Sunday, November 24, 2013

The Virgin Of Nuremberg

Virgin Of Nuremberg (Horror Castle, La Vergine di Norimberga) Starring Christopher Lee. Directed By Antonio Margheriti (1963). 
If I didn't know any better I would think this was a Bava flick, all the gothic horror staples are present. The Torture Chamber Of Dr. Sadism has a similar feel, but is much better than this effort. 
   An attractive girl in a see through nighty played by Rossana Podesta walks down a long corridor clutching a burning candelabra and winds up in a red velvet dungeon surrounded by instruments of torture. An iron maiden (or in this case a Virgin Of Nuremberg) swings open with an eyeless victim still in its casket and scares the shit out of the fragile damsel, who looks to me like the actress in Top Secret, who's breast's defy gravity. The casual Nazi elements in Virgin were also similar to that other film. A jazzy score by Mondo Maestro Riz Ortolani emanates as the credits role. 
Can you believe I landed this hot chick?
   This italian production is populated by tons of overdubbed Germans. An ascot wearing rich Aryan named Max (Georges Riviere) is hiding the secret of "The Punisher" from his frightened wife Mary. When she tries to describe how she heard a stranger slunking around in the dead of night wearing an executioners mask, he chalks it up to her being overtired. 
   Max covers it up because the evil punisher is his distant relative and used the dreaded casket with nails inside during the middle ages to kill people he deemed immoral. 
   Christopher Lee plays a former Nazi named Erich with a hideous jagged scar on his face. Max keeps mentioning how horrible "The War" was and what a bad time they had, I'm assuming its WWII. If that's the case, they had it better than everyone else, especially the people they were busy shoving into gas ovens!
Is it true, that your boobs defy gravity?
   He confines his wife to her bed and drugs her, but she's quick and hides the pills.
Everyone is dubbed, even the great Christopher Lee unfortunately! They gave him this high whiny type voice, it's a shame since Lee is renowned for his brilliant pipes. 
I'm gonna order from Little Caesars
   Poor Mary is trapped in a palace like an Italian Ronnie Specter to a Nazi version of PhilThere's shrewd old woman who is "The Punisher's" biggest fan and awaits the cleansing of the wicked once again after 300 years! The news freaks Mary out and she wanders throughout the castle, which is filled with Poe-esque decor and secret basements.    
   Sometimes she'll hear rusty gears operating and even bumps into the old hooded geezer, who tells her to go to bed! If it's not her husband in disguise, I'll eat my executioners mask!
George "Liquor" American in the flesh
   An FBI agent played by Jim Dolen, a human version of George "Liquor" American, with a white flat top and a scotch tape colored suit, prowls around the castle asking questions.    
   Even though the film is shrouded in that Bava-World of mystery, its missing that grime and shocking ugliness from the genuine article that bangs you over the head. I don't hold it against the director, because he's capable, I just expected more! 

I am too scary!
 "The Punisher" is about as scary as Bruce Mcculloch as "The Eradicator"! He fastens a nose eating rat cage onto a girls face and it's mildly gruesome. That scene is cut from certain prints according to the Deep Red catalog, it helps out a little. 
    Excuse me while I chow down on some sweat soaked hood, because it turns out my prediction about the killer was wrong!
   Max the nazi gets trapped in a web of his own weaving, as a stone pit slowly fills up with water. Margheriti does a fine job of directing, but the story-line is duller than dirt!
The Nazi elements are more subtle through out the first half of the film like Frozen Terror, which made them all look like Disney businessmen. But then later on Hitler makes an appearance and Max's dad goes under the knife and gets scarred for life. I still had no sympathy for the character, which they turned into a weeping phantom-like character. 
   Had they started out in that hard edged Nazi direction, it would've elevated it about a typically dull haunted castle/torture chamber story, too bad.
No Refunds!
   The last ten minutes reveal what really happened, mixing in Third Reich stock footage and attempting to explain the surgical conspiracy. It's interesting, but I felt that my time was wasted. You may find the film more exciting if you watch it backwards, believe it or not! 
Don't Waste Your Time, watch an actual Mario Bava film, sorry Antonio!

Lee, get me a job as a background Ork in the future

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