1963 / 81:00 / B/W / Horror/ Mystery
Director: Roger Corman
Starring: Boris Karloff, Jack Nicholson, Sandra Knight, Dorothy Neuman
A very young Jack Nicholson (6 years before his real leap to fame in Easy Rider) teams up with horror great Boris Karloff in the legend-making Roger Corman "quickie". Nicholson, with the unlikely name Andre Duvalier, plays a young officer in Napoleon's army who becomes obsessed with a beautiful woman, steeped in mystery, and follows her to the isolated coastline castle of an elderly Baron, Von Leppe (Karloff). Duvalier first sees the haunting Helene (played by Sandra Knight, the director's wife at the time) somewhere along the Baltic Sea. She appears briefly, then is gone. He repeatedly catches glimpses of her and finally tracks her to Karloff's eerie lair. It seems that Baron Karloff, whose grip on reality is tenuously held, is an imposter, having murdered the real Von Leppe years ago. Helene holds the key to it all and when Nicholson tries to rescue her, she literally falls apart in his arms, having been a corpse all along -- corpse delectable as corpus delecti. The stormy climax has Boris and his castle destroyed by a deluging sea.
"Engaging chiller nonsense." Leonard Maltin, film critic
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