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Lady Frankenstein/Nightmare Castle
Lady Frankenstein/Nightmare Castle
Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
2003     2hr 54min


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Movie Details

Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Sub-Genres: Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Studio: Tgg Direct
Format: DVD
DVD Release Date: 01/01/2003
Release Year: 2003
Run Time: 2hr 54min
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 1

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Movie Reviews

A Rosalba Neri and Barbara Steele Double Feature
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 12/31/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"This DVD offers up a pair of continental European horror films where the hook is the sexuality of the leading ladies, there is the ususal mad scientist stuff going on in the respective laboratories, and the payoff is plenty of blood and gore. That is because these films are from that brief period when European filmmakers in the horror genre were a bit ahead of those in the states when it game to sex and violence. Neither film is a classic and I think "Lady Frankenstein" is clearly the better of the two, but each has its moments and they make for a decent double-feature if you have plenty of popcorn on hand.

The title character in "Lady Frankenstein" ("La Figlia di Frankenstein") turns out to be the daughter of the mad scientist and not his wife. Baron Frankenstein (Joseph Cotton) has been trying unsuccessfully for two decades to bring dead tissue to life. Using the corpse of a recently hung man as his test subject (note the interesting place they pick to hang the guy), the Baron finally succeeds. But there is something wrong with the brain and the monster kills the Baron and goes off to wreck more havoc on the countryside. Now that she is in control of the laboratory, having watched her father work since she was a little girl and having graduated medical school herself, the Baron's daughter Tania (Rosalba Neri, a.k.a. Sara Bay), wants revenge. However, Lady Frankenstein wants to do more than fight fire with fire.

Her plan is to take the brain of Dr. Charles Marshall (Paul Müller), her father's old lab assistant and the man who loves her, and put it into the hulking body of Thomas (Paul Whiteman), a manservant who is mentally retarded, so that she can have both brains and brawn. The plan is that this new creation will get revenge by killing the first creation, and then return to Tania's bedroom to find other ways of making her really, really happy. Meanwhile, Captain Harris (Mickey Hargitay) is investigating the Baron's death (Tantia makes up a story about a robber) and spouting interesting lines of dialogue to the suspects. It also turns out that Tania is not the only one seeking revenge. The original monster is going after the grave robbers, so there is a constant body count in this one. Actually it is not the dead people but the naked people who count more in this one, especially the quaint European custom of the man staying fully clothed while the women is totally naked.

Director Mel Welles (a.k.a. Ernst R. von Theumer) creates an appropriately gothic looking horror film. However, the story is an uneven mix of interesting ideas (e.g., chemical batteries are better that lightning for reanimating dead tissue) and sundry plot holes (e.g., how Marshall's brain finally puts two and two together). Simply in terms of Eurotrash this is an above average example of the genre, in terms of both the story and the acting in addition to the bodies. Then again, as good as Neri looks (as long as you are not watching her eyes dart back and forth when she is listening to others speak) that is about how bad the monster (the first one) looks. Overall, the ending is the weakest part of "Lady Frankenstein," but that it is actually a plus because normally it is the set up that has you rolling your eyes. That is once you put your eyes back in your head, because when you cast Rosalba Neri as the lead character you are clearly deemphasizing the horror aspects of this particular horror film in favor of other attributes.

"Nightmare Castle" (Originally "Amanti D'oltretomba," but a.k.a. "Night of the Doomed," "The Faceless Monsters," and "Lovers From Beyond the Tomb") begins with Dr. Arrowsmith (Paul Müller), discovering his wife, Muriel (Barbara Steele), in the arms of her lover, David (Rik Battaglia). There is a lesson to be learned here regarding trying to make out in secret in a greenhouse, but it is too late for thse two because the doctor decides to torture and then electrocute them to death as part of his scientific experiments. Then he drains their blood from their corpses, throws their hearts into an urn, and injects the blood into Solange (Helga Line), his loyal but ancient servant. She was Arrowsmith's lover in the good old days and the blood transforms her back into a beautiful woman.

Then Arrowsmith finds out he has made one little mistake. It seems that according to her will his wife's fortune goes not to him but to Jenny (Barbara Steele in a blonde wig this time). Fortunately, Jenny is a bit off of her rocker, so Arrowsmith decides to marry her so that he can then drive her mad by giving her hallucinogenic drugs so he can finally get his hands on that inheritance. However, Derek Joyce (Lawrence Clift), Jenny's doctor, stands in the way of the plan working. Then Jenny starts having strange dreams about murders in the greenhouse, Joyce discovers the two hearts in the urn, and Solange needs another blood transfusion. How ever will it all end?

The story is a hodge-podge of more familiar and better told tales from that period. Steele already played both the good and the evil girl in her best known film, "Black Sunday," you can name your haunted house movie where past crimes are remembered, and if you want to try and take the high road you can see some parallels with "Rebecca." Besides, the film is not only in unglorious black & white, it looks like it was shot on videotape (think "Dark Shadows" if it had been on television in the 1950s. Director Mario Caiano does nothing here to impress you and once you get past the initial sadistic torturing of the lovers if you were expecting the film to take advantage of Steele's looks you would be sadly mistaken."