Castle Of Blood

Castle Of Blood (1964)
Synapse Films
Cast: Barbara Steele, Georges Rivière, Margarete Robsahm
Extras: Alternate Credits, Trailer, Photo Gallery

’Castle Of Blood’, which is maybe better known as ’Danse Macabre, ’ is a true gem for aficionados of classic black and white horror movies. It is an extremely atmospheric haunted house movie featuring great characters and horror queen Barbara Steele.

The movie tells the fictional story of writer Edgar Allan Poe visiting London where he offers a bet to Alan Foster, a British journalist, to spend the night in a haunted castle. Once the doors close behind the journalist and the abandoned place begins to have its own presence, he begins to fear that Poe’s stories of the macabre may not all be fiction. As a matter of fact, he begins meeting a series of people in the castle who claim to be dead – or undead for that matter – cursed to replay their demises over and over again. Soon they try to kill the journalist for his blood to break the curse, but one of the ghostly apparitions – played by Barbara Steele – attempts to help his escape.

Synapse Films is bringing ’Castle Of Blood’ to beautiful new life on this DVD in a transfer that even includes scenes previously removed from the US version, adding about 2 minutes of running length to the feature in their original French language – subtitled of course.
The anamorphic widescreen presentation itself is wonderful. Although a few blemishes, scratches and tears are evident in the film, the overall quality of this DVD transfer was clearly exceeding my expectations. Grain is in check and most importantly the contrast and balance of the film is perfect, creating a black and white image that contains very good definition and gradients. The compression is without flaws and no distracting artifacts are visible.

The disc contains the English mono dub of the film with the few additional scenes in subtitled French. The original French language track has also been included, though the film is not subtitled other than the newly additional scenes, which is a bit disappointing.

As extras the DVD contains the US opening credits for the movie as well as the US trailer of the movie – both in anamorphic widescreen. A photo gallery with 30 still photographs from the movie is also included. As another extra the DVD contains liner notes by Tim Lucas and once again he is extremely thorough and insightful in his elaboration of the movie.

Synapse has been going out there for fans of classic horror films to make sure ’Castle Of Blood’ looks as good as can be on this release. It is a beautiful release that pays proper tribute to this atmospheric and stylish film that has been eagerly awaited. If you’re a fan of Mario Bava’s work or Roger Corman’s 60s Poe adaptations, ’Castle Of Blood’ is a great film to also check out.