Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
Italy/West Germany, 1972. Euro America Produzioni Cinematografiche, Dieter Geissler Filmproduktion. Story and Screenplay by Vincent Fotre, adapted for the screen by William A. Bairn. Cinematography by Mario Bava. Produced by Alfredo Leone. Music by Les Baxter, Stelvio Cipriani. Production Design by Enzo Bulgarelli. Film Editing by Carlo Reali.
Antonio Cantafora shows up in Austria to find out more about his family background, particularly interested in the legend of his horrible ancestor known as “Baron Blood” thanks to the horrible murders he committed in his dark and mysterious castle. That property is now a historic site curated by the beautiful Elke Sommer, who takes a fancy to the new arrival and complies when he wants to recite an incantation that is supposed to bring the Baron back to life and complete the curse put upon him centuries earlier by a vengeful witch. They think they’re just dabbling in an old superstition, but the same night that they have their fun there is suddenly a vicious murderer wandering the grounds just as a wheelchair-bound, older gentleman (Joseph Cotten, top billed despite not showing up until 45 minutes into the film) takes over ownership of the property. Director Mario Bava’s talent for exquisite lighting never failed him and this one is no exception, but it’s a shame that the film isn’t a better time to experience. It’s rare that the horror movies from this era are actually scary, even in their time they more delightful indulgences than actually causes for terror, but this one meanders too much to provide the kind of joyful macabre fun that you get from Black Sunday, plus it doesn’t help that Sommer is really not good at female victim screaming.