Set in 17th or 18th century Germany, satanist Count Regula (horror icon Christopher Lee) is sentenced to death for killing twelve virgins in his dungeon torture chamber. 35 years later things get weird, when the Count rises undead from his glass coffin to take revenge on the son of the guy who sentenced him (Lex Barker – a decade after playing Tarzan) and the daughter of his intended 13th victim (Euro goddess Karin Dor), to somehow gain eternal life. Christopher Lee is a true acting legend. Words can’t begin to describe just how cool this guy is, and fans of Gothic atmosphere and 1960’s horror should not be disappointed in this film. Tagline: BEAUTIES! The Prey of a Monster’s Desires! UNBELIEVABLE! Until you see it with your own eyes!
Sure, I admit it, this obscure German film is a bit incoherent maybe, and Lee definitely should’ve had more screen time in it. But whoa momma, it’s just so damn entertaining!! The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism is a visually stunning horror movie with colorful set designs, a cool plot and spooky atmosphere. It’s loosely (!) based on Edgar Allan Poe’s story “Pit and the Pendulum”, but more directly influenced by the old Hammer films and the Italian Gothic horror films by Mario Bava – with snakes, skulls, drippy stone walls, green blood, torture devices and other bizarre stuff. Plus Christopher Lee is extremely evil here, and Count Recula sort of sounds like Dracula. That’s nice. Okay okay, director Harald Reinl is no Mario Bava, and the film was probably made to cash in on the success of Roger Corman’s Poe films with Vincent Price. But it has the best Pendulum scene ever – and it’s just a cool, old fashioned fright film and I had a good time with it. End of story.
(“Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel”)
Aka. Castle of the Walking Dead
Release year: 1967
Director: Harald Reinl