Castle of Blood/Danse Macabre

“‘Tonight you won't be so lonely,' she whispers to a young journalist spending the night in an abandoned castle - and late that night she comes to him and they make love. Afterwards, he puts his head lovingly against her breast. ‘Funny,' he says, ‘I can't hear your heart.' ‘That's right, Allen,' she replies. ‘My heart isn't beating. I'm dead, Allen, dead!'

“Based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe (‘Danse Macabre'), and featuring none other than Poe himself in the prologue, Castle Of Blood is one of Steele's most successful Italian horrors. She plays a seductive ghost - so seductive, in fact, that the ending of the film is magnificently ambivalent: the hero dies, which is sad, but he gets to spend eternity with Steele - which isn't a bad deal. American censors cut a lot of lesbian scenes, but there's enough left to give us a fairly good idea of what director Antonio Margheriti (aka Anthony Dawson; the game in those days was to avoid any hint that the film might be Italian) had in mind. ‘Margaret Robsham didn't want to kiss me,' recalls Steele. ‘You know, she is Ugo Tognazzi's wife and didn't want to do this part. She fought with the director. He wanted her to just do the part, but she said she couldn't kiss a woman. Margheriti was furious. He said, “Just pretend you are kissing Ugo and not Barbara!” I don't know what it looked like on the screen, I never saw it....' Steele was never lovelier; nor more touching; nor more vulnerable. She's enough to make you want to die....”

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