CineSavant Column

Tuesday August 22, 2023



The word on the street is that classic Euro-horror with Barbara Steele is in the works. Severin Films’ David Gregory announced a group of upcoming titles last weekend at an event they hosted.

The eye-opener is a new restoration of Antonio Margheriti’s 1964 shocker Castle of Blood with Barbara Steele, George Rivière and Margrete Robsahm. When written up by European critics the given title is usually the original Italian Danza Macabra or the French Danse Macabre. It’s the horror tale of a man who takes a bet from Edgar Allan Poe to spend the night in a creepy house, where ghosts replay a ghastly murder.

What’s more, the new restoration is said to be going forth in both Blu-ray AND  4K Ultra HD.

21 years ago we reviewed a Synapse DVD of Castle of Blood that had a passable image and included for the first time a censored scene we thought we’d never see. Back in 2015 at Stuart Galbraith’s World Cinema Paradise I reviewed a Severin Blu-ray of Nightmare Castle (L’Amanti d’oltretomba) that included a couple of bonus features, one of which was a decent HD transfer of Castle of Blood from a good-looking Woolner Bros. print. But alas, no uncut European scenes.

Severin has been stepping up its remarkable Eurohorror restorations for years now — let’s hope they’ve got something really special for us in the pipeline, versions and languages-wise. This title is well-remembered — about 20 years ago we were able to see a (pretty crummy) copy at the American Cinematheque, attended by Ms. Steele herself. Yes, that was fun and special.



Yet another topic CineSavant’s been harping on for years is how classic Sci-fi pointed to ‘future anxieties,’ such as the kind of climate trepidation we’re now feeling. The watchful David J. Schow came across this new (August 14) BBC Culture shout-out to one of the most prescient films of the 1960s, Val Guest & Wolf Mankowitz’s The Day the Earth Caught Fire: The 1961 film that predicted a ‘boiling planet’. The brief article was written by Gregory Wakeman.

We thank David, and tout our own reviews of the excellent Blu-ray discs that are available, from The BFI and KL Studio Classics.


Thanks for reading! — Glenn Erickson