The newest, DVD (oldies.com) release of Mr. Lobo's Cinema Insomnia is a creepy, Italian classic, starring that brooding beauty, Barbara Steele.
Produced/directed by Mario Caiano, from a script he penned with In the Folds of the Flesh collaborator Fabio De Agostini, Nightmare Castle (aka Night of the Doomed) generates a black-and-white ambiance reminiscent of Mario Bava's Black Sunday, though with a pre-Creepshow, "Something to Tide You Over" motif, warmed over by ample Poe.
In this instance, the Frankenstein-ish Dr. Arrowsmith (Paul Muller) murders his wife (Steele) and her lover (Rik Battaglia), only to discover that his spouse bequeathed their castle to her unstable stepsister (also portrayed by Steele). The doc weds the young lady, hoping to drive her mad, so that he may keep the estate for his own (shades of The Screaming Skull), but of course, no dastardly deed goes unpunished--or unhaunted.
Steele's sisterly duality is the major highlight, giving her a chance to swing from brunette to blonde. In either instance, she's a visual treat. The castle's interiors are also pleasing: ornate and imposing, granting the production ghostly style, despite its modest budget.
To deepen the impassioned proceedings, Mr. Lobo and Miss Mittens (along with Steele-saluting Jessie Seeherman) engage in spoofed infidelity, which is embolden by movie-host advertisements, retro horror/sci-fi commercials and a cheery, William Castle Homicidal promotional gig.
On the whole, Mr. Lobo's Cinema Insomnia Presents Nightmare Castle is a powerful package that belongs in every fan's "misunderstood" library.
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