TERROR IN THE CRYPT aka CRYPT OF THE VAMPIRE (1964) Reviews and Severin Blu-ray box set news

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Terror in the Crypt aka Crypt of the Vampire is being released on May 25th 2021 as part of ‘The Eurocrypt of Christopher Lee Collection’.

The box-set includes:

Disc 1: The Castle of the Living Dead
New 4K scan from the Italian negative
Audio commentary by film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
Audio commentary by Kat Ellinger
Interview with producer Paul Maslansky
The Castle of The Mystery Man – Roberto Curti, author of Mavericks of Italian Cinema, on director Warren Kiefer

Disc 2: Challenge the Devil aka Katarsis
New 2K scan of the Italian negative
Interview with Roberto Curti, author of Mavericks of Italian Cinema
Interview with actor Giorgio Ardisson over two decades

Disc 3: Crypt of the Vampire aka Crypt of Horror
New 2K scan of a fine-grain 35mm master print

Disc 4: Sherlock Holmes and the Deadly Necklace
New 2K scan of the German negative
Audio commentary by film historians Kim Newman and Barry Forshaw

Discs 5 and 6: Theatre Macabre
Christopher Lee hosted this anthology television series originally produced by Film Polski (Knife in the Water, The Tin Drum) in the tradition of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Boris Karloff’s Thriller. Lee delivers the intro and outro for each half-hour at his imposing and often cheeky best, while the tales themselves – adapted from stories by Poe, Dostoevsky, Ambrose Bierce, Robert Louis Stevenson and Oscar Wilde – are written and/or directed by filmmakers that include Andrzej Zulawski (Possession) and Andrzej Wajda (Man of Iron). Dubbed into English and featuring ‘additional dialogue’ by Jesse Lasky Jr. (7 Women from Hell) with new theme music by Ron Goodwin (Village of the Damned; Frenzy), it has remained largely unseen since its brief airing on American TV in 1971. These twenty-four surviving episodes have now been scanned in 2K from the original negatives
Disc Specs:
Runtime: 610 mins
Audio: English Mono / Closed captions
Region Free
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
New 2K scan of the original negatives
Promo with host Christopher Lee

Disc 7: The Torture Chamber of Doctor Sadism aka Castle of the Walking Dead
New 4K scan of the original German negative
Audio commentary by film historians Nathaniel Thompson and Troy Howarth
Audio interview with actress Karin Dor
Location featurette
German theatrical trailer
Teaser trailer
Die Schlangengrube – Die Burg des Grauens – German Super 8 digest short
Die Schlangengrube des Grafen Dracula – German Super 8 digest short
Poster gallery
Behind-the-scenes still gallery
Restoration Slideshow

Disc 8: Special Features:
Horror!!! – 1964 documentary short by with Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Roger Corman, and Roy Ashton (16 min)
Behind the Mask – New edit of unfinished 1991 documentary in which Christopher Lee remembers Boris Karloff (34 min)
1976 Belgian TV interview with Christopher Lee by Sélim Sasson (52 min)
1976 interview with Christoper Lee by Colin Grimshaw (16 min)
Audio interview with Christopher Lee, accompanied by stills from The Del Valle archive & video introduction with David Del Valle (20 min)
Interview with horror film historian Alan Frank (15 min)
The Crypt Keepers: Making of Crypt of the Vampire with writer Ernesto Gastaldi, assistant director Tonino Valerii, and film historian Fabio Melelli (34 min)
“O Sole Mio / It’s Now Or Never” & “She’ll Fall For Me” – Christopher Lee & Gary Curtis music videos with optional commentary by Gary Curtis
The Invincible Sir Christopher with filmmaker Philippe Mora Recalls
2001 Christopher Lee interview session outtakes (15 min)
2011 University College Dublin Q&A with Christopher Lee
Also included:

Castle of the Living Dead soundtrack CD composed by Angelo Francesco Lavagnino (Chimes at Midnight, Gorgo)
An 88-page booklet written by Lee biographer Jonathan Rigby

Order via Severin Films

Meanwhile, here is our previous coverage of the film:


Terror in the Crypt is a 1964 Italian-Spanish horror film directed by Camillo Mastrocinque [credited as Thomas Miller] (An Angel for Satan), from a screenplay written by Ernesto Gastaldi and assistant director Tonino Valerii. Also known as Crypt of  Horror and Crypt of the Vampire.

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The story was loosely based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Carmilla. The film’s original release titles are La cripta e l’incubo and La Maldicion de los Karnstein. The score was by Carlo Savina (see below).


The movie stars Christopher LeeAdriana Ambesi, Ursula Davis, José Campos, Véra Valmont, A. Midlin, Carla Calò, Nela Conjiu and José Villasante.

Count Ludwig Karnstein (Christopher Lee) dreads his daughter may fall prey to the curse upon his family, a curse which promises the witch Sheena will eventually be reincarnated in a Karnstein descendant. Could Laura really be a vampiric killer?


“Christopher Lee is good but he isn’t really the centre of attention. Fortunately, Adriana Ambesi and Ursula Davis turn in fine performances as the two young women linked by what might well be all manner of unnatural attractions and obsessions. If you enjoy the Italian Gothic horrors of the 60s, when atmosphere and style were still a lot more important than gore, then there’s much to enjoy in this film.” Cult Movie Reviews

“With its cheesy Sunday afternoon horror thrills (and some wild-eyed and voluptuous ladies), Crypt of the Vampire is a whole lot of fun. There’s melodrama, mysterious manuscripts and some gruesome business involving the severed hand of a hunchbacked beggar.” Doomed Moviethon


“Brimming with atmosphere and shot in glorious black and white in and around authentic gothic ruins, Crypt of the Vampire has all the proper ingredients to affix it to the better movies made during the salad days of Italian horror. Although the film is sluggish at times, veteran director Mastrocinque … instills some truly haunting and shadowy imagery, especially when Laura’s macabre fever dreams are in full swing.” DVD Drive-In

“Stylishly directed by Camillo Mastrocinque (under the alias of Thomas Miller), Crypt of the Vampire has got atmosphere to spare – this is a fantastic looking movie, almost as macabre looking as Caste Of Blood with the old castle making for a great location on which to base a horror film. The black and white cinematography makes excellent use of the eerie locations and really does a great job of capturing some of the emptiness and loneliness of the tombs and catacombs

“You’ll get by on the atmosphere and the impressive cast (Lee doesn’t get a lot to do but as ever, he’s a commanding presence even with a set of impressive but perhaps anachronistic sideburns) but by the end, you’ll be longing for something a bit snappier and with more substance.” The EOFFTV Review

“If there’s one thing this movie has a lot of, it’s atmosphere. It also has a lot of foreshadowing. What it doesn’t have is an interesting storyline, a sense of pace (every scene feels like the one before, and it never builds to any satisfying pitch), or characters that serve any purpose beyond being mere plot devices.” Fantastic Movie Musings and Ramblings

“It exudes a flair of picturesque horror and mystique enhanced all the more by its superb cinematography and eerie score […] Apart from its great atmosphere, the film is very well crafted and entertaining. I would put it in the vein of other great EuroGoth gems like Terror Creatures From the Grave, Nightmare Castle, and Bava’s Kill Baby, Kill. Plus, the immortal Christopher Lee adds plenty to the picture as he always tends to do.” Fatal Mentality


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“While it is an enjoyable film there are issues. The acting is often a bit indifferent (though the dubbing doesn’t really help), the story is also rather unoriginal and sometimes a bit confusing. Well never mind that, the atmosphere in this film is wonderful. It also has its fair share of Euro beauties with heaving bosoms.” Quota Quickie

“The strength of the film is in its atmosphere which is somewhere in between Gothic and a trippy dream/nightmare deal. The final act offers up some wonderfully stormy and histrionic stuff I must say. The atmosphere is a whole lot more interesting than the plot or characters, outside of some pretty strong Sapphic undertones for 1964. Even then you have to deal with a cartoony clarinet music score by Carlo Savina…” Shameless Self Expression

terror in the crypt1

“While lead actress Adriana Ambesi acquits herself well enough as the haunted heroine she lacks the eerie magnetism of Barbara Steele. Similarly, José Campos’ stiff performance as the effete hero is complemented by an indifferent English dub. Top-billed Christopher Lee excels in an atypically subdued role but does not have much to do. Nevertheless, Mastrocinque […] pulls off some clever lighting tricks that lend key scenes a certain magical frisson…” The Spinning Image

“Lee adds great presence to the film, though he has actually very little to do and Ambesi is good enough as Laura but one can’t help think that Barbara Steele would have been perfectly suited for the role […] That said, fans of 60s European horror films are not going to go wrong with this movie, especially fans of films such as Black Sunday, to which this film does owe a great debt.” Taliesin Meets the Vampires

” …this Eurohorror is a solid number. There’s mood, mood, mood to spare, Lee is terrific as a good guy, and Ambesi delivers an oddly compelling turn as Laura […] Crypt won’t appeal to all tastes. Some will find its plotting too standard, its characters too faintly drawn. But if you’ve got an itch for some gloomy, cobwebby Italian-made goth terror, check it out.” The Terror Trap

Terror in the Crypt is a sluggish and dull low budget reworking of Mario Bava’s immortal classic, Black Sunday; with a little bit of Carmilla thrown in there for good measure.  Christopher Lee is one of my all time favorite actors but even he can’t save this dreary slow-moving movie.  More than once I found myself nodding off on this gloomy turd.” The Video Vacuum

Crypt of the Vampire poster

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