Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Black Castle (1952)

Director: Nathan Juran

Starring: Richard Greene, Boris Karloff, Stephen McNally, Rita Corday, Lon Chaney Jr., John Hoyt, Michael Pate, Nancy Valentine, Tudor Owen, Henry Corden, Otto Waldis

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Terror stalks its turreted battlements...and HORROR crawls the catacombs beneath!

Plot: The plot is motivated by a brace of 18th-century aristocrats, Beckett (Greene) and Count Von Bruno (McNally). Invited to visit Von Bruno's castle in Austria, Beckett accepts, hoping in this way to prove that the count is responsible for the deaths of two of his friends. The sadistic Von Bruno toys with his guest, intending to subject Beckett to a horrible demise at the first opportunity. When Beckett meets the Count's reluctant bride Elga (Corday), he vows to free her from the accursed castle. Karloff has a smallish role as the Count's humanitarian physician, while his fellow horror-star Lon Chaney Jr. does his usual as a mute but deadly manservant.

My rating: 7/10

Will I watch it again? Yes.

#12 on the Black History Month Project 2012

When you have a title like that with Karloff given second billing two things come to mind – It’s a horror picture and Karloff has a lot of screen time. I was wrong to assume both but I couldn’t help it. I’m conditioned that way since Karloff starred in a number of horror pictures with the world ‘black’ in the title. I applaude the marketing department on this one. As an adventure film it’s pretty good. I dug it. Richard Greene proves more than adequate as the lead but for me it was Stephen McNally as the evil, eye-patch wearin’ mofo, Count Karl von Bruno that stole the show. He played a right bastard and a great villain.

Despite Karloff having an awful lot of screen time (there are HUGE chunks where he’s absent) he makes great use of it. I recommend this picture for him alone but there’s more to enjoy while you’re here. The look of the picture was terrific. I really dug the castle. You’d better because most of the picture is within those walls. It’s a good adventure flick with some horror-lite bits and it’s a great one to throw on during one of those lazy, rainy Saturday/Sunday afternoons.

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