Friday, April 16, 2010

DIE SCHLANGENGRUBE UND DAS PENDEL - Peter Thomas - "Castle Of The Swingin' Dead" (1967)

Well, the Cabrito is just starting to kick in, so I guess it's about time to get going with this one creepy ass movie with the enticing title, "Castle Of The Walking Dead!" I guess that title is kind of self-explanatory, but not quite, this film is actually based on Edgar Allen Poe's, "The Pit And The Pendulum!" Not to be confused with the 1961 Roger Corman and Vincent Price American version, this rendering comes from 1967 Germany and stars Lex Barker, Karin Dor, and Christopher Lee, and what I like about it the most is it has a Very cool and swingin' soundtrack by Top of The Line Dungeon composer Peter Thomas!!

Besides "Castle Of The Walking Dead," this film has had many incarnations over the years such as "The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism," "The Blood Demon" and "Blood Of The Virgins" just to name a few!

The whole dreary mess starts in the past with Christopher Lee as the very badly mannered Count Frederic Regula; a guy who is about to be forced to don the happy face mask with spikes on the inside because he's been really unplesant to a whole bunch of folks! He is kind of evil personified!! Part of the reason he's probably so pissed off, is because of his name, Regula. It always sounds like they are saying Regular and it makes you wonder where Ethyl is!

Here's a couple of good shots of what the inside and the outside of the mask look like. Spikes seem to be one of the prevailing themes in this film as you shall well see!

After they put the spiked happy face mask on him, they take Count Regula to to the village square where they draw and quarter him!

In fact, here is one of the drawings!!

Some 35 years later, Lex Barker as Roger Mont Elise is summoned to the area by a person unknown to him, a Count Frederic Regula!

Lex Barker wasn't informed that there was also a giant robot in town!!

I really truly hope this motley crowd of local denizens has a lot of makeup on, otherwise, this is one of the ugliest groups of people I've ever seen in my life!!

Lex is told how to get to Count Regula's castle, and it took me by surprise that first there were just random human body parts up in the trees, and after that was tree after tree of people who had been hanged. I fared a little better than The Coachman played by Dieter Eppler, he ends up having a heart attack just from the sight of all these horrors!

I really like the fact that they combined a gothic period piece with modern music, instead of some stoic Universal retread. It makes for a much more interesting film!!

Once they get to The Count's castle, there are spikes on almost every entrance and exit!

The castle is a nutzoid joint with wild paintings everywhere. I didn't take the time to research whether this is a real Hieronymus Bosch copy, or just done in a Boschlike style, but it's pretty obvious that this is a place where the sun don't shine!!

This sculpture looks like a three dimensional copy of one of the strange creatures in one of the wall murals, and is bonifide 100% Weirdsville!

Christiane Rücker as Babette finds herself in a highly compromised situation!

And if everything goes wrong, she's going to become another spike victim. As Lou would say, "Hey, Babette!!!!"

And whatever you do, don't forget about the Hall Of Skulls!! What a funhouse!!

This is Carl Lange as Count Regula's disturbing manservant Anatol! Anatol has been holding down the fort for the Boss for years. He is also dead, and always has what appears to be a neck brace on from when he got hanged. He was re-animated after death by some strange curse that can happen if you don't die immediately during the hanging! Anatol is my least favorite character in this film! He just bugs me!!

Back near the beginning of the film, during the ride in the coach, Lex had met up with the other major character in the story, fine actress Karin Dor as Baroness Lilian von Brabant. As it turns out, both Lillian and Roger were descendents of the people who had put Count Regula to death back in the day, and even though he was dead, he managed to hold a grudge against them for a long time! Some people just never get over stuff!!

12 virgins had to die in order to achieve Regula's goal of immortality, and the bodies are still lounging around!

Lex gets put in the pit!

Pretty obvious that the music is not the only thing swingin' in this film!!

Karin Dor treats us to a very nice demonstration of a classical Kreng!!! Karin also has the notoriety of being the first ever German Bond Girl, as she was Helga Brandt in Ian Fleming's "You Only Live Twice!"

Lex narrowly escapes getting cut in half as the pendulum is lowered just enough to barely cut through the ropes that were binding him, but without going deep enough to harm him! Whew!!

Another reason this is not your typical horror film is that "Die Schlangengrube Und Das Pendel" was directed by Dungeon champion Harald Reinl, known primarily for his fantastic crime and detective outings on Edgar Wallace and Jerry Cotton features! Well, looks like we're running out of time for now, but, Man, do we have some titles coming up in the future that will blow your mind, and that's a promise!


zillagord said...

Like sands through the hourglass, so go... the Lays of Our Dives.

Yeah, a crappy comment. But hey, at least I commented :)

Looking forward to the mindblowers.

prof. grewbeard said...

how did this film get to be part of the Chiller Carnival Of Blood-O-Rama-Lama-Ding-Dong?!? looks very classy! love the WTF? look on Chris' face!

Eegah!! and Tabonga! said...

Now that's a damn good question!!!

Christopher said...

They used to show a B&W copy of this on TV years ago.I'd never a know it was the same movie by the color pictures if it weren't for that name,Count REGULAR!

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