Dracula in the Castle of Blood

1971 [ITALIAN]


IMDb Rating 5.6 10 678

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Uploaded By: FREEMAN
September 23, 2021 at 03:15 AM


Michèle Mercier as Elisabeth Blackwood
Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allan Poe
Anthony Franciosa as Alan Foster
851.16 MB
Italian 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 32 min
P/S counting...

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Squonkamatic 9 / 10


I recently found myself an original Italian widescreen print of this film that is gorgeous, and helps explain some of the negative user comments about it. Nella stretta morsa del ragno, as I have been taught to call it, is more than just a technicolor revisitation of Antonio Marghetti's CASTLE OF BLOOD. The problem is that he tried to make it much too more -- to explore the period detail in particular -- and in doing so the focus of the film became muddled.

One of the aspects that made CASTLE OF BLOOD so remarkable was Marghetti's use of light and dark in such a calculated manner -- whenever Alan Foster strikes a match or lights a candle, it is an EVENT within the framework of the shot. In NELLA STRETTA, candles and matches become props to be carried around by characters to establish the sense of place & setting.

Marghetti's greatest miscalculation, though, was in lighting his sets to show off the rich, exquisite detail his larger budget could afford. The result is a series of events that look like they were filmed on a movie set, not a nightmare playing out in front of our eyes in living black and white. On that plane of reasoning, NELLA STRETTA has more in common with Marghetti's VIRGIN OF NUREMBERG with Christopher Lee, which is all about color picture texture and the musical score. NELLA STRETTA also amps up the music, with a Robert Fripp-ish atonal guitar riff that pops up whenever something weird is about to happen. The film this becomes almost formulaic, and the suspense generated in CASTLE OF BLOOD becomes more of a slog to get to the good parts.

And there is one really, REALLY good part: I still remember it scaring me so much as a kid I refused to go into our basement for weeks afterwards ... It is the segment when Dr. Carmus takes his little trip down into the Blackwood family crypt and finds something that should probably have best gone undisturbed.

'Tis a pity, though, that an adventurous company like Blue Underground or Anchor Bay Entertainment doesn't resurrect and "restore" this bizarre, flawed but interesting bit of Eurohorror; With his widescreen shot compositions and color schemes intact, the Italian cut I found not only runs circles around the prints turning up on the Brentwood and Diamond DVD sets, but it does away with the "another film where every shot is a closeup" charge -- those closeups are the result of a widescreen image being chopped, reformatted and blown up to play back on television sets. And, as is evident in the latest DVD release by Diamond, some of the distributors looped, slowed down or even froze individual frames to cover up what little graphic luridness that Marghetti used and was deemed unacceptable.

Yet right there we come to the meat of the thesis on why NELLA STRETTA MORSA DEL RAGNO will always be looked upon as less than a success -- it is too tame for the time period it was made in. The Italian print does include some very brief nudity and, like the Synapse DVD release of CASTLE OF BLOOD, spends more time establishing the illicit lesbian relationship between Elizabeth and Julia ... But it's nothing too thrilling, and by today's standards the whole affair has the shock effect of a good DARK SHADOWS episode.

Yet it is worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of atmospheric 1970's period Eurohorror with a touch of the erotic. Timeless Video's VHS runs 94 minutes but has really awful color rot to the print. Brentwood's print from the CIRCUS OF DEATH and TALES OF TERROR box sets runs about 96 minutes and looks a bit better, but not much. For the present, the version to go with for US buyers is to be found on Diamond's double bill DVD with CIRCUS OF FEAR, runs about 98 minutes, has a somewhat richer color range and much better quality audio, and for it's budget line price you really can't beat it.

I give WEB OF THE SPIDER/NELLA STRETTA MORSA DEL RAGNO *** out of ****, but only because I have a soft spot for it, and still feel the hair rise up on my neck whenever Dr. Carmus lights his candle and goes looking for that breathing sound .... shiver!

Reviewed by Witchfinder-General-666 7 / 10

Nowhere Near as Great as "Danza Macabra", but still Atmospheric Gothic Horror

Right after Mario Bava, the late Antonio Margheriti was arguably the second-greatest Italian Gothic Horror director, his doubtlessly most ingenious work being the 1964 masterpiece "Danza Macabra" (aka. "Castle of Blood") starring the one and only Barbara Steele. "Danza Macabra" easily ranks among the most brilliant and fascinating Gothic Horror films ever made, and I was therefore sceptical about this "Nella stretta morsa del ragno" aka. "In the Grip of the Spider" (1971), a remake which Margheriti made of his own film only seven years later. While "In the Grip of the Spider" does in no way equal (or even come close to) the greatness of "Danza Macabra", however, it is nonetheless an atmospheric, creepy and highly entertaining film that every fellow fan of Italian Gothic Horror should enjoy.

The storyline is more or less the same as in "Danza Macabra": When interviewing Edgar Allan Poe (Klaus Kinski), a journalist Alan Foster (Anthony Franciosa) makes a bet with a sinister count. Foster has to spend a night alone in the count's eerie, presumably haunted mansion. When the first after his arrival is the beautiful Elisabeth Blackwood (Michèle Mercier), Foster does not foresee the horrors that he is about to experience... Anthony Franciosa is always great, most fellow Italian Horror fans will agree that he had his greatest moment in Dario Argento's "Tenebre" (1982); and who would not love a film that begins with the credits: "Klaus Kinski as Edgar Allan Poe"? Michèle Mercier is a beauty, but she is no Barbara Steele. Barbara Steele is my all-time favorite actress and her mere appearance is such an enrichment to all the great Gothic gems she has starred in that a remake with someone else in her role is most likely to disappoint. She is dearly missed in this one, even though Miss Mercier is in no way bad. "Danza Macabra" is one of the most atmospheric and eerily beautiful Horror films ever made. "In the Grip of the Spider" can not compete with the wonderful mood of the original, even though the film is nicely filmed in cool, eerie settings. It really is a blast to see Klaus Kinski play Edgar Allan Poe, however. While the film mostly keeps the storyline of "Danza Macabra", Margheriti added a long opening sequence which consists mainly of Kinski wandering through eerie tombs in search of a grave. Before seeing this, I expected it to be more exploitative than "Danza Macabra", but the film is actually quite low on sleaze and violence. Overall, "In the Grip of the Spider" is nowhere near as brilliant as "Danza Macabra", but it is definitely still atmospheric, creepy and vastly enjoyable Gothic Horror. My fellow Italian Horror buffs can definitely give this a try, but should make sure to see "Danza Macabra" first.

Reviewed by crystalart 8 / 10

I was surprised...and surprised again...!

I REALLY like Klaus Kinski. He made some wonderful movies like Aguirre: Wrath of God, Fitzgaraldo, Android and Nosferatu...so I buy anything with him in it.

I bought Web of the Spider because of Klaus. Well, you can forget about that. I peered into the darkness of the opening scenes and tried with some difficulty to tell if I was looking at K.K. or not.

At the end of the movie there was more of the same, and most of it could have been left out...plotwise.

I was a little let down, but I stuck with it, and was surprised at the quality of this little gem! It's atmospheric and moody and well done.

I enjoyed my first viewing of it tonight, and I'm looking forward to watching it again.

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