Castle of the Living Dead (1964)

Castle of the Living Dead (1964)

“Some will live and some will die, before tomorrow’s sun is high.”

In 19th century France, a traveling circus is invited to the castle of Count Drago (Christopher Lee), who has a keen interest in mummifying animals of all kinds — including, apparently, humans.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Carnivals and Circuses
  • Christopher Lee Films
  • Donald Sutherland Films
  • Horror Films
  • Mummies
  • Old Dark House

This semi-dubbed Italian-French horror flick is notable for including uncredited early directorial work by Michael Reeves, and for featuring Donald Sutherland in his screen debut (playing both a police officer and an old hag).

Unfortunately, while the film is high on gothic atmosphere, it’s slow on plot and pacing; there’s one central premise to the storyline — who will Lee and his henchman (Mirko Valentin) capture next? — and we simply watch this play out in scene after scene, in spooky settings. In terms of the performances, leading actress Gaia Germani (who often reminds one of Audrey Hepburn) is simply perpetually frightened (for good reason):

Sutherland is nearly unrecognizable in his female guise; and it’s refreshing to see a dwarf (Anthony Martin) emerging as a hero of the situation.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Atmospheric sets and cinematography

Must See?
No; you can skip this one unless you’re curious.

One thought on “Castle of the Living Dead (1964)

  1. First viewing. Not must-see; ultimately tiresome.

    Bargain-basement ‘horror’ that deserves a little credit for establishing / maintaining atmosphere appropriate for the genre… and for not being laughably bad. … But it’s still bad.

    Poor Christopher Lee. It’s like he found himself in an amateur summer stock production.

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