(I’m still playing catch-up around here, so here’s a review from my book, Unsafe On Any Screen. This one originally appeared at MonstersAtPlay.com).
Once again, the fabulous folks at Retromedia bring us the kind of sleazy entertainment that one once had to scan the TV Guide for and stay up into the wee hours in order to see — unless, of course, you were lucky enough to catch it at the drive-in (ahhh, the drive-in) where it ran on a double-bill with The Velvet Vampire. Now you can watch it whenever the hell you feel like it — and with the nudity intact!
Blood Castle opens as a stumbling winesoak is frightened by a man on a horse riding through the town square. The winesoak snoops around, discovering the mutilated dead body of a young woman. He rouses the townsfolk and we see the mysterious Baron Janos Dalmar (Charles Quiney, looking rather like Rowan Atkinson at first glance) astride his horse and heading home to his — Blood Castle! Could he be the brutal murderer the townsfolk live in fear of?
The next morning, biochemist and superhot Euro-babe Ivanna Rakowsky (Erna Schurer) arrives in town, along with a police inspector who hopes to solve the murders. Ivanna tries to secure a carriage ride to the Baron’s estate, but everyone gets all freaked-out on her until she talks to the skanky fellow who just dropped off the coffin containing the latest murder victim. Licking his chops at the opportunity to convey the luscious scientist anywhere she’d like to go (and particularly into his trousers), this fellow literally yanks the money for the ride out of Ivanna’s hand.
Meanwhile, the police inspector meets with the mayor and the local constabulary to discuss the murders — six, since the death of Igor, Baron Dalmar’s brother. The inspector puffs thoughtfully on a cigar and expresses his determination to bring the killer to justice.
Arriving at the Baron’s estate, the skanky hearse-driver makes a play for Ivanna, who wants none of it. The guy tries to force himself on her and smoke appears to rise from his buttocks. Fortunately for all of us, Baron Dalmar rides past, frightening away the unpleasant chap. Ivanna knocks on the castle door, where she receives a somewhat chilly welcome from Olga, the housekeeper (Christina Pathe), who doesn’t buy Ivanna’s claim to be a scientist (Olga thinks the beautiful young lady has a — shall we say, less respectable occupation). The argument between the two women (which looked to be building to a spectacular catfight) is interrupted by the Baron, who appears accompanied by a flash of lightning. He dramatically spanks his dogs and tells Olga to let Ivanna stay the night and give her a month’s pay for her troubles. The Baron doesn’t want a female assistant because “women are dangerous to have around.” This suits the jealous Olga just fine, and the Baron’s saucy-yet-innocent maid Christiana (Agostina Belli) takes Ivanna upstairs for a bath.
Eventually, the Baron relents and decides to keep Ivanna around. He shows her his laboratory, where he explains that he wants to find a way to regenerate carbonized matter — namely, the fire-ravaged corpse of his brother Igor. When Ivanna begins having nocturnal visits from a crusty, blackened figure who strips her naked and chains her to a torture rack in the basement, Igor’s “death” seems less and less likely, however. As more murders occur and the police close in, the killer’s identity is revealed and leads to lots of cheesy fun, topped off with a garnish of naked girls (and some dog-whipping).
As slow-paced and rambly as one would expect from an Italian/Spanish gothic horror romance thingie, Blood Castle nonetheless provides some fine entertainment (and even a genuinely creepy moment or two).
For more funky movie reviews, check out my book Unsafe On Any Screen:
And you might dig my new novel, Squirrel Eyes (a story of lust, movies and more):
Not to mention my collection of short stories, Tales of Misery and Imagination: