Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, August 2, 2018


George Ardisson and Barbara Steele
THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH (1964). Director: Anthony Dawson (Antonio Margheriti).

Near the end of the fifteenth century, Adele Karnstein is burned as a witch. She was accused of a murder actually committed by the Baron Kurt Humboldt (George Ardisson), who also murdered her older daughter when she confronted him. Some years later Kurt forces the "witch's" other daughter, Lisabeth (Halina Zalewska), to marry him, moving her into his castle. Then along comes a mysterious woman named Mary (Barbara Steele), who bears a striking resemblance to the dead sister, and with whom Kurt becomes obsessed. Becoming her lover, Kurt then importunes Mary to help him get rid of Lisabeth so they can be together forever. But Kurt may not be aware that there may be other deadly plots going on as well ... The Long Hair of Death is an interesting if imperfect film that comes off like a stretched-out episode of, say, Thriller, but it does make good use of medieval settings, tombs, secret passages, and the like, and there are certainly some effective sequences. Although this version has the actors speaking Italian (with sub-titles), most of the international cast are dubbed, meaning we don't get to hear Barbara Steele's great voice. The lead actors give more than adequate performances, and the rest of the cast includes such Italian horror staples as Laura Nucci [The Bloodstained Shadow] as the housekeeper Grumalda, Umberto Raho as Father Yon Klage, and Giuliano Raffaelli as Kurt's father, Count Humboldt. Steele and Raho were also in The Ghost.

Verdict: Low key but fairly absorbing Italian horror film. **1/2. 


angelman66 said...

Big fan of Barbara Steele here, so must check this one out.
Loved when Miss Steele showed up in the revival of Dark Shadows in the early 1990s--she was great!

William said...

Yes, Steele is one of my favorites as well. Hate to hear her dubbed, though.