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Fortress of the Strolling Useless is a 1967 horror movie a few Depend, executed for murdering twelve younger ladies, who returns to life searching for revenge on the daughter of his supposed thirteenth sufferer and the son of his prosecutor. It has additionally been launched as Torture Chamber of Physician Sadism; Blood Demon and Blood of the Virgins and was initially titled Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel (“The Snake Pit and the Pendulum”),
Directed by Harald Reinl (The Sinister Monk; Room 13; The Strangler of Blackmoor Fortress; The Carpet of Horror; The Invisible Physician Mabuse; The Return of Physician Mabuse; Face of the Frog).
The West German Constantin Movie manufacturing stars Christopher Lee, Lex Barker, Karin Dor, Carl Lange, Christiane Rücker, Vladimir Medar and Dieter Eppler.
Imply-old Depend Frederic Regula (Christopher Lee) has been killing twelve harmless virgins in a bid to change into immortal by turning their blood into an elixir earlier than he’s rumbled and dropped at justice. A hooded executioner matches the Depend with a spiked iron masks and he’s quartered by 4 cart horses within the city sq., on a regular basis Regula vowing his revenge.
Thirty-five years later, out-of-towner Roger Mont Elise (Lex Baxter, beforehand seen as one of many a number of on-screen Tarzans and in lots of Edgar Wallace mysteries) is trying to find Fortress Andomai in a bid to study of his heritage, although the suspicious and superstitious townsfolk deny all information of such a spot.
Ultimately, an area priest, Father Fabian (Vladimir Medar) says he’s going in that course to carry out a baptism and welcomes Roger onto his coach. Additionally on the identical path is fairly Baroness Lilian von Brabant (Karin Dor, additionally seen within the James Bond film You Solely Dwell Twice and Hitchcock’s Topaz – she appears similar to Edwige Fenech) who’s off to the Fortress within the hopes of receiving an inheritance of some type; her good friend, Babette (Christiane Rücker) performs gooseberry. Each Roger and Lillian have each obtained their invitations care of the mysterious Depend Regula…
Their journey takes up a full hour of the movie, a lot of it by way of fog-filled forests and with cadavers draped over timber. The inn that the priest hoped to do his holy enterprise has burned to the bottom, although having already drawn a pistol and leched over Lilian, we’re already fairly positive that canine collar he’s received is simply to maintain him heat.
When the group lastly arrive on the Fortress, Babette and Lilian are spirited away by the Depend’s henchman, Anatol (Carl Lange), the dodgy Rev and Rog traipsing by way of a maze of traps to finally discover them.
A briefly resurrected Regula publicizes that Roger has been dropped at his Fortress as he’s the son of the person who sentenced him to demise, while Lilian is the daughter of the thirteenth virgin who escaped and alerted the police. Roger is condemned to demise while Lilian is required to donate her blood for the mad Depend. Snakes, spiders, a pit and a pendulum all make an look, will they be sufficient to assist Regula return from the lifeless ceaselessly?
A Depend known as Regula and all however one of many forged being dubbed doesn’t encourage confidence, nevertheless, it is a prime slice of Euro-horror and it’s completely cheap to say this in the identical breath as Mario Bava, even when only for the splendid visuals. Although largely off-screen, the execution of Regula that begins the movie is somewhat vicious.
Quickly after, the surroundings and cinematography take centre-stage, the viewer shortly forgetting that is something however a historic piece, regardless of the mythology within the plot being of the berserk Paul Naschy-kind.
The forest scenes are pure Mario Bava, misty paths resulting in spooky timber and hanging corpses, the colors simply leaping off the display. The citadel is probably much more spectacular, the dank catacombs layered with skulls, Hieronymous Bosch-like wall work, portcullises and naturally, the Depend’s diabolical laboratory. A supporting forged of spiders, scorpions and house-trained vultures all add to the gothic overload, even earlier than the great Mr Poe’s pendulum-related drama is wheeled in to spice issues up a bit.
The appearing is of above-average normal for such fare, although Lex is slightly picket. It’s to the credit score of the opposite actors that that is removed from a Lee-only car, showing for under a few third of the movie. If the movie does endure in any respect, it’s that it’s, nicely, not very horrifying.
For all of the beautiful set-design and scrumptious visuals, it has not one of the dread of Bava and regardless of the heinous crimes of the Depend and his horrific execution, he poses no actual menace on his personal patch.
The sumptuous rating, half Scooby-Doo, half Carry On, comes courtesy of famed German composer Peter Thomas, greatest identified for his work in Edgar Wallace and Jerry Cotton motion pictures although all are inspired to hunt out his sensational work on the sci-fi TV present, Raumpatrouille.
Daz Lawrence, MOVIES and MANIA
MOVIES and MANIA ranking:
“Your entire story primarily boils right down to us watching Montelise and von Marienberg journeying first to the citadel, after which to the torture chamber, and whereas director Harald Reinl creates an appropriately creepy environment — a night-time journey by way of a disturbing forest wherein human limbs protrude from the trunks of timber is especially efficient — he can’t overcome the dullness of the script.” 20/20 Movie Reviews
” …there are moments (the climax… my God, the climax) when Lee sinks to the extent of the fabric somewhat than elevating it towards his personal, however Depend Regula is a reasonably substantial B-movie villain, and Lee’s efficiency is, for essentially the most half, a worthy one […] a few scenes (most notably the trip by way of the haunted forest) have a little bit of trustworthy kick to them. I extremely advocate The Torture Chamber of Physician Sadism for any fan of European schlock and nonsense, 1960’s-style.” 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting
“Some chilling visuals (a haunted forest with corpses rising out of timber, swarms of vultures within the citadel corridors, the compulsory pendulum) and diverse creepy crawlies (pits of snakes, spiders and scorpions) make this an actual old style scare-fest, and it’s not too bloody for horror-hungry kids.” AllMovie
“The pervasive tone and temper of this film completely takes your consideration away from any of the characters together with the venerable Chris Lee. It’s undoubtedly a triumph of fashion over substance like a nightmarish fairy story dropped at life. If you’re a fan of Gothic horror cinema, you’ll do nicely to trace down a replica of this image.” Cool @ss Cinema
“Though the storyline is pretty atypical and predictable, director Reinl (who had beforehand helmed numerous fashionable “Krimi” movies) fills this era piece with ample doses of visible aptitude, paying homage to the Sixties cinema of Mario Bava and Hammer in a extra exaggerated, surreal method. The artwork course and set design are so distinctive…” DVD Drive-In (1)
“The movie’s strongest asset, apart from stable performances from Lee and Barker, are its spectacular units. Quaint European villages lined with cobblestone streets set the movie in a picturesque and quaint temperament that progressively leads into darkish and ominous territory because the group should journey by way of a forest adorned with hanging corpses, populated by timber whose limbs embrace human legs and arms.” DVD Drive-In (2)
“For all its expressive trappings, the movie doesn’t create a temper to match the higher Italian product from Bava, Margheriti and Freda – the environment is out for thrills greater than dread or revulsion. It’s extra environment friendly than memorable, however even with its pat ending (everybody who goes into the citadel lives!) Reinl’s movie is nice leisure.” DVD Savant
” …there’s a lot to get pleasure from right here. Little touches just like the hour-glass counting down Regula’s previous couple of minutes, a hall of skulls, subtly altered and perverted Christian iconography and the grotesque sculptures and skeletons in fits of armour that adorn the citadel add as much as an eerie environment that by no means fairly develops into full-on horror however which makes for a enjoyable time nonetheless.” The EOFFTV Review
” …the very best scenes stick within the reminiscence; my favourite second is a carriage trip by way of a spooky forest affected by lifeless our bodies, and the scene the place Depend Regula rises from the lifeless (which includes his physique attaching itself again collectively) is nice. The set design is superb; Depend Regula’s citadel partitions are embellished with work that appear like they have been finished by Heironymous Bosch.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings
“It’s very foolish, the rating is commonly laughably inappropriate (starting from upbeat lounge music to jazzy saxophone interludes) and the low price range is usually painfully obvious, however […] Reinl, cinematographers Ernst W. Kalinke and Dieter Liphardt, and set decorator Gabriel Pellon work collectively to create some actually arresting visuals that also pack a punch right now.” Good Efficient Butchery
” …a cornucopia of spook-house imagery that’s fairly graphically gory for 1967 whereas nonetheless comfortably old style in its execution. The florid script by Manfred R. Köhler (with only a pinch of Poe) tosses in every part however the kitchen sink with the intention to give us the creepy-crawlies, and the entire thing is lavishly, enjoyably over-the-top.” HK and Cult Film News
” …screenwriter Manfred R. Kohler whips up a energetic story of resurrection, reincarnation and revenge, with Reinl’s beautiful visuals accentuating the fever-dream temper. Although Lee could be very a lot relegated to the sidelines for a lot of the operating time, with the stone-faced Barker and future You Solely Dwell Twice Bond Woman Karin Dor (utilizing up all of the oxygen within the room together with her hysterics) taking heart stage, this sadly uncared for effort is nicely value searching for out.” Horror 101 with Doctor AC
“The Torture Chamber of Physician Sadism is a enjoyable gothic horror film. It has very cool set design, and it has a cool environment. It’s by no means too horrific although, which is a disgrace, however it’s additionally cool, as a result of I didn’t need any of the seconday primary characters to die-Fabian is simply too enjoyable to die, and Babette is an excessive amount of of a babe…” Not This Time, Nayland Smith
” …regardless of a couple of pacing points right here and there (the ending comes up in a short time!), the movie is usually a really profitable piece of gothic filmmaking because of the attractive environment that the movie incorporates. Performances from Barker and Lee stand out, with Barker enjoying the noble hero fairly nicely and Lee doing a wonderful job because the macabre-faced villain (even when he’s slightly typecast right here).” Rock! Shock! Pop!
“The surroundings no less than is nicely used and pleasingly creepy […] Thus the filmmakers get the possibility to make with the pits, pendulums, snakes, rats, preserved corpses and Mr Lee’s Depend making his massive comeback. Higher to take a look at than hearken to, The Torture Chamber of Physician Sadism has an virtually quaint attraction that makes it value a attempt for classic horror followers.” The Spinning Image
“Director Harald Reinl paints an eerie image and whereas Lee could be an imposing determine and Lange slightly greater than horrifying, they might not be as such in the event that they weren’t surrounded by horror. Fortress of the Strolling Useless is an underrated gem of a film, one which maybe will get missed as a consequence of extra well-liked fare from Hammer Movies on the time…” The Telltale Mind
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