Danza macabra (1964)

Italy, France, 1964
87m, 7976 feet/2431 metres
35mm film, black and white
mono, Italian

An Italian/French horror film directed by Antonio Margheriti using the pseudonym Anthony M. Dawson, and an uncredited Sergio Corbucci.

Plot Summary

Writer Edgar Allan Poe accepts a challenge to spend a night alone in a supposedly haunted castle on All Soul’s Eve. But as the night wears on, he’s visited by the vengeful ghosts of people who have been killed in the castle, all of them needing Poe’s blood to stay alive once the dawn breaks.

Credits

* = uncredited

Crew
Director: Anthony M. Dawson [real name: Antonio Margheriti]; Sergio Corbucci *
Cosmopolis Films and Les Films Marbeuf present [French version only]; Vulsinia Film, Ulysse Productions, Giovanni Addessi Produzione Cinematografica
General Organiser: Giovanni Addessi
Producers: Franco Belotti, Walter Zarghetta
US Version Producers Producers: Frank Belty [real name: Leo Lax], Walter Sarah [real name: Marco Vicario]
Screenplay: Gordon Wilson Jr [real name: Sergio Corbucci], Jean Grimaud [real name: Giovanni Grimaldi]
Story: Danse Macabre by Edgar Allan Poe
Assistant Director: Roger Drake [real name: Ruggero Deodato]
Script Supervisor: Eva Koltay
Director of Photography: Richard Kramer [real name: Riccardo Pallottini]
Editor: Otel Langhel [real name: Otello Colangeli]
Music: Ritz Ortolani [real name: Riz Ortolani]
English Version: Titra
Special Effects: E. Catalucci [real name: Enrico Catalucci]
Art Director: Walter Scott [real name: Ottavio Scotti]
Set Decorator: Ennio Michettoni
Production Team: Ralph Zucker *

Cast
Barbara Steele (Elizabeth Blackwood)
Georges Rivière (Alan Foster)
Margrete Robsahm [real name: Margarete Robsahm] (Julia)
Henry Kruger [real name: Arturo Dominici] (Dr Carmus)
Montgomery Glenn [real name: Silvano Tranquilli] (Edgar Allan Poe)
Sylvia Sorent [real name: Silvia Sorrente] (Elsi)
Phil Karson [real name: Giovanni Cianfriglia]
Ben Steffen [real name: Benito Stefanelli]
Johnny Walters
Merry Powers
John Peters
Raul H. Newman [real name: Umberto Raho]
Salvo Randone

Alternative Titles

Castle of Blood – UK, USA
The Castle of Terror
– USA
Coffin of Terror
Danse macabre
– France
Dimensions in Death
Edgar Allan Poe’s Castle of Blood
The Long Night of Terror
La lunga notte de terrore
Terrore
Tombs of Horror
Tombs of Terror

Remake
Nella stretta morsa del ragno (1970)

Press

1967
The Daily Cinema no.9401 (28 July 1967) p.8
Long-drawn-out but effectively eery ghost story; nicely tinged with horror and hammed-up in style; Reliable pop “shocker” for the addicts. […] It creates a strikingly creepy atmosphere in the gaunt old castle and peoples it with odd characters who only make sense as the theme of the film emerges: the sensual rebirth for one night a year of victims who died violent deaths. […] [T]he frights are genuine, the touch or irony at the end […] is satisfying and the music (though hardly apt) makes a liltingly memorable theme. Obviously, it’s just the stuff to please the horror fans. – from a review by M.H. [Margaret Hinxman]

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.34 no.404 (September 1967) p.139
The effectiveness of Riccardo Pallottini’s camerawork is vitiated – partly by Ortolani’s cliche-ridden score which makes every surprise twist predictable, partly by the heroine’s ludicrous Charles Addams make-up, partly by the wooden quality of the dubbed dialogue (“I’m very attracted to you, my dear”). Essentially though, the film’s weakness lies in its plot: Poe chose to leave this story unpublished during his lifetime, and one can’t help feeling that his choice was a sensible one” – from an uncredited review

References

Periodicals

  • Cahiers du Cinéma no.166/167 (May/June 1965) p.133 – review
  • La Cinématographie Française no.2115 (22 May 1965) p.18 – review
  • The Daily Cinema no.9401 (28 July 1967) p.8 – review (by M.H. [Margaret Hinxman])
  • Fangoria no.220 (March 2003) p.49 – illustrated DVD review (DVD Dungeon: Castle of Blood by Matthew Kiernan)
  • Monthly Film Bulletin vol.34 no.404 (September 1967) p.139 – credits, synopsis, review

Books

  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.160
  • Cinematic Vampires by John L. Flynn pp.136
  • Creature Features Movie Guide Strikes Again by John Stanley p.67 – credits, review
  • The Edgar Allan Poe Scrapbook edited by Peter Haining pp.190-191 – essay (The Spectres of Edgar Allan Poe by Ron Haydock)
  • Euro Gothic: Classics of Continental Horror Cinema by Jonathan Rigby pp.127-29, 130, 132, 139, 146, 152, 165, 190
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.62
  • The Illustrated Vampire Movie Guide by Stephen Jones p.45 – credits, review (by Stephen Jones)
  • Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957-1969 by Roberto Curti pp.109-114
  • Italian Horror Films of the 1960s: A Critical Catalog of 62 Chillers by Lawrence McCallum pp.55-61 – illustrated credits, synopsis, review
  • Kine Yearbook 1969 p.110
  • The Poe Cinema: A Critical Filmography by Don G. Smith pp.158-162
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.58 – credits
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.95-96
  • Spaghetti Nightmares pp.164-165 – credits