March 28th, 2011: Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel aka Castle of the Walking Dead aka Blood Demon

Cast and Crew:   Edgar Allan Poe (Story)

What It’s About: Count Regula (Christopher Lee) abducts twelve virgins and murders them in his castle, but when his thirteenth victim escapes,  he is arrested.  The authorities draw and quarter him for his crimes.  Years later, orphan Roger mont Elise (Lex Barker)receives an invitation to Castle Andomai with a promise that his inheritance, and origin, will be revealed-signed by none other than Count Regula.  Roger sets off for the castle and picks up a hitchhiking priest (Vladimir Medar).  On their way they rescue noblewoman Lilian von Brabant (Karin Dor) and her maid Babette (Christiane Rucker) from highwaymen.  Brabant is also on her way to Castle Andomai, so she joins Roger on his trip.  They soon learn that all is not what it seems…

Why Watch it Today?: Robert–François Damiens was drawn and quartered today in 1757, the last Frenchman to suffer the horrific punishment.   For those not in the know, you can read more here. Castle of the Walking Dead is an odd film, a German entry in the 1960s Gothic horror cycle that draws upon Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum for just one scene, and fills out the rest with elements borrowed from Mario Bava’s superb Black Sunday aka The Mask of Satan and Roger Corman’s Poe films.  Director Harald Reinl, known more for German produced Westerns and films featuring Fritz Lang’s mastermind character Dr. Mabuse, delivers some great atmospheric moments, a good pace and likable heroes, not always the case in films of this nature.

Alternate TitlesBlood of the Virgins, Pendulum, The Snake Pit, The Snake Pit and the Pendulum, The Torture Room, The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism, and Torture Chamber

Where to Get It:  Netflix or Amazon

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