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Gothic Horror [10 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Tell-Tale Heart
Horror tale inspired by the classic Edgar Allan Poe story, in which a writer fantasizes murdering his friend over a beautiful woman, and then hearing the dead man's heart continuing to beat. (Alternate title: The Hidden Room Of 1,000 Horrors) ~ Nicole Gagne, Rovi

Terror Creatures from the Grave
An unfaithful wife is visited by medieval plague victims, who were summoned from their graves by her occult-expert husband. ~ Deb Rainsbottom, Rovi

The She-Beast
In this spooky Italian-Yugoslavian horror movie, a lovely English bride is possessed by the vengeful spirit of an 18th-century Transylvanian witch on her wedding night and creates all sorts of bloody mayhem for her hapless husband and others. ~ Sandra Brennan, Rovi

White Zombie
In this haunting low-budgeter, Bela Lugosi stars as Murder Legendre, a shadowy character who exercises supernatural powers over the natives in his Haitian domain. Coveting Madge Bellamy as his bride, wealthy Robert Frazier enters into an unholy agreement with Lugosi, whereby Madge will die, then be resurrected as a zombie. ~ Iotis Erlewine, Rovi

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
Carnival of Souls
A drag race turns to tragedy when one car, with three young women inside, topples over a bridge and into the muddy river below. The authorities drag the river, but the search is fruitless and the girls are presumed dead until a single survivor stumbles out of the water with no recollection of how she escaped. Mary Henry (Candace Hilligoss) decides to forget her strange experience and carry on with her plan to move to Utah to accept a job as a church organist. She rejects the notion that because her profession leads her to work in the church, she is obligated to worship as part of the congregation, and this cold approach to her work unnerves many around her. While driving to the new city, she experiences weird visions of a ghoulish man who stares at her through the windshield, and passes an abandonded carnival on a desolate stretch of highway outside of town to which she feels strangely drawn. Mary tries to live her life in private, ignoring invitations to worship by the minister of her church and the leering propositions of a neighbor in her rooming house. Soon the ghostly apparition from the highway is appearing more often, and she experiences eerie spells in which she becomes invisible to people on the street. A doctor tries to help, but he too is rejected, and eventually Mary realizes that the deserted carnival holds the secret to her destiny. ~ Fred Beldin, Rovi

Dungeon of Harrow
A ship carrying traveller Aaron Fallon (Russ Harvey) is wrecked off the coast of a strange, uncharted island. Only Fallon and the ship's captain (Henry Garcia) survive, and they soon find themselves in the clutches of the mad Count DeSade (Bill McNulty), who is keeping his insane, diseased wife (Eunice Grey) in the dungeon below the castle in which he lives. The count is deranged and hallucinating, and prepared to inflict terrible tortures on anyone he believes threatens him or his solitude -- the two shipwreck victims and a mute servant girl (her tongue cut out by pirates) soon find themselves in that position. A lot of violence ensues, amid much dialogue that's fairly incomprehensible on a logical level but which works in the sense of being generically horrific. Fallon and Cassandra, a servant (Helen Hogan), are the only survivors, and they await rescue, not knowing that they're already doomed to a terrible fate. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi

The Blancheville Monster
Gerard Tichy plays a somewhat round-the-bend European count. His face is horribly disfigured, which in a film like this is a reflection of his warped personality. Tichy's daughter Joan Hills fears that dad will do her harm, in order to fulfill an ancient family ritual. She's right: Hills wakes up one day to find that Tichy has buried her alive. The Spanish/Italian The Blancheville Monster is also known as Horror. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

A Chronicle of Corpses
Although the title sounds like one of the Pixies' more uplifting songs, Chronicle of Corpses is actually a cultivated psychological Gothic thriller. Set in the 19th century, the story takes place at the Elliott family estate, where someone or possibly something has been picking off the members of the household. At a loss over what to do about -- excepting, most obviously, putting the place up for sale and leaving the neighborhood -- the estate's remaining inhabitants cope in the ways they know best: drinking, eating, and coupling in excess. All sorts of sordid things occur and even more sordid relationships are revealed: in addition to the dodgy doings between patriarch Mr. Elliott and his brother-in-law, Elliott's wife is having her way with the stable boy, his son is an alcoholic, and his mother is insane. Touted one of the Top Ten Films of 2001 by both the New York Times and the Village Voice, A Chronicle of Corpses was screened at the 2002 Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema. ~ Rebecca Flint Marx, Rovi

Nightmare Castle
Known in U.S. distribution as Nightmare Castle, this eerie Gothic thriller offers two Barbara Steeles for the price of one. Steele first portrays the wife of a deranged scientist (Paul Muller) whose latest experiments involve electro-stimulation of human blood. When the mad doctor discovers his wife is having an affair, he tortures, disfigures and kills her alongside her lover, then removes and preserves the hearts of the victims, using their blood to restore youth and beauty to his own lover. When the madman discovers that his late wife left all her wealth to her mentally unstable sister (Steele again, a blonde this time), he quickly sets about courting and marrying the poor girl, then proceeds to drive her completely mad in order to inherit her fortune. It may be an easier task than he predicted -- too easy for comfort, in fact -- since the honeymoon is attended by the spectral presence of the murdered lovers who have risen from their own ashes to avenge their deaths. This film's pervasive feeling of impending doom is aided by shadowy, low-contrast cinematography and a robust score from Ennio Morricone, and features a riveting performance from Steele, whose large eyes pierce the screen with dangerous beauty. ~ Cavett Binion, Rovi

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