Thursday, November 18, 2010

Update: Vampira & CASTLES OF DOOM

I want to continue on the Vampira tangent that I veered towards with my last post. Yesterday, I put up a list of films that were part of Vampira's show; one of the tidbits that I stumbled upon was a listing for the film CASTLES OF DOOM which was shown on December 4, 1954. I couldn't find any information anywhere about a movie by this name, and I speculated that it could have been instead THE CASTLE OF DOOM, the name given for the re-edited English-language-dubbed cut of Carl Theodor Dreyer's haunting and disorienting horror film of 1932, VAMPYR.

I raised my theory about CASTLES OF DOOM over at the Classic Horror Film Board; doctor kiss responded (his post at CHFB is here) with this wonderful find from the Long Beach Independent (CA), December 4th, 1954:

As doctor kiss points out, "this must have been the very first TV screening of VAMPYR in any form." Considering what a well-regarded classic of the horror genre that film is today, this broadcast by Vampira is a historic one, despite the fact that THE CASTLE OF DOOM version of VAMPYR is quite a mangled version of the original.

In that same thread on the Classic Horror Film Board, Jacque Lecotier explained a little bit about the differences between THE CASTLE OF DOOM and VAMPYR (original post here). He speculated that, since there weren't censorship records at the New York State Archives for THE CASTLE OF DOOM, the 60-minute film may have been a used in roadshows, an idea which opens up a whole new avenue for exploring the intersection between exploitation and Expressionism. (Copies of THE CASTLE OF DOOM are available today through less-than-legal dealers in "collector" DVDs, but I recommend the Criterion release of VAMPYR from last year for those who have never seen the film and would like to explore it.)

But one last nagging question: was the CASTLES OF DOOM title for Vampira's broadcast merely the product of typographical error, or was there yet another cut of the film different from THE CASTLE OF DOOM that was shown on Vampira's program?

1 comment:

Mirek said...

Fascinating! Many thanks to Doctor Kiss.