HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
American Fiction
Poor Things
Thunderclap
Zeiram
Legend of the Bat
Party Line
Night Fright
Pacha, Le
Kimi
Assemble Insert
Venus Tear Diamond, The
Promare
Beauty's Evil Roses, The
Free Guy
Huck and Tom's Mississippi Adventure
Rejuvenator, The
Who Fears the Devil?
Guignolo, Le
Batman, The
Land of Many Perfumes
Cat vs. Rat
Tom & Jerry: The Movie
Naked Violence
Joyeuses Pacques
Strangeness, The
How I Became a Superhero
Golden Nun
Incident at Phantom Hill
Winterhawk
Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City
Maigret Sets a Trap
B.N.A.
Hell's Wind Staff, The
Topo Gigio and the Missile War
Battant, Le
Penguin Highway
Cazadore de Demonios
Snatchers
Imperial Swordsman
Foxtrap
   
 
Newest Articles
3 From Arrow Player: Sweet Sugar, Girls Nite Out and Manhattan Baby
Little Cat Feat: Stephen King's Cat's Eye on 4K UHD
La Violence: Dobermann at 25
Serious Comedy: The Wrong Arm of the Law on Blu-ray
DC Showcase: Constantine - The House of Mystery and More on Blu-ray
Monster Fun: Three Monster Tales of Sci-Fi Terror on Blu-ray
State of the 70s: Play for Today Volume 3 on Blu-ray
The Movie Damned: Cursed Films II on Shudder
The Dead of Night: In Cold Blood on Blu-ray
Suave and Sophisticated: The Persuaders! Take 50 on Blu-ray
Your Rules are Really Beginning to Annoy Me: Escape from L.A. on 4K UHD
A Woman's Viewfinder: The Camera is Ours on DVD
Chaplin's Silent Pursuit: Modern Times on Blu-ray
The Ecstasy of Cosmic Boredom: Dark Star on Arrow
A Frosty Reception: South and The Great White Silence on Blu-ray
You'll Never Guess Which is Sammo: Skinny Tiger and Fatty Dragon on Blu-ray
Two Christopher Miles Shorts: The Six-Sided Triangle/Rhythm 'n' Greens on Blu-ray
Not So Permissive: The Lovers! on Blu-ray
Uncomfortable Truths: Three Shorts by Andrea Arnold on MUBI
The Call of Nostalgia: Ghostbusters Afterlife on Blu-ray
Moon Night - Space 1999: Super Space Theater on Blu-ray
Super Sammo: Warriors Two and The Prodigal Son on Blu-ray
Sex vs Violence: In the Realm of the Senses on Blu-ray
What's So Funny About Brit Horror? Vampira and Bloodbath at the House of Death on Arrow
Keeping the Beatles Alive: Get Back
   
 
  Castle of the Creeping Flesh Shakespeare clearly having an off day
Year: 1968
Director: Adrian Hoven
Stars: Janine Reynaud, Howard Vernon, Elvira Berndorff, Claudia Butenuth, Jan Hendricks, Michel Lemoine, Vladimir Medar, Pier A. Caminecci
Genre: Horror, Sex, Trash, WeirdoBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: At a swinging cocktail party sultry siren Vera Lagrange (Janine Reynaud) is lured away from her fiancé by smooth-talking aristocrat Baron Brach (Michel Lemoine). He invites Vera and her friends to spend the weekend at his beautiful country estate. While Vera and the gang enjoy a bracing horse race to their destination flirty sexpot Elena (Elvira Berndorff) arrives early. Whereupon creepy Baron Brach is so aroused he ravishes her on the spot. Shaken by the assault Elena stirs uneasily while her clueless fiancé George (Jan Hendricks), his sister Marian (Claudia Butenuth), Roger (Pier A. Caminecci), Vera and Brach share a spirited discussion about local legends. One involves a murderous bear that reportedly roams the estate. The other concerns the brutal rape of a peasant girl by an ancestor of the Baron. Pushed over the edge by this story, Elena flees the party on horseback. Her concerned friends give chase. Only to wind up at the creepy neighbouring castle of the Earl of Saxon (Howard Vernon) where some decidedly weird shit goes down...

The presence of bug-eyed character actor Howard Vernon and flame-haired sexploitation star Janine Reynaud, coupled with its dreamily haphazard story structure, has led some to suspect the man behind Castle of the Creeping Flesh (credited as Percy G. Parker) was really trash film 'auteur' Jess Franco under one of his many pseudonyms. Indeed Franco had a hand in the screenplay which was supposedly based on a play by William Shakespeare (which one exactly?!) While Franco's, er, eccentric touch is evident in the film's freewheeling mix of mod drama, semi-parodic gothic horror, esoteric philosophy, weird science and softcore sex, the actual culprit was German matinee idol turned exploitation mini-mogul Adrian Hoven. Hoven later earned his minor moment of infamy in horror film history as the producer and screenwriter behind proto-torture porn Mark of the Devil (1970) and directed its sequel Mark of the Devil Part II (1972). His producing partner Pier Andrea Caminecci makes a rare onscreen appearance here playing a relatively substantial supporting role. A wealthy businessman, Caminecci is unusual in that he drifted into the movie business chiefly because he fancied Janine Reynaud who at the time was married to her frequent co-star Michel Lemoine. According to 'Immoral Tales', Pete Tombs and Cathal Tohill's essential study of vintage Euro-horror cinema, Lemoine happily turned a blind eye to his wife's affair with Caminecci 'because it was good for business.' The French, eh?

Lemoine's glowering, glassy-eyed brute comes across like an early variant on the murderous schizophrenic aristocrat portrayed in his later self-directed sex-horror opus Seven Women for Satan (1974). Yet while the first act seemingly sets up Brach as our villain with his jarring sexual assault on Elena (it goes without saying the film has a problematic fixation with rape, but then it is an exploitation movie from the late Sixties) a sudden left-turn wheels out Howard Vernon's Earl of Saxon. He immediately clocks Vera's resemblance to his late mistress and Marian's to his equally late daughter. For it transpires his daughter Catarina was the gang raped and murdered girl from the old legend, supposedly at the behest of the Earl's jealous mistress. In a (presumably unintentionally) hilarious scene the Earl's swarthy manservant Alecos (Vladimir Medar) shows the guests a wax figure display recreating the gang rape complete with unnerving sound effects, something one imagines most grieving fathers could do without. None of the visitors seem particularly affected although Vera is inexplicably turned on. Later in bed she has a fever dream flashback to the assault on Catarina and fondles her bare breasts while a voice-over recites passages from Shakespeare that sound more like the Marquis De Sade.

The bulk of the action (if you can call it that) unfolds at the Earl's creepy castle where the protagonists, including a seemingly comatose Elena, spend the night. Unaware that the Earl and a mysterious fellow scientist are carrying out gruesome experiments in their secret lab re-animating dead flesh. At the finale we learn the identity of the Earl's enigmatic helper is none but Death himself, a shock revelation that might have proven more effective had Hoven not filmed him from such a distance it is hard to make out his skeletal face. While the snarky, self-involved characters are unsympathetic, Castle of the Creeping Flesh unusually refrains from bumping anyone off. In fact aside from the occasional insert of graphic mondo footage of gory real-life surgery there are no scenes one could classify as horrific in the traditional sense. Nonetheless the screenplay by Hoven, Franco and Eric Martin Schnitzler employs a popular Euro-horror trope wherein characters are trapped in a cyclical re-enactment of past sins. This idea - loosely derived from seminal British horror anthology Dead of Night (1945) - reappears in Antonio Margheriti's interesting The Unnaturals (1969) and most notably Mario Bava's haunting late career masterpiece Lisa and the Devil (1973). Like Bava's film Castle of the Creeping Flesh aspires to be a dreamy, esoteric work of le fantastique rather than a fright fest. It is let down by Hoven's rambling, incoherent direction which pads an already slender running time with dull scenes where characters wax philosophical about life, love and death. Off-set by occasional eccentric moments which include recreating the food-flirting scene from Tom Jones (1963), a character mauled by a man in a bear costume and Janine Reynaud spending a satisfying portion of the third act topless in just her underwear. She eventually lands a quite spectacular, seemingly non-simulated sex scene with Caminecci. All the more memorable because mid-way George bursts in screaming that Marian is missing. But they keep on shagging so he leaves. Evidently Caminecci got more out of this film than the audience.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 4968 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (2)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Louise Hackett
Mark Le Surf-hall
Andrew Pragasam
Mary Sibley
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: