Castle of Blood (aka Danse Macabre) DVD Review

Written by Peter West

DVD released by Synapse Films

Directed by Antonio Margheriti
Written by Sergio Corbucci & Giovanni Grimaldi of Edgar Allan Poe's story Danse Macabre
1964, Region 1 (NTSC), 89 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on October 22nd, 2002

Starring:br />Barbara Steele as Elisabeth Blackwood
Georges Rivière as Alan Foster
Margarete Robsahm as Julia
Arturo Dominici as Dr. Carmus (as Henry Kruger)
Silvano Tranquilli as Edgar Allan Poe (as Montgomery Glenn)
Silvia Sorrente as Elsi (as Sylvia Sorrent)


While visiting England, Edgar Allan Poe meets a enthusiastic journalist Alan Foster (Georges Rivière), who asks for a interview. The interview is granted when Poe's companion Sir Thomas Blackwood make a wager with Foster that he can not survive a night in his castle. Upon arriving at the castle Foster meets Blackwood's sister Elisabeth who resides at the castle. Elisabeth claims every year her brother sends visitors for her. The movies unfolds into a desperate struggle for survival as other residents of the castle appear to Foster and he finds the truth behind the castle's infamous reputation.

Filmed in the early sixties during Barabara Steele's heyday as the leading horror star in Italy, Castle of Blood is a fantastic Poe adaptation! Music and lighting add a surreal spookie atmosphere that can easily rival today's movies.


This movie really brought me back to the many Saturday afternoons as a kid when I would go to the Embassy Theater in Waltham, Massachusetts to see the latest scary or sci-fi flick. It's really a shame that the vehicles to present movies of this type (namely local small theaters) no longer exist! The lighting along with the eerie soundtrack create a tense atmosphere as the movie comes to it's shocking conclusion! Barbara Steele's perfomance is the highlight of the movie, demonstrating a stunning sexuality during very conservative times. I highly recommend this movie!

Video and Audio:

Castle of Blood in order to be presented in the most complete version since the film was released in 1964 had to be assembled from existing films elements of varing quality. However even the weakest elements used do not detract from the enjoyment of watching this great film. If not for the scenes that were deleted in the US version (these are subtitled because a english language track was never created) being included several plot twists would not be clear. Overall the quality is worthy of Synapse's reputation for superior work!

Castle of Blood is presented in a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack. The sound is clear and really enhances the macarbe atmosphere of the film.

Special Features:

  • Uncensored International Verision Containing Scenes Removed from the Original U.S. Theatrical Release
  • Brand New Digital 1.78:1 Transfer Enhanced for Widescreen Televisions.
  • In English and French with New English Subtitles for the Newly Restored French Language Footage.
  • Original U.S. Castle of Blood Theatrical Trailer
  • Original U.S. Castle of Blood Opening Credit Sequence
  • Still Gallery
  • Liner Notes from Film Historian, Tim Lucas

While not as jam packed as some other Synapse releases, they are sufficient. A wise choice was made to use the European opening credits! When compared to what you would normally find extra's wise on a film of this era, Synapse has done well!


Movie: 4 Stars
Video: 4 Stars
Audio: 3 stars
Features: 3 stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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