The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism: Reviewed - Roger Corman m

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Charles Prepolec's picture
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Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism (1967)

Recently watched this amusing little 1967 German flick for the first time, the above title was it's US television title. Originally released in the US and UK as The Blood Demon, while it's German title is Die Schlangengrube und Das Pendel, which literally translates to The Snakepit and the Pendulum. Quite a fitting title as it is loosely based on Poe's The Pit and the Pendulum. An odd film that seemed to be a sort of German take on a mixture of Bava with one of Corman's AIP Poe efforts.

Count Regula (Christopher Lee) is drawn and quartered for the death of 12 maidens, but swears his revenge. 35 years later a disparate group ends up at the Counts ruined castle. The 4 travelers are Baroness Lillian (Karin Dor of Bond fame), her maid Babette, Roger (Lex Barker, former Tarzan and a huge star in Germany) and the monk Fabian (a hilarious turn from Vladimir Medar). As it turns out, Roger and the Baroness are the descendants of the folks that originally put the Count to death and he wants revenge. The crazed servant Anatol lures them to the castle and reanimates the Count. The Poe elements then come into play as Roger faces a deadly pendulum and Lillian is faced with a pit full of snakes. Do they foil the reanimated Count or meet their doom? Check this fun film out to see for yourself!

I expected this to be a really poor film, but was very surprised to find that I enjoyed it tremendously from start to finish. Christopher Lee's performance is all menace, but with just a smattering of black humour to keep things moving. Lex Barker, more than a decade after playing Tarzan, looks great and is a perfect heroic figure. Karin Dor is lovely and does a fair bit of over the top shrieking, but still manages to give a convincing performance. This was a whole lot of fun! A bit of dark humour, Grimm's fairytale mixed with a Mario Bava sensibility and a little Poe thrown in for good measure makes for a superior European horror flick. Hopefully a nicer print will turn up or a DVD release (right up the Image label alley, I should think), as the Magnum Entertainment video that I viewed was murky, faded and very badly edited.

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Anthony's picture
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This film is definitely a rare gem. I remember years ago as a kid I saw it listed in the TV Guide on WOR New York 9 as TORTURE CHAMBER OF DR. BLOOD. It was on at 5:30am and I wanted to watch it before catching the school bus but I overslept. Ah, the good old days before VCR's. This film has a great atmosphere to it and I especially like that eerie carriage ride through the forrest. I've always enjoyed Karin Dor on celluloid, but I could never get any current info on her from any source, until last summer at Classic Filmfest (FANEX) when I had an opportunity to meet Paul Naschy who co-starred with Dor in ASSIGNMENT:TERROR. He said he believes she passed away a few years ago. I haven't been able to confirm this, but that would be unfortunate. TORTURE CHAMBER is a must see on a very dark, cold, dreary day.



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(Edited by randy at 12:20 am on Mar. 20, 2001)



Alfonso Casal's picture
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Quote:
Quote: from Anthony on 7:31 am on Feb. 6, 2001
Paul Naschy who co-starred with Dor in ASSIGNMENT:TERROR. He said he believes she passed away a few years ago. I haven't been able to confirm this, but that would be unfortunate.

Yes, Anthony, Karin Dor (who fell for to the the ol' Blofeld surprise victim trick in YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE) did pass away a few years ago.  Tragic.  She was a fine actress and a beautiful woman.

(Edited by Alfonso at 10:36 am on Feb. 6, 2001)



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I saw this movie when I was 11 years old and I still remember it quite well. Having been introduced to Christopher Lee by DRACULA, PRINCE OF DARKNESS, I had a fit to go see this movie. Problem was it was at the drive-in as a midnight double feature. It was playing along with DIE,MONSTER,DIE!, a not so special Boris Karloff flick. Of course, THE BLOOD DEMON was the second feature. My grandfather (thank God for his kindness)took me and sat up all night so I could see my new hero. Haven't seen it since, but I remember just about everything Charles described. That drive through the forest WAS spooky, with all those "bits and pieces" in the trees. Didn't Count Regula need the blood of twelve virgins to gain immortality?
Ooh, I need to see this one again.



Charles Prepolec's picture
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Quote:
Didn't Count Regula need the blood of twelve virgins to gain immortality?

Yup, hence my reference to the death of twelve "maidens". Maidens being a lovely archaism(if that is a word) for virgin.

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A Harmonious Deletion.

(Edited by CharlesC at 5:41 am on Feb. 11, 2001)



Charles Prepolec's picture
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Freud? Give the man a cigar and send him to visit his mother!

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Hi Rebecca D. I'm really jealous! I would have loved to see that double-feature at the drive-in! Unfortunately, I was only a year old back then. My earliest ozoner memories date back to THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT (1975). I can just imagine viewing that creepy trek to Count Regula's castle under the stars late at night. I still support my local drive-in (so glad it's hanging in there!) but instead of watching great acting by Christopher Lee, it's usually a bunch of explosions :here: and a dumb plot ozey:

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What attracted me to this topic is the word 'sadism'...

I've never heard or seen this movie before, and I don't think I will ever find it in Australia.

From the word 'sadism', I presume that this movie is related to Freudian concepts (Yeahhhh!!!!!!!)

You are all lucky that I haven't seen it!!!!!

May Freud Rest in Peace...



Anthony's picture
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Dali-I'm just curious-are there any drive-in movie theatres down under? All of the Hammer films thrived at American drive-in theatres during the sixties. I'm just wondering how popular these films were in Australia. Americans tend to move on and sweep history away. No respect at all. These great theatres from days past are dying away and no one seems to care. When I viewed SLEEPY HOLLOW on the big screen last year I doubt the general audience cared that two all-time greats (Mr. Lee & Michael Gough) were up on the big screen. Like I said, no respect for history over here. Hmm, this comment has nothing to do with torture or sadism, but I'm still interested in the fate of Australian drive-in movie theatres. Thanks.

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Rarely do U find drive in theatres in Australia... in fact I only know one place!!!

I better not say anything else otherwise someone will lock the topic!!!!



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Sarcastic comments towards me or any other moderators for doing our job, will not be tolerated ever.

There was no need for that last comment.



randy's picture
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Charles P, did Christopher Lee speak his lines in this film in German or English?  I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm very interested to hear Mr. Lee speak in some other languages.



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Randy , my advice ,check movies out like : 1941 or The last Unicorn....there you can listen to him when he speaks in german. Or Dracula Père et fils.....where he speaks in french (only to pick out some). I´m sure you can also find movies in which he speaks spanish or italian.....but in the moment I can´t give you any examples of those movies. Hmmm !?

And if not in a movie then you could also listen to him doing his acceptance speech in german at the Liftime Achievement Award in Germany !!!! (Just go to the News-page and click on the headline. There you can find a fantasic Video-clip of that !!! )

Steffi



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You can hear Mr. Lee speak in Italian in a number of films, TEMPI DURI PER I VAMPIRI, HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, and L'AVORO, among others.  And in Spanish in HORATIO HORNBLOWER. . . or was that THE CRIMSON PIRATE?  Arrrgh!  Avast!  I gets me pirate flicks confounded!



randy's picture
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Thanks Steffi and Alfonso.  Can anybody give me any leads as to where on the web I might be able to order these films in their original languages?  



Alfonso Casal's picture
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For the more obscure, Italian vids, www.videojunkie.com has always worked for me.

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I remember seeing this film a long time ago, unfortunately I've never been able to locate it again in the videostores.
It was a good film (Not that I remember much of it),I constantly get it mixed up with 'Terrors from the crypt' film.



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Quote:

You can hear Mr. Lee speak in Italian in a number of films, TEMPI DURI PER I VAMPIRI, HERCULES IN THE HAUNTED WORLD, and L'AVORO, among others.  And in Spanish in HORATIO HORNBLOWER. . . or was that THE CRIMSON PIRATE?  Arrrgh!  Avast!  I gets me pirate flicks confounded!

Try moviesunlimited.com
also search engine google.com using the title of a movie usually gets several hits... Example: I was looking for a 1977 Dracula Film starring Louis Jourdan made by BBC and google got me to a horror film web page with rare classics... Anything is attainable with the right tool.Cool



Frederick Bergstrom's picture
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Torture chamber of Dr. Sadism AKA Blood Demon AKA Castle of the Walking dead is one of my faves. The first time i saw it in the mid eighties it was on Elvira and i just wanted her to shut up and stop dissing this movie that i was really enjoying. I taped it and the sound from my vcr was off or down or something cause i had to blast it to hear any dialouge. I would go to the ends of the earth to get this on DVD I love this movie so much. I have bought it on tape twice once from Star Classics and last fall the magnum one at a store in times square. I was hoping it would be better quality than the one i already had on video but both are equally awful. Great, Great movie if no one has seen it yet.



horror express's picture
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is NOT dead !

She's well & living in L.A.

This was disturbing to read Sad



Jacob Remery's picture
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Re: The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism: Reviewed - Roger Corman m

As someone posted on a Dutch movie forum, there will be a new dvd release from this movie in Germany : Die Schlangengrube und das Pendel.

http://www.e-m-s.de/dvd.asp?name=115901
( It's same company who will do the new The Whip And The Body release. )


KAUF-DVD

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Charles Prepolec's picture
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Re: The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism: Reviewed - Roger Corman m

Woo hoo! I may have to order this DVD. Something rather fun about the film...and it has extras too! Thanks JAcob!

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Re: The Torture Chamber of Dr. Sadism: Reviewed - Roger Corman m

Here's a review, for the ones who are interested, from the US release, which comes with 3 other titles.

http://www.dvddrive-in.com/reviews/n-s/superchillerblood737467.htm

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