The Long Hair of Death

Production Year: 1964
Release Date: 12/16/2014
Studio: Raro Video
Director: Antonio Margheriti

After being accused of witchcraft, a poor woman is burnt at the stake at the behest of a king.  One of the supposed witch's daughters (Helen; Barbara Steele) attempts to stop the execution but manages to get herself killed after fornicating with the blood thirsty leader.  The woman's youngest daughter (Lisabeth; Halina Zalewska) is taken away but thankfully spared.  Years later the King's son forces Lisabeth into a marriage she wants no part of and it's all downhill from there.

Before the witch was burnt alive she vowed to have her revenge on the Kingdom.  Now, in what should be the happiest time for the King and his prince, things begin to unravel.  Storms and Plagues haunt the land, as the King is at his very wits end Helen rises from the grave and appears at the castle.  This vision drives the King into madness and unfortunately for him no one else manages to put the pieces together.

The prince falls madly in love with Helen and together the two plan to kill Lisabeth, a decision that will slowly drain the prince of his sanity.  Helen is clearly out to avenge her mother's untimely death and get a bit of revenge for her own murder.  Will she succeed?  

The Long Hair of Death is gothic horror.  Long crumbling corridors, witchcraft, stark imagery, it's a very entrancing film.  The movie is masterfully helmed by Italian legend Antonio Margheriti and has a wonderfully haunting score by Carlo Rustichelli, which manages to be very reminiscent of the ol' Hans and Skinner Universal Monsters scores.  Let's not forget the legendary Barbara Steele who manages to own every scene she's in.  There's a lady with an incredible screen presence.  Overall The Long Hair of the Dead makes for a fantastic watch!

Raro did their part in releasing what's likely the best looking version of this film on home video, but with that said I do want to note that there seems to be a lack of a natural grain structure.  This leaves the image looking soft in spots.  There's a nice contrast however, and overall I was pleased with the look of the film.  The sound is right on part with the picture, offered are two audio tracks (English and Italian) both of which are mono and feature a nice even level between dialogue and Carlo Rustichelli's haunting score.

Video Introduction by Chris Alexander (HD 03:51) - Chris Alexander clearly enjoys Margheriti's gothic opus, the director gives the film quite a bit of praise and relays a few quick tidbits about the film, the director, and a few similar movies.

Interview with Edoardo Margheriti (SD 10:40) - Edoardo (son of Antonio) on The Long Hair of Death!  A number of topics are touched upon with this interview including Margheriti's other films and the director's working relationship with Barbara Steele.

Interview with Antonio Tentori (SD 06:17) - Antonio Tentori (Writer; A Cat in the Brain) gets into the work of the famed director, while there is some time spent on The Long Hair of Death, the writer also spends a bit of time discussing the director's eclectic work.

Italian Trailer (HD 3:34)

US Trailer (HD 3:37)

While some might criticize the film for being "too slow," I feel The Long Hair of Death is an effective little gothic horror flick.  Steele is wonderful as always, Margheriti is on top of his game, and Rustichelli ties everything together with a perfect eerie score.  To date I feel Raro's blu-ray is one of the best releases of the film.  A must own for fans of the director!


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