Adele Karnstein (Halina Zalewska) has been condemned as a witch and is to be burned. Her oldest daughter, Helen Rochefort (Barbara Steele) pleads with Count Humboldt (Giuliano Raffaelli) for mercy until she can find proof that her mother is innocent and is willing to do anything if the Count will spare her mother. As the Count is raping Helen the ritual goes on. Before she dies Adele curses the Humbolt family and especially the Count’s son Kurt (George Ardisson). Adele’s youngest daughter Lisabeth Karnstein watches. Later the Count kills Helen so that she can’t reveal what she knows. Lisabeth’s nurse Grumalda (Laura Nucci) tells Lisabeth that Adele’s ashes are secretly buried with Helen’s body.

Lisabeth goes to live with the Humbolt family. Years later she is a beautiful young woman. Kurt wants Lisabeth (Halina Zalewska) but she hates him. The Count wants Kurt to stay away from Lisabeth. Kurt gets angry and tells his father that he was the one that killed the Count’s brother so his father could inherit and that Adele was really innocent. Count Humboldt begins to slowly go insane. Kurt forces Lisabeth to marry him as a plague descends upon the city.

During a thunderstorm, while praying in the chapel, the old count dies. The doors swing open and a woman walks in and passes out. When she awakes she doesn’t remember much other than her name is Mary (Barbara Steele) and that she was traveling to find her father. Lisabeth and Kurt convince her to stay while the plague is raging. Kurt then starts to lust after Mary and plots to kill Lisabeth. What Kurt doesn’t know is that Mary is the reincarnation of Adele and is out for revenge.

“The Long Hair of Death” AKA “I lunghi capelli della morte” was released in 1965 and was directed by Antonio Margheriti. It is an Italian gothic horror film.

I will admit that the first time I saw this movie I was confused and felt that it was boring. Kurt and Mary spent a lot of time and effort in making it look like Lisabeth suffocated when a pillow would have been sufficient. Some of my confusion also came from people playing more than one part. Halina Zalewka is Adele and her daughter but Barbara Steele is also Adele’s daughter and Lisabeth’s sister as well as a stranger named Mary who is actually Adele resurrected but looks like Helen. In addition Adele was innocent but still a witch since she cursed the family and brought on a plague and came back from the dead. Once you get lost in trying to figure out the plot it’s tough to enjoy the movie.

On seeing it again I found it to be full of freaky gothic atmosphere and wickedly creepy. The film is still slow going in most places and why they called it “Long Hair of Death” was another part that eluded me. The movie itself wasn’t a whole lot better than the first time seeing it but I was able to appreciate and enjoy the music score and the cinematography much more the second time around. I also liked the ending where all the bad people get their comeuppance. It just seemed to take a long time to get there.

Much of the movie was filmed at Massimo Castle in Arsoli, Italy. The castle dates back to the 10th century when it was a monastery for the Subiaco Benedictine Monks. In 1574 it was purchased by Fabrizio Massimo who restored it with the help of an architect named Giacomo Della Porta. Today the castle is used for various public events as well as banquets and weddings.