Wednesday, February 16

Castle of the Walking Dead (Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel) (1967) - 1985 Saturn Productions VHS

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This gothic horror potboiler hailing from Germany was a mainstay back in the VHS era. Regal Home Video, Interglobal Home Video, Saturn Productions, and Magnum Entertainment (as Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism) each released their own tape throughout the '80s. While some the imagery like body parts protuding from trees along a stagecoach path is spooky, Christopher Lee seems very disinterested as a resurrected madman in need of one last virginal sacrifice to become completely human again.

This presentation is extensively edited for some unknown reason. The IMDB lists a runtime of 85 minutes and this tape barely runs over just an hour. The opening is absolutely butchered, as evidenced by the uncut start seen here compared to the Saturn start that completely chops out Lee getting fitted with the mask. Subsequently, Lee doesn't appear until forty-five minutes into this cut version. Print damage abounds, the print is yellowed, and sometimes there's even sprocket holes visible rolling by to the right of the picture. Nonetheless, Saturn Productions' SP-speed clamshell is much rarer than the cheap distributor's easily found, later regular cardboard slipcover.

1 comment:

Paul Cooke aka Buckaroobanzai said...

Great Film this. I actually just watched this week. Purchased on DVD. The version I have seems to be intact. Widescreen presentation & has all the opening sequence with Christopher Lee. The movie plays at about 80mins though not the 85mins IMDB states !?.
Watched under the title of The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism. This really needs a quality release. Absolutely cracking Euro Horror movie.

My review may be seen here:

http://movietwitterblog.blogspot.com/2011/02/euro-horror-at-its-finest.html

...do you dare tread upon the staircase?
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