THE BLANCHEVILLE MONSTER (1963) is a gothic horror film set in 1884 which has a small cast of characters wandering around a huge castle-like home searching for different things. At times the castle search is for the origin of a strange nighttime noise (Is that a man moaning in pain?) or for a missing companion (Did they go down to the dungeons for some reason?). Sound familiar? But, in the end, everyone is searching for both romance and the answer to a family mystery. Well, usually that’s what happens in these types of movies. Actually, this film throws us several curveballs by, at first, having a haunting mystery at its center (“Oh, you silly dear. You didn’t really see what you clearly saw.”) and then tossing it out for a darker plot involving disfigurement, madness and murderous intent. It all revolves around family curses so at least that aspect of gothic tales is kept all the way through!
Troy and I step carefully through this film’s dark corridors holding our candelabras aloft searching for the meaning of it all. We discuss the Gothic Romance as a genre and I outline my newer understanding of it. We talk about the usual tropes of these tales and the ways in which this one adheres and deviates from them. I was actually shocked that there was no incest! The period setting and real castle locations work well to create a fair amount of atmosphere and the fact that we can almost always see the actor’s breath adds to the chilly mood. It is really a shame that this movie’s status as a Public Domain work continues to keep a good looking print available. The black and white photography cries out for sharp resolution without the dark, muddy smearing that obscures from view the efforts of the legendary cinematographer Alejandro Ulloa. I sincerely hope that we one day get a remastered version of this interesting film. I did I mention that Helga Line is in this? We must get a better print!
We end the show with a new instrumental song called Mystery Machine from Troy’s band The Exotic Ones. This tune is on their forthcoming EP and it drops in the next few days. Check it out! The podcasters can be reached at email@example.com with any comments or suggestions. As is evidenced by this episode we do take advice from listeners, so add your voice to the proceedings. We’re always interested in what Naschy related films we could cover next! Thank you for listening.