Rent The Haunted Castle (1921)

3.1 of 5 from 55 ratings
1h 22min
Rent The Haunted Castle (aka Schloss Vogelod) Online DVD & Blu-ray Rental
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One of the earliest (and eeriest) works by the legendary filmmaker F. W. Murnau, 'Schloss Vogelod: Die Enthiillung eines Geheimnisses (Castle Vogelod: The Revelation of a Secret, often referred to as The Haunted Castle) provides a vital glimpse into the development of the uncanny-suffused expressionistic style that became Murnau's hallmark and legacy. A party of aristocrats assemble at a country manor for an autumn hunt.
But a long-lingering question threatens once more to rear its head: who really murdered the Baroness's late husband? With a riveting nightmare sequence that foreshadows the nocturnal fantasias of both Nosferatu and Phantom, and a masquerade conceit that looks backward to Feuillade and forward to Murnau's own Die Finanzen des Grossherzogs, this languorous mood-piece represents the latent material that will figure into a master director's later breakthroughs.
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Erich Pommer
Rudolf Stratz, Carl Mayer
Schloss Vogelod
Classics, Drama, Horror
Germany, Classics, Drama, Horror
Release Date:
Run Time:
82 minutes
German, Silent
DVD Regions:
Region 2
Aspect Ratio:
Full Screen 1.37:1
B & W
  • The Language of the Shadows: Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau and His Films, a 31-minute video piece by Luciano Berriatua on the early works of Murnau

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Reviews (1) of The Haunted Castle

Creaky Old Melodrama - The Haunted Castle review by Count Otto Black

Spoiler Alert

This lesser-known film by one of the masters of German Expressionism is obscure for a reason: it isn't very good. In fact, it's downright dull. A German aristocrat is accused of murdering his brother, an event which we never see because it happened before the film begins, as did the trial and acquittal of his alleged murderer. Since we're told from the start that the Count presumably committed the evil deed because everybody thinks so, it's clear he's such an excessively obvious suspect that the real murderer must have been somebody else. Eventually we find out who, and it doesn't come as much of a surprise. In the meantime, guests at a country house party that isn't any fun at all scowl at each other and become vaguely paranoid because their host murdered his brother. Allegedly.

If you're expecting supernatural happenings along the lines of "Nosferatu", you'll be disappointed. The English-language title is completely misleading, since absolutely no ghostly activity takes place. There aren't any castles either. At one point a minor character has a bad dream lasting less than a minute which has nothing to do with anything, and that's as creepy as it gets. And the twist ending will take very few people by surprise. Oh, it's shot fairly well, there's a certain amount of atmosphere, and this print has been lovingly restored. But we're still looking at 82 minutes of almost nothing happening.

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