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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Nightmare Castle DVD Review: A Risk Worth Taking!

Severin films once again brings us more Italian classics with the Gothic horror film Nightmare Castle. It stars horror scream queen Barbara Steele, but perhaps even more interesting than the film itself, is the history behind the release of this movie and why it is important you support this Severin release.

Nightmare Castle is actually a well known horror film because it often played on American Television. The downside to this is that at some point it fell into the public domain (it no longer is). The problem with this is that censored and cropped TV prints have circulated on VHS and DVD for years. The risk of taking a title such as this that has been so heavily bootlegged is one few companies are willing to do these days. It's a big risk and one that I have to say was worth taking for Severin and for consumers wanting to seek out an enjoyable Italian Gothic horror film.

The film deals with the greed of a man and the steps he will take to take what is not rightfully his, even if it involves murder and driving his new wife insane. Barbara Steel actually play's the dual role of twin sisters. One the deceased spouse of Stephen Arrowsmith, and the other who is the now current spouse of the Evil Doctor. It's a movie that borrows a lot from other sources (and which the director freely admits too), but for fans of Italian Gothic horror you don't need to reinvent the wheel make a good movie.

The video is anamorphiclly enhanced for for widescreen at it's original aspect ratio of 1:66:1. There is some print damage and splices, but they are more the exception than the rule. Otherwise the crisp black and white picture blows all the public domain copies out of the water like a nuclear torpedo! The audio is standard English Mono and is clear and easy to understand.

In terms of extras Severin has really gone all out. Director Mario Caiano and his adorable pets give us a great 15 minute interview that talks about the making of the movie and is very informative, giving discussions of the lighting used to give the film it's creepy aura. Even more there is a 30 minute interview with actress Barbara Steele in which she discusses her early career, her deserting Elvis and how she got into Italian films.

In short Severin has rescued for the abyss of the "Public Domain" a Italian Gothic horror that fans will enjoy and extras that will make even casual fans of the movie want to pick this disc up. I can't wait to start see what Severin will be doing with Blu-ray.


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