Virgin of Nuremberg, The / La vergine di Norimberga (1963)

4.5 out of 5

A masked diabolical madman resides deep down within the bowels of a Gothic castle preying on unsuspecting female victims and dispatching them in the confines of a long abandoned medieval torture chamber. Who is this maniac? And who shall next fall prey to his murderous whim?

Antonio Margheriti is a true master of the macabre, second to the great Mario Bava. Here his use of lighting, shadowplay, eerie sound effects, and vibrant colours all combine to produce a complex and visually stunning and heavily atmospheric period Gothic horror/mystery classic. Add to this already rich tapestry an amazing score by Riz Ortolani, a subplot involving Nazi WW2 war crimes, some great and sometimes quite gory death scenes, great performances which include the legendary Christopher Lee as a hideously scarred servant, stunning and beautiful period detail which often surpasses some of Hammer's finer achievements and Italy has a masterpiece to be proud of.

The only films flaw involves a couple of shots of some rather poorly constructed models, otherwise the film is gold.

Maurizio Merli header graphic courtesy of Paddy O'Neill of Foxyfide Graphics