revenge, is one of the best examples of black and white horror cinema, or really horror cinema in general.
As horror fans, we all know that Barbara Steele made a few gothic horror flicks in her day. Some of the plots might even sound a bit similar….I mean, how many films can you make about ghosts coming back from the dead for revenge? Well…quite a few it seems. But the difference with these films is that they were made by talented filmmakers! So it didn’t matter if the plot had been used several times before, it was still a great movie. A prime example of that is Nightmare Castle
Sure, we all know and love Mario Bava’s Black Sunday, which was the film to catapult Steele into her path towards being a Queen of gothic horror, but I have to say that Nightmare Castle is one of my favorites of hers. The tale is about a deceitful wife and her lover who are tortured to death by her sadistic husband. But the story doesn’t end there, when they come back to haunt the husband and his new wife. With some incredible music by Ennio Morricone, and co-starring Paul Muller and the beautiful Helga Liné, I couldn’t recommend this film enough.