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Nightmare Castle (1965)

Next up on my B-movie bonanza, is a rather entertaining little film known by many as Nightmare Castle or also The Faceless Monster. Searching for any positive reviews on this B-movie classic may be difficult to unearth seeing that many reviewers on Netflix chalked this one up to "unwatchable" status. But strangely enough I found this to be the most enjoyable film out of the four public domain horrors I've reviewed so far, which might solely be due to the fact I completely feel in love with a actress named Helga Line.

Nightmare Castle is the story of a mad scientist, Dr. Arrowsmith and his wealthy wife, Muriel who is secretly having an affair with the gardener. When Dr. Arrowsmith discovers his wife's fornication he takes it upon himself to release her and her lover from their bondage of life. Unfortunately for him Muriel has altered her will leaving her wealth to a mentally unstable step-sister. Now to take control of Muriel's wealth Dr. Arrowsmith must prove Muriel's step-sister, Jenny, is so mentally unhinged that he should be given control of all her assets. How will he accomplish such a task? Well of course by marrying her and making her believe she is completely out of her mind, which doesn't take a whole lot of effort when the Arrowsmith castle is being haunted by the ghosts of Muriel and her lover.

Nightmare Castle does a great job of setting forth a dark atmosphere, and some surprisingly decent acting from the cast (for a B-Movie). Most people gearing to watch this film are probably drawn to it because of the lead actress, Barbara Steele, who is somewhat a star in the B-movie genre and plays dual roles in this film as Muriel and her step-sister Jenny. Frankly I wasn't too fascinated by Steele's performance or looks, it was co-star Helga Line that really held my attention. Bluntly put this film could have consisted of a constant shot of Line glaring into the camera with her utterly exotic face and I would have been glued. It baffles me how someone as drop dead gorgeous and quite talented, just in terms of physical acting, could be limited to a career in mediocre horror films, Line could have easily been a Hollywood starlet in the 60's.

Overall, I was quite pleased with Nightmare Castle, while at times the story is a little full of holes, the film eventually gets around to explaining everything in it's own time. There are quite a few twists that pop up throughout the story that might not be surprising, but are still often well placed. And since this is originally a Spanish film the dialogue has been dubbed, which is actually done quite well compared to similar films I have seen. But really, I think the performance, and quite frankly the presence of the lovely Helga Line made this film click with me, ultimately prompting me to queue up some of her other films in hopes of seeing more of her. In the end, Nightmare Castle is worth the view for fans of Barbara Steele, or Helga Line, or even curious viewers. Frankly I had never heard of either actress prior to viewing this and am now a sold fan of Miss Line, so check it out.


3 comments:

  1. Hey, thanks for reading my blog! I'll keep an eye on yours to see what you think of future "horror classics."

    Honestly, it's been long enough that I don't remember much about Helga Line's performance in Nightmare Castle, but I seem to recall thinking it was just typical for this type of film. And I thought the movie was pretty bad, but not the worst of the 50-movie DVD set.

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  2. Compared to the first three, I thought this wasn't too bad. But then again you have to take into consideration the quality of those. Everything I read about this film usually started or ended with, "if your a fan of Barbara Steele", which is why I was surprised that she really wasn't that great, Line just stood out to me and seemed to add a little more presence to the film, with about half the screen time. Maybe it was just her look, who knows, but I have rented some other films of hers so will see how those match up.

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