Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|The Virgin of Nuremberg|
Actors: Rossana Podestà, Georges Rivière, Christopher Lee, Jim Dolen, Anny Degli Uberti
Director: Antonio Margheriti
Genres: Indie & Art House, Horror
Directed by Antonio Margheriti, one of Italy?s greatest action/horror specialists (Cannibal Apocalypse, Castle of Blood, Wild Wild Planet). When a husband leaves his bride alone in his castle, a series of gruesome slayings... more »
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LITTLE SEEN EURO-SHOCKER LOOKS GOOD....
Mark Norvell | HOUSTON | 04/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"AKA "Horror Castle", this rarely seen German-Italian horror film has been handled well and is a find for collectors. Dubbed in English and directed by Antonio Margheriti ("Castle of Blood"), it concerns a new bride (Rosana Podesta) discovering the eyeless corpse of a woman inside an ancient iron maiden (the "Virgin") in her husband's ancestral castle on the Rhine. Told by everyone it was just a nightmare, she suspects something more and sure enough discovers Christopher Lee (as Erik), a war disfigured handyman, acting suspiciously around some antique surgical instruments. Later, the sinister housekeeper balefully informs her that an infamous ancestor, "the Punisher", is back and bent on torturing and killing "shameless women". There is a mysterious costumed and hooded figure running around the castle and Podesta witnesses him placing a rat cage (with a very hungry and large rat) over a screaming woman's face. Meanwhile her husband is acting suspicious and a strange American who may be an FBI agent is lurking around the estate. It won't be long before Podesta is next on the killer's torture list. Nicely done in color and a very good print, "Virgin" is a lurid and creepy shocker with a couple of truly grisly scenes...the rat cage sequence being one of them. Podesta runs around in negligees discovering torture equipment, skulls and other goodies. The soundtrack features a Euro-jazz score with the scary music rising to crescendos at every twist and turn. It's no work of art, but a pretty good chiller with some good photography and atmospheric interiors (and exteriors) of the castle. I thought it could've used some more ghoulishness and less running around but as it is it isn't bad and worth checking out. Euro-horror lovers should like it."
Slow moving gothic horror
Jeffrey Leach | Omaha, NE USA | 08/22/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a huge fan of Italian director Antonio Margheriti, aka Anthony M. Dawson, even though I haven't seen very many of his films. How can this be? Because the ones I have seen revel in low budget schlocky glory. Margheriti is responsible for such classics as "Alien From the Deep," the infamous "Cannibal Apocalypse," and "Killer Fish." He's also the man who brought us several highly entertaining shoot 'em up action/war films, films like "Indio," "Indio 2," "Tiger Joe," "The Last Hunter," "The Hunters of the Golden Cobra," and "Ark of the Sun God." If you need any additional evidence pointing to Dawson's relevancy in the realm of low budget cult classics, he directed the catastrophic "Yor, the Hunter from the Future." If you've seen this disaster, you know how important Margheriti is to lovers of cheese cinema! I'm dying to see all of these films--and a few others--arrive on DVD. Until then, I'm contenting myself with the precious few of this director's earlier movies that have come out, or are soon to come out, on disc: "Castle of Blood," "The Virgin of Nuremberg," and "Seven Deaths in the Cat's Eye" among them. Let's start with "The Virgin of Nuremberg," shall we?
The first thing you'll notice about "The Virgin of Nuremberg" is its peppy jazz score. It's entirely inappropriate for the proceedings, but nonetheless interesting, fun, and worth a listen. The film takes place in Germany many years after the end of the Second World War, and involves newlywed Mary Hunter (Rossana Podesta) settling into her new husband Max's (George Riviere) digs. Most young couples just starting out would move into a small apartment or perhaps a tiny house. Not the Hunters. Max is wealthy, the heir to a fine inheritance consisting of a brooding castle surrounded by sumptuous grounds. The centerpiece of this real estate consists of a massive central room in which dozens of torture implements vie for attention. Yeah, torture instruments! We've got dozens of sharp swords and axes hanging all over the place, glass cases with nasty looking stuff in them, the suit of a medieval torturer hanging nearby, and the Virgin herself presiding over the chamber. The Virgin, you see, is actually an iron maiden that was once used by Max's ancestors to torture the local villagers. But that was way back in the Dark Ages, long before World War II and long before Mary strolled into the castle. Now the stuff just sits around because...well, because if it wasn't there we wouldn't have a plot.
Sure enough, someone is putting on the torture suit and stalking about the castle. Moreover, a few local gals fall prey to this very same torturer when he decides to take his activities out on the town. Who could possibly engage in this sort of despicable behavior as late as the 1960s? Is it Max Hunter? He's certainly a strange banana, that's for sure. Max acts weird and wants his wife to stay firmly within the confines of the castle. His disappearance for a significant portion of the film, ostensibly on some sort of trip, certainly makes him a suspect in the unfolding crimes. Then there is Erich (Christopher Lee!), a taciturn German gent who acts as a personal manservant to Max. This guy is downright ominous, definitely someone that could be murderer material, and his penchant for sharp knives and popping up suddenly in every room of the castle reeks of suspicion. Then there's the silver haired bloke that keeps confronting Mary on the grounds of the estate. He claims he's merely a traveler touring the great castles of Europe, but his fascination with our heroine and her newfound status as Hunter's wife raises a few eyebrows. So who is carrying out the gruesome crimes? The answer comes in time, and it's a bit of a shocker when the film reveals all.
"The Virgin of Nuremberg" is an excellent example of gothic horror. Margheriti had some experience in this genre before making this film. His "Castle of Blood," for instance, is a prime example of gothic horror that fans often compare to Mario Bava's "Black Sunday." "Nuremberg" differs from these two films in that Margheriti shot the picture in color, ramped up the gore somewhat, and employed Riz Ortolani to give it that odd musical score. Colors fairly leap off the screen here, and an eye gouging and nasty nasal atrocity coupled with the grisly unmasking of the murderer gives the movie a bloody punch it desperately needs. If it weren't for the vivid color scheme and the carnage, "Nuremberg" would drag like a lead weight. That's because for the vast majority of the film's runtime, nothing much happens. I challenge you not to look at your watch after seeing Mary Hunter run about the castle in a dither for the umpteenth time. Moreover, the movie doesn't adequately utilize the talents of Christopher Lee. Sure, his character is sinister and crucial to the plot, but it's pretty obvious nearly any actor could play this part with as much effectiveness. Aside from the violence and the look of the movie, I'd have to say "The Virgin of Nuremberg" isn't anything special. It's worth watching once, certainly, but that's about it.
Shriek Show, a label of Media Blasters, gives Margheriti's film a decent treatment. The picture transfer is nice, not perfect, occasionally marred by slight imperfections. Extras include a photo and poster gallery and a trailers for the films "Faceless," "Flesh for the Beast," "The Virgin of Nuremberg," and "Flesh Eater." I'll give "Virgin" three stars; the visual look on display here and the conclusion to the film helps counterbalance the picture's deficits, but just barely. Christopher Lee completists will want to add this to their collection, but all others should definitely rent first.
Shocking fright fest
Mark Norvell | 03/24/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an excellent print of a good 60's Italian horror film. Previously hard to find on VHS, this fine presentation does the movie justice. The story concerns a mysterious torturer in a European castle. The acting is just fair, but it is sincere, and Christopher Lee is always a plus. Colors and make-up are very good, with just enough action to keep one interested. However, be forwarned that although this was released in the 60's, there are a couple of scenes that are particularly violent. The Nazi subtext fits the story well. Not a great movie by any means, but by today's horror movie standards, it's "Citizen Cane". Also known as "Horror Castle"."
Beautifully lit and photographed.
Brent Carleton | 07/15/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
This thriller boasts an excellent story, some masterful lighting and cinematography, effective use of color, not to mention a distinguished old castle, as beautiful without as it is within.
The musical score, while big band and jazz oriented, actually works very well, inasmuch as it's quite unusual and unexpected for this type of story.
Christopher Lee has one of his most distinctive roles from the 1960's, and perhaps most important of all--the film is scary!
Note that many of the props, including Rossanna Podesta's bedstead, were also used in Bava's "Black Sabbath," as well as in Freda's "Terror of Dr. Hichcock."
Really a sumptuous looking film.