Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Euro Horror At Its Finest ...

The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism
aka Castle Of The Walking Dead

A grand guignol of Euro horror, circumspect cinema forlorn of the shackles of censorship of the time, resplendent in the kaleidoscopic cornucopia of vibrant colour, giving life to each wondrous frame. Without doubt this is a neglected classic of the horror genre.

Christopher Lee is perfectly cast in the role of a necromancer and murderer. He plays the role of Count Regula, a man of position, title and power over those around him. It is a time where noblemen rule the lands, but the poor are kindly and content. Count Regula usurps his position for self attainment in the belief of a life beyond death. In the dungeon chamber of his castle he murders twelve young virgin women, their blood vital to his insane lust for eternal life. In order to complete his nefarious plan he must however take the lives of thirteen. It is in the act of grooming the noble lady of the land that he comes undone.

Count Regula is ordered by the chief prosecutor to be drawn and quartered for his despicable acts. His face impaled by a steel spike lined mask of death the Count is marched to his place of execution. Placed in the town centre, with a crowd baying for his blood, he is strung out by all four limbs, tethered to four work horses, and torn apart !.

One generation on and the Count seeks vengeance upon the descendants of the two most responsible for his demise. The daughter of the noble lady, Baroness Lilian von Brabant (Karin Dor), and Roger von Marienberg (Lex Barker), the son of the prosecutor who ordered the death of Count Regula, both receive invitations to the castle of Regula. Their parental heritage is unknown to both, kept from them in order to protect from the heinous history that befell their family names. Both seek to unravel the mystery surrounding their pasts so travel the cursed road to Count Regula’s castle.

Baroness Lilian von Brabant has her maid Babette as a travelling companion. Roger von Marienberg has the companionship on the journey of a priest, who later turns out to be nothing more than a likeable rogue, garbed in the attire of a man of God in order to blag his way into the castle, believing that rich pickings may be had. The castle is far from giving up its trove however, as all soon come to learn !.

The entire film is lusciously shot, with glorious outdoor settings and applicably gothic interiors. Amongst the refineries of the finely bedecked film are many scenes deliciously reminiscent of an eerie pictorial rendering of Hans Christian Andersen’s. The sequence where both descendants travel in their separate horse and carriage, along the bumpy route to the castle, is the stuff of a nightmarish painting of Salvador Dali come to life. Haunting imagery of twisted trees, enshrouded by mist, their trunks and branches dressed with the lifeless forms of human bodies, their limbs separated and layered as if trinkets upon a Christmas tree. Panicked horse carriage driver whipping his steeds as the nigh time envelopes them, ever carrying them on towards the castle. Truly a stunning visual. Extenuated by shots of bodies being ridden over along the trail, believed to be just bumps in the road by its travellers, and heightened by the appearance of horse riders bedecked in all black robes, with hoods to hide their features, in flight to abduct the baroness. The finest example of Euro cinema in harmony with the very best that the period had to offer cinema goers, from the likes of master Italian movie auteur Mario Bava himself.

The four travellers all come together, albeit in different manner, at the castle of Count Regula. Greeted by Regula’s henchman and servant into a cornucopia of twisted regalia and malevolent draping. The catacombs of the castle are a hideous haven for rodents, spiders and scorpions, side by side with carcass masticating vultures. All the trappings of a twisted and torturous host under one roof, and its invited guests now entwined within its wicked walls.

Count Regula’s henchman has cunningly plotted the coming together of the descendants of his masters authors to his demise. He has followed his masters given orders for thirty five years to resurrect him at this time. Laying dormant within a see through coffin, his head and torso still separated from his limbs, laid out uniformly in readiness to become whole once again. The rising up of Count Regula is very well done, and similarly done in the best traditions of Count Dracula resurrecting, perhaps highly appropriate considering the presence of Christopher Lee in this role also.

With the writing of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit And The Pendulum as its pivotal theme of torture, the introduction of a mighty swinging blade, swooping down upon a later shackled Lex Barker, comes as no surprise, but is without doubt perhaps the finest showing of the lethal contraption taken from the descriptive page of the classic author.Other devilish devices and cruel contraptions are ladled out rapaciously, and the vision of the Count’s near naked victims bodies strewn over his devices of death is grisly indeed.

Former Tarzan lead hero Lex Barker must swing into action to stop Count Regula from attaining his goal, and save the beautiful maiden in the process. Superb stuff for certain then from a cast of meaningful characters, visuals to kiss the corneas of all viewing, and a cracking good gothic horror movie all round. Seek out The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism at the earliest possible moment.

The Torture Garden Of Dr. Sadism Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

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