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Movie Review Rough Draft: The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle (1963)

Charles Rector's Weblog; May. 7, 2011; By Charles Rector
Type: Review

Although he is not all that well remembered today, Edgar Wallace
(1875-1932) was one of the most prominent novelists of his time.
Wallace was the creator of, among other things, the Green Archer aka
the Green Arrow comic book character and of both the J.G. Reeder
detective novels and of the greatest cinema gorilla of all time, King
Kong. Wallace's legacy was continued by his successful novelist son,
Bryan Edgar Wallace (1904-1971) who wrote many successful novels one
of which was "The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle."

Despite its English language name and the fact that the original novel
was written in English, this movie was a German production under the
German name of "Der Wurger von Schlob Blackmoor." It was made in
glorious black and white in 1963 when black and white movies were
going out of style. However, given the character of this movie, black
and white footage is a definite plus since it heightens the fear,
mystery & suspense in a way that color film fails to do.

The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle is basically a gothic mystery
suspense thriller that comes with a dose of genuine terror. The
atmosphere of this movie is dark and suspenseful.  It is set at
Blackmoor Castle in Britain where one Lucius Clark (Rudolf Fernau)
resides with his niece Claridge Dorsett (Karin Dor). Blackmoor Castle
is a formidable old structure complete with plenty of secret
passageways.  The fog adds menace to the dark of night.  The castle
and its grounds capture the feel of a gothic mystery on film.

The plot revolves around a masked killer who stalks his victims both in and
around Blackmoor Castle.  Although the killer is primarily a
strangler, he also decapitates a pair of his victims, with one of the
decapitations happening on screen.  Additionally, the killer also
carves an "M" on the foreheads of his victims.  The killer is a wily
adversary of the police.  As with other films of this sort, there a
great many suspects as to who could be the killer.

Despite the fact that The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle was originally
a German production the dialog of which was dubbed into English, the
movie works very well. This movie involves a strong combination of
mystery, suspense & horror. It makes for pretty involving viewing. In
addition to the strong plot and screenplay, it is very well directed
and has some decent photography. The overall level of the acting is
very good and the music is moody and really adds to the suspense in
the movie.  This is a movie that is best seen at night, preferably
with the lights off.  All in all, The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle
comes very well recommended.

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