Mr. Sardonicus (1961)

USA, 1960
35mm film, black and white, 1.85:1
mono (RCA Sound Recording), English

An American horror film directed by William Castle.


Surgeon Sir Robert Cargrave is called to the aid of the Baron Sardonicus who hides behind a mask after his face was horribly contorted by fear.


* = uncredited

Directed by: William Castle
© MCMLXI [1961] by William Castle Productions
Produced by: William Castle
Associate Producer: Dona Holloway
Assistant Director: R. Robert Rosenbaum
Screen Play by: Ray Russell from his novella
Director of Photography: Burnett Guffey
Film Editor: Edwin Bryant
Music: Von Dexter
Sound Supervisor: Charles J. Rice
Sound: James Flaster
Make-up Supervision: Ben Lane
Art Director: Cary Odell
Set Decorator: James M. Crowe

Oscar Homolka [Krull]
Ronald Lewis [Sir Robert Cargrave]
Audrey Dalton [Maude Sardonicus]
Guy Rolfe as Sardonicus
Vadimir Sokoloff [Marek’s father]
Erika Peters [Elenka]
Lorna Hanson [Anna]
William Castle [on-screen introduction] *
James Forrest [Wainwright] *
Tina Woodward [the disabled girl] *
Constance Cavendish [Mrs. Higgins] *
Mavis Neal [head nurse] *
Charles H. Radilac [station master] *
Albert D’Arno [gatekeeper] *
Annalena Lund [1st girl] *
Ilse Burkett [2nd girl] *
Franz Roehn [gravedigger] *
David Jantl [Janku] *

El Barón Sardonicus – Mexico
A Máscara do Horror – Brazil
Mr. Sardonicus – Denmark
Sardonicus – UK
O Sinistro Mr. Sardonicus – Portugal
Der Unheimliche Mr. Sardonicus – Austrian, West Germany


Extracts included in
Clive Barker: Raising Hell (2004)
Nightmares in Red, White and Blue: The Evolution of the American Horror Film (2009)
Spine Tingler! The William Castle Story (2007)
Sweets to the Sweet: The Candyman Mythos (2004)
Taking the Punishment Poll (2002)

Production Notes

Production began on 28 March 1961 1Variety 3 May 1961 p.28.



  • Alien Worlds no.14 (March 1965) pp.22-24 – illustrated review (Vision by J. Ramsey Campbell)
  • Castle of Frankenstein no.19 p.40
  • City Limits no.226 (31 January 1986) p.24 – note
  • The Daily Cinema no.9000 7 Dec 1964) p.5 – review
  • The Hollywood Reporter vol.167 no.18 (13 October 1961) p.3 – review
  • Kine Weekly no.2983 (3 December 1964) p.8 – review
  • Motion Picture Herald vol.225 no.3 (18 October 1961) p.308 – review
  • Shivers no.63 (March 1999) pp.18-21 – illustrated article (Keep smiling through by Jonathan Rigby)
  • Variety 5 April 1961 p.17 – credits (Hollywood production pulse)
  • Variety 3 May 1961 p.28 – credits (Hollywood production pulse)
  • Variety 25 October 1961 – credits, review


  • The Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Horror by Phil Hardy (ed.) p.144
  • The Columbia Checklist: The Feature Films, Cartoons, Serials and Short Subjects of Columbia Pictures, 1922-1988 by Len D. Martin p.220-221
  • Columbia Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1928-1982 by Michael R. Pitts pp.160-161
  • Feature Films, 1960-1969: A Filmography of English-language and Major Foreign-language United States Releases by Harris M. Lentz III p.295
  • Reference Guide to Fantastic Films by Walt Lee p.308 – credits
  • Sixties Shockers by Mark Clark and Bryan Senn pp.288-289
  • Step Right Up!… I’m Going to Scare the Pants Off America by William Castle pp.163-164