CASTLE OF EVIL (1966) Reviews and overview

 

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‘The chamber of horrors lives again!’

Castle of Evil is a 1966 American science fiction horror film directed by Francis D. Lyon (Destination Inner Space; Cult of the Cobra) from a screenplay by Charles A. Wallace. It was also released as The Haunting of Castle Montego. The movie stars Scott Brady, Virginia Mayo, David Brian, Lisa Gaye, Hugh Marlowe, Shelley Morrison and Ernest Sarracino.

Plot:

The heirs of eccentric chemist Kovec are summoned to a castle on a Caribbean island for the reading of the recently deceased man’s will. The guests are informed by the housekeeper, Lupe, that if any of them should die before the will is probated the survivors will share the extra portion. Kovec’s apparition appears and declares that one of them was responsible for his disfiguration.

That night, Kovec’s doctor, Robert Hawley, is murdered, and a short time later Lupe is attacked. Before dying, Lupe explains that Kovec created a carbon copy of himself, an “electronic man” for the purpose of revenge; but, greedily wanting his fortune for herself, she programmed the monster to kill the heirs one by one. Unfortunately, for the electronic man is acting under its own volition…

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Review:

Although it was made in the mid-1960s, Castle of Evil may as well have been made at any point in the previous thirty years. The remote island castle setting was a staple for formulaic murder mysteries and this sub-Agatha Christie outing is more like a filmed play than a movie.

Francis B. Lyon’s television-style direction is deadly dull, with most of the male cast standing around with their hands in the pockets as the audience awaits each appearance of the “electronic man” to liven things up. Meanwhile, Paul Dunlap’s score sounds as if it was written for an entirely different genre production (perhaps it was?). Plodding and lacklustre, Castle of Evil has hardly any redeeming aspects.

Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA

Other reviews:

“It has an interesting premise, but is poorly executed, it’s not scary, the acting is lame and the script is embarrassingly bad; it makes for a dull watch, except for those who get their jollies from films this terrible.” Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

“The direction is so laboured that the film sinks without a trace, despite competent performances by Scott Brady and Hugh Marlowe” Monthly Film Bulletin, March 1967

“Routine offering, combining a whodunnit and science fiction with too much talk and too little action.” Alan Frank, The Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Handbook, Batsford, 1982

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“The staging of every scene is flat and lifeless, no opportunity for padding is left untapped–except for the ending that is inexplicably sudden and abrupt–and all the bad choices sap every bit of life from the film, driving even the most friendly-minded viewer into a stupor of boredom.” Terror Titans

” … laughably ludicrous display of ineptitude.” John Elliot, Elliot’s Guide to Films on Video

Choice dialogue:

Sable (Virginia Mayo): “I feel like a park bench, all I attract are bums.”

Cast and characters:

  • Scott Brady … Matt Granger
  • Virginia Mayo … Mary Theresa ‘Sable’ Pulaski
  • David Brian … Robert Hawley
  • Lisa Gaye … Carrol Harris
  • Hugh Marlowe … ‘Doc’ Corozal
  • William Thourlby … Kovic
  • Ernest Sarracino … Tunki
  • Natividad Vacío … Muchado
  • Shelley Morrison … Lupe Tekal d’Esperanza