Castle of Evil (1966)
Starring: Scott Brady, Virginia Mayo, David Brian, Lisa Gaye and William Thourlby
Director: Francis D. Lyon
Rating: Four of Ten Stars
A mad scientist (Thourlby) invites his relatives to his remote estate where his robot double proceeds to stalk and kill them in order to avenge a disfiguring accident he suffered years before.
I don't usually give away story twists in my teaser summaries, but in the case of "Castle of Evil", it doesn't matter. Despite the rating of 4, I don't recommend that you waste your time with this movie.
Which is too bad, because the script for this film is actually pretty good. It's a great retro-fusion of the "dark old house" and "mad scientist" film genres that flourished in the 1930s and 1940s, and the featured actors all give respectable performances in their various parts.
Unfortunately, the writer and cast are let down by an incompetent director. The staging of every scene is flat and lifeless, no opportunity for padding is left untapped--except for the ending that is inexplicably sudden and abrupt--and all the bad choices sap every bit of life from the film, driving even the most friendly-minded viewer into a stupour of boredom.
I love the "mad scientist" and "dark old house" movies--as the countless reviews of films in those genres here attest to--and I really wanted to like "Castle of Evil". But, it's just too incompently done. That is a terrible shame, because there's an excellent script that went to waste here.
(THIS is the kind of movie that Hollywood big shots sould be remaking, not "Karate Kid" and other movies that were already good. They should show themselves to be REAL artists and filmmakers who, if they are so devoid of creativity that they can't make original films, should at the very least take misfires and give them second chances. Hey, this one is even long out-of-print, so there's another reason to remake it: Audiences can't get easily get the original version if they're so inclined.)