Monday, April 10, 2017

Back in Black

The Black Castle (1952) is kind of a Universal horror - it features (but doesn't star) Lon Chaney Jr. and Boris Karloff. But it's kind of different.

It stars Richard Greene as an 18th-Century nobleman who is going undercover to Germany to seek out Count von Bruno, who resides in the titular castle. Two of his friends from the African wars visited there and never came back, and he wants to find out why. He arrives with his valet (Tudor Owen) in a spooky old inn, and gets into a fight because he let the coachman eat with him. The coachman, if my information (IMDB) is correct, was Henry Conden, the second guy to voice Fred Flintstone. Anyway, it's a great swashbuckling fight and shows off Greene as a bad-ass.

When he gets to the castle, the Count (Stephen McNally) turns out to be pretty creepy - for one thing, he has a mute servant (Lon Chaney Jr.) named Gargon, and his personal physician is Boris Karloff. On the other hand, he has a beautiful wife, Rita Corday. On the third hand, he treats her cruelly and you know that Greene and her will fall in love. Ah, forbidden love.

But how is this horror, you may be asking. Well, the whole thing starts with a living burial, for one thing. And there is the spooky castle. But mostly it isn't horror - it's more costume adventure. Our hero performs a little derring-do, like wrestling a leopard (in Germany? Imported from Africa, of course). So, all in all we enjoyed it.

In conclusion, Ms. Spenser did not allow me to count this as a horror movie. So I still owe her.

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