Directed by: Antonio Margheriti
Actors: Barbara Steele, George Ardisson, Halina Zalewska
Language: Italian (English dubbed)
Also known as: I lunghi capelli della morte, La sorcière sanglante, A Máscara do Demônio, Hævnens flammer, The Long Hair of Death
Description: The young Count Kurt with force married on Elizabeth, the daughter of a witch burned at the stake, which has been accused for a crime committed by him. When at his castle suddenly appeared Mary, he kindled a new criminal passion. He decided to kill Elizabeth, entered into an agreement for this purpose with his new mistress and not knowing that the curse imposed on his family by the burned innocent woman has already started to come true.
Review: Sometime in the 16th century a woman is burned by the stake accused of being a witch and murdering the Count Humboldt’s brother. Her death is watched by her two daughters, the oldest one (Barbare Steele) even trying to safe her mother by giving herself to the Count. All to no avail. The daughter is murdered by the Count and the mother dies in flames, cursing the Count and his family as her final action.
Years later the woman’s youngest daughter has grown into a beautiful woman and is married to the Count’s son. But one day a strange sensous woman (Barbara Steele) turns up at the Castle’s gates, looking eerily like the dead daughter of the woman burned on the stake…
Antonio Margheriti (the direcotr of Flesh for Frankenstein and Naked You Die ) was perharps the third most important diector of Italian gothic horror in the 1960’s (the other two being Mario Bava and Riccardo Freda). His I LUNGHI CAPELLI DELLA MORTE / THE LONG HAIR OF DEATH is in my opinion his best and most atmospheric film of the period next to DANZA MACABRE/ CASTLE OF BLOOD (1963), fully taking advantage of Barbara Steele as the main character.
“Long Hair of Death” – the third gothic horror film talented Italian director Antonio Margheriti. This film he deliberately filmed in black and white, because we believe that it is better to sent a grim and frightening atmosphere. And it’s hard to disagree. Margheriti also said that this film is more than a historical mystery, and in this I agree with him.
The film is set in the Europe of the XV century, during the wild religious obscurantism. In the prologue, we see a woman accused of witchcraft and prepare to burn her at the stake. Her eldest daughter, Helen (Barbara Steele) tries to save the mother and tell Graf von Humboldt truth about his son Kurt (George Ardisson who played in Sedicianni), but that are only interested in its own lust. Mother burned at the stake, but before she died she cursed race Humboldt and the entire city, predicting his plague and suffering. A little later the Count kills and Helen, as the only witness to his crimes. Youngest daughter burned Elizabeth (Galina Zalevskaja) take on education in the count’s house. As time grows out of it pretty lady, and the son of Count Kurt wishes against her will to get married. Meanwhile, the city hit all kinds of misfortune and the plague that has pushed the elderly Count Humboldt approve the marriage of Kurt and Elizabeth. After some time in their house gets kind of Mary, which is like two drops of water similar to that Elena and killed immediately “charms” with their enchantments Kurt, but he still does not know what this woman is and what its true agenda regarding his person …
As you can see, the movie is really similar to something historical, but in the final will still mystic and denouement of the story itself is quite interesting and effective, albeit predictable. As it should be in the genre of gothic horror, the plot develops very slowly and the picture has a little action, for which the director has paid more attention to the creation of a dark hypnotic atmosphere, rather than literacy scenario. Unfortunately, most of the film really looks like some historical tape, but with the atmosphere of gothic horror. The director has allocated too much screen time to all these intrigues in the family Humboldt, cunning Count, his son, and Mary and Kurt plans to assassinate Elizabeth. Of course, it all looks with interest, but I expected more from this mystery of creation, and it is almost there.
In visual terms the picture is flawless, like other gothic horror Margheriti. He did absolutely the right thing when it decided to remove the creature in black and white, for so it really gives some kind of ancient and covered with a dark secret ancient. The town and its surroundings, the castle with its secret passages and ancient attire look amazing. The director creates a whimsical play of shadows, twilight reigns everywhere, giving each subject in the castle a mysterious effect. So it seems that now the corner or behind the wardrobe will be a ghost. The scenes in the tomb also great, especially the one in which elderly Earl sits at the grave of a rotting corpse, and he starts to move.