Nightmare Castle  

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"What a perculiar plant, I've never seen one like it before."
"So fleshy, you mean?"
"A rare plant. Nepenthe iridaceae, it is very dear to me."

--Jenny to Stephen Arrowsmith in Nightmare Castle (1965)

"A sadistic count tortures and murders his unfaithful wife and her lover, then removes their hearts from their bodies. Discovering that his wife drew up a new will giving her fortune to her institutionalized sister, the count marries her and the new wife experiences nightmares and hauntings. The ghosts of the slain return to exact their bloody revenge, until their hearts are destroyed."--Sholem Stein

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Nightmare Castle (1965, Italian: Amanti d’Oltretomba, English: Lovers From Beyond the Grave) is an Italian horror film directed by Mario Caiano.

The film stars Paul Muller, Helga Liné, Marino Masé and Barbara Steele in a dual role.

Mario Caiano shot the film in Rome and declared it his tribute to the Gothic genre and to actress Barbara Steele. Among reviews of the film, critics and historians note Steele's dual performance.



Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Muller), a mad scientist, has his home laboratory in the castle owned by his wife Muriel (Barbara Steele). Arrowsmith finds her having sex with a gardener, David. He attacks and disfigures David with a hot poker and burns Muriel's face with acid. Before electrocuting both of them, Arrowsmith is told that he is not Muriel's heir, but that the estate has been willed to her stepsister, Jenny (also Steele), who is mentally unstable. Arrowsmith removes David's and Muriel's hearts and hides them in an urn. He uses their blood to rejuvenate his aged servant, Solange (Helga Liné).

Sometime later, Arrowsmith marries Jenny, planning to have the rejuvenated Solange drive her insane. Jenny begins having nightmares, which include the sound of beating hearts and Muriel's voice urging her to murder Stephen. Arrowsmith brings Dr. Derek Joyce (Marino Masé) to the castle to treat Jenny, who becomes convinced that supernatural forces are at work. Joyce discovers the hidden hearts of Muriel and David. The murdered dead return as ghosts. Muriel burns Stephen alive while David reduces Solange to a skeleton by draining her blood. Dr. Joyce then burns the disembodied hearts and leaves the castle with Jenny.


Director Mario Caiano stated that Nightmare Castle was born out of his passion for actress Barbara Steele and the Gothic genre, a style which he began to love between 1943 and '44 when he first read Edgar Allan Poe's work. Caiano said that he was not influenced by director Mario Bava, and did not remember seeing his films at the time with the possible exception of Black Sunday (1960). The initial script treatment for the film was titled Orgasmo and re-uses ideas from Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart".

Caiano's father Carlo was the producer of the film and was given a low budget to work with. With his friend art director Bruno Cesari, Caiano found a villa to use as a shooting location. The film was shot at Villa Parisi in Frascati and at Incir-De-Paolis Studios in Rome over 18 days. The film was released in black-and-white, shot by director of photography Enzo Barboni, but it was originally planned for some scenes to be given a red tint in post production.

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1965 in film, Barbara Steele, Blood Thirst, Ennio Morricone, Enzo Barboni, Giuseppe Addobbati, Helga Liné, List of actors who have played multiple roles in the same film, List of Cinema Insomnia episodes, List of compositions by Ennio Morricone, List of Monogram Pictures and Allied Artists Pictures films, Marino Masé, Mario Caiano, Paul Muller (actor), Renato Cinquini, Rik Battaglia, Satanik (film), Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nightmare Castle" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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