The Blancheville monster was released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video as part of the four-movie limited edition Fantastic Gothic box set due out October 17, 2022.
“While revolutionary director Mario Bava (black Sunday, black sabbath) remains the best-known purveyor of Italian gothic horror, many other filmmakers dabbled in the form throughout the 1960s in an extremely prolific and popular cycle. Fantastic Gothic presents four off-the-beaten-track titles from this classic period, all of which demonstrate Italy’s ability to expand the genre beyond the classic literary monsters that dominated elsewhere.
Madness, obsession, and disorganized families are the order of the day in these four lesser-known monochrome gems from the heyday of Italian Gothic, now fully restored in 2K from their original negatives for the first time and shown to sides of an array of in-depth extras.
In the meantime, here’s our previous coverage of the film from November 2013:
The Blancheville monster is a 1963 Italian/Spanish horror film directed by Alberto De Martino [as Martin Herbert] (formula for murder; blood bond; Holocaust 2000; The Antichrist) from a screenplay written by Bruno Corbucci, Sergio Corbucci and Giovanni Grimald, allegedly based on an (uncredited) story by Edgar Allan Poe. Produced by Alberto Aguilera. Also released as Horror
The film stars Helga Liné (Horror Express, the Dracula saga, Loreley’s Grip), Gérard Tichy (Rooms), Leo Anchoriz and Ombretta Colli.
The original version takes place in Scotland, however, the American version chose to transpose the events to Brittany, France.
1884: Emily Blackford returns to her ancestral home after finishing school to find that her brother has fired all the staff and all the new servants are acting suspiciously. Her father – whom she believed to have been killed in a fire – is discovered alive but “horribly disfigured” and driven insane. The family keeps him locked up in the tower.
It turns out there’s a curse on the Blackford line, and their father thinks the curse can only be broken if Emily is killed before her 21st birthday…
“It’s filled with tedious exhibits and moves at a breakneck pace. Even ardent gothic horror fans may struggle to find many exceptions, save for the beautiful, but eerie, architecture of the old castle itself. And although Edgar Allan Poe’s name is attached to its original title, the film has little or nothing to do with its stories. B&S on movies
“The film drags at times and leans more towards mystery than horror, but it’s an atmospheric late-night chiller that fans of 60s Italian goth won’t want to be without. The eerie music is by Carlo Franci, who also composed many gladiator films.DVD player
“Horror is rather mournfully paced and could have enjoyed at least ten minutes of shaved 90 minutes. Gratifyingly, however, De Martino sets the mood on thick…” Jonathan Rigby, Euro Gothic: classics of continental horror cinema
“Fun aspects here include Roderick’s great harpsichord playing; some fantastic scenery including the old mansion and ruined abbey nearby; a great spookshow sequence with Lady Blancheville’s friend wandering the dark mansion and finding her way to the tower with some truly spooky moments; and the scooby-doo mystery of the man with the scarred face, which wasn’t too hard to figure out but still fun…” Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies
“Alberto De Martino creates grand Gothic images – the hooded, burnt figure of the father hovering over Ombretta Colli’s bed; Ombretta wandering in the park in a nightgown with candelabra […] On the other hand, Alberto De Martino shows that he is Mario Bava nowhere apart from these scenes where the film slows down and becomes prosaic and talkative. Moria
“Playing with Better Managed Ideas at Hammer Films” Mind Demons (1972), the Scooby-Doo-esque mystery uncharacteristically juggles multiple love triangles and struggles to settle on a definitive protagonist. Initially, the plot seems to center on Emily and John, but it turns out that it’s Alice doing the detective work while being wooed by two devious suitors. It all unfolds amiably if unspectacularly before bowing out with a rather suspenseful climax. The rotating image
‘… solid midnight viewing thanks to its excellent theatrics and heartwarming adherence to genre conventions. Best Scene: Blancheville’s family and friends bury poor Emily…unfortunately they don’t realize she’s still alive.’ The trap of terror
“The Blancheville monster is quite atmospheric and it enjoys a lot of amazing spooky castles and seductive ladies. Some scenes are really good. But overall, well, it’s nothing special.
“The Blancheville monster doesn’t have much to offer other than De Martino’s capable direction, atmospheric sets (including the ruined monastery that would be featured in 1970s Spanish horror movies), and Alejandro’s atmospheric lighting Ulloa […] the gruesome moments, so to speak, are also quite awkward with a grotesque-looking monster and naïve shock cuts underlined by Carlo Franci’s melodramatic score…” Roberto Curti, Italian Gothic Horror Films, 1957 – 1969