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Castle of the Living Dead

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Directed by  Warren Kiefer
Written by  Warren Kiefer
Initial release  1964
5.7/10 IMDb

Produced by  Paul Maslansky
Story by  Warren Kiefer
Producer  Paul Maslansky
Castle of the Living Dead wwwgstaticcomtvthumbdvdboxart3087p3087dv8
Starring  Christopher Lee Gaia Germani Philippe Leroy
Music by  Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Directors  Michael Reeves, Luciano Ricci, Warren Kiefer
Music director  Angelo Francesco Lavagnino
Screenplay  Michael Reeves, Warren Kiefer
Cast  Christopher Lee, Donald Sutherland, Philippe Leroy, Gaia Germani, Mirko Valentin
Similar  Gothic fiction movies, Christopher Lee movies, Horror movies

Castle of the living dead 1964 horror christopher lee

Castle of the Living Dead (Italian: Il castello dei morti vivi) is a 1964 Italian-French horror film directed by Warren Kiefer. The film is set in France in the late 19th century where a traveling circus visits the castle of the Count Drago (Christopher Lee). Drago habits of experimenting on animals is revealed and the visitors are about to become unwilling participants before they are rescued by a dwarf.


Castle of the Living Dead The Castle of the Living Dead 1964 HORRORPEDIA

Castle of the Living Dead has gone through several inconsistencies with its production since its release involving who had directed the film ranging from Kiefer to Riccardo Freda to fictional people such as Herbert Wise and Lorenzo Sabatini. Other production mysteries include the crew where Michael Reeves had been stated as the directing either all or parts of the film and whether or not Mario Bava had created special effects work on the picture.

Castle of the Living Dead myReviewercom Review for Castle Of The Living Dead

Castle of the living dead 1964 trailer


Castle of the Living Dead Castle of the Living Dead 1964 Trailer YouTube

American Warren Kiefer moved to Italy to pursue a career in the film industry. There he met American-born producer Paul Maslansky at Cinecittà. The two got along and decided to make a film together. Kiefer provided the script for Castle of the Living Dead. The two put in $10,000 and contacted Christopher Lee for ten days of shooting.

Castle of the Living Dead Castle of the Living Dead 1964 MUBI

Many sources cite Lorenzo Sabatini as the director of Castle of the Living Dead, but the name was created by Kiefer for tax reasons while creating the film. To complicate it further, the film was a French-Italian co-production, which meant that an Italian director was required to collect certain state subsidies. In the Italian version of the film, Kiefer is credited as only for the story and script while the name Herbert Wise was used as the director. Wise was a pseudonym for Luciano Ricci, Kiefer's assistant director. All other prints credit Kiefer as the sole director. Many promotional materials and reviews of the film since the release have credited various directors as the director including Ricci, the fictional Wise, and Riccardo Freda. Among the crew of Castle of the Living Dead was Michael Reeves. Paul Maslansky met Reeves previously on the set of The Long Ships (1964) and invited him to work on Castle of the Living Dead. Reeves is credited as an assistant director on the film, but rumours have spread since his premature death that he had done more on the film including that he had shot al the sequences at the Parco dei Mostri while others have said he took over the production nine days into shooting the film. Maslansky spoke in 1999 that the rumours of him directing the film were untrue and that he remained on second unit for the entire film. Kiefer's second unit director Frederick Muller that the film was entirely directed by Kiefer without Reeves presence. Kiefer also stated that Reeves had not had anything to do with the directing in the film.

Castle of the Living Dead Castle of the Living Dead DVD

The film was shot in five weeks at Castello Orsini-Odescalchi and Bomarzo in Italy. Kiefer estimated the budget as $135,000 while Paul Maslansky stated it was $125,000. To speed up the production, Kiefer and Maslansky set each room they were shooting in the castle in order so after one scene was filmed, the next room in the castle would be ready for the following scene.

In Tim Lucas' book Mario Bava, All the Colours of the Dark, an interview with Luciano Pigozzi states that Mario Bava created a special effect for the film involving a large sailing ship. There is no scene in the film involving boats and Lucas has assumed that this effect would show up when the film was shown at its proper aspect ratio or that the scene had been cut. Muller had later noted that he did not recall seeing Mario Bava on the set ever.


  • Christopher Lee as Count Drago
  • Gaia Germani as Laura
  • Philippe Leroy as Eric
  • Mirko Valentin as Sandro
  • Donald Sutherland as Sgt. Paul / The witch / The old man
  • Antonio De Martino as Nick
  • Luciano Pigozzi as Dart
  • Luigi Bonos as Marc
  • Ennio Antonelli as Gianni
  • Jacques Stany as Bruno
  • Renato Terra Caizzi as Policeman
  • Release

    Castle of the Living Dead was released in Italy through distributor Cineriz on August 5, 1964. The film grossed a total of 103.5 million Italian lira on its theatrical run in Italy. The film was released in 1965 in the United States where it was distributed by The Woolner Brothers.


    From a contemporary review, the Monthly Film Bulletin described the film as "standard Gothic fare, distinguished only by the presence of Christopher Lee as a mad Count"

    In a retrospective review, TV Guide gave the film two stars out of five, noting the scenes involving the circus performers' various talents and Donald Sutherland role in three different roles.


    Castle of the Living Dead Wikipedia