Lucious Clark (Rudolf Fernau) has rented Blackmoor Castle from the lord of the manor Edgar Blackmoor (Walter Giller). Expecting to be knighted by the Queen, Lucious is having a dinner party to celebrate. Outside the dogs are raising a ruckus. A masked man is prowling around the grounds. He kills one man and sneaks away. Later after everyone has gone he sneaks into the house and confronts Lucious looking for some diamonds that were stolen years ago and to avenge the death of a man named Charles Manning. Lucious refuses to give them up. The hooded man is interrupted by an approaching car. He flees through the garden door.
Lucious’ niece Claridge Dorsett (Karin Dorr) has just returned from work as a reporter. The next day the body of the groundskeeper is found. He had been strangled and the letter M has been carved on his forehead. Scotland Yard arrives in the form of Inspector Jeff Mitchell (Harry Riebauer) and his assistant Watson (Gerhard Hartig). While they are at the manor house a call comes in for Lucious. Inspector Mitchell finds out that the call came from The Old Scavenger Inn.
Lucious has some outstanding debts that he needs to clear up. The Inn is run by Mr. Tavish (Hans Nielsen) and is a front for a diamond fencing operation. Lucious’ butler Anthony (Dieter Eppler) is an ex-con diamond cutter. Lucious has been giving the raw diamonds to Anthony to cut. He then sends them to the Inn. They have been buying the diamonds from Lucious. With the strangler in the picture the diamonds have not been getting to the fence. Anthony is also a little off his rocker and wants to keep the shiny diamonds that he created.
The fence is now threatening Lucious. Anthony is also threatening Lucious and so it the mystery strangler. And people are getting strangled branded and in some cases beheaded left and right. When Lucious suffers a heart attack and dies everyone looks at Claridge thinking that maybe she knows where the diamonds are.
“The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle” was released in 1963 and was directed by Harald Reini. The movie is a German made film based in England. Better known as a krimi or Crime Thriller, it is based on a novel by Bryan Edgar Wallace, the son of Edgar Wallace the king of the krimis.
The music score is a little strange. It was done by Oskar Sala. He also did the electronic sounds for Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Sala was known for inventing an instrument called the mixture-trautonium in 1929. It was one of the first electronic musical instruments and the precursor to the synthesizer. Sala was the only person who could play it properly. Much of the music for “The Strangler of Blackmoor Castle” reminded me a little of the electronic tonalities done by Bebe and Louis Barron for “Forbidden Planet” 1956.
The main star of the film is Karin Dorr. She is well known in some circles as the first German Bond girl in “You Only Live Twice” 1967. She also worked with Alfred Hitchcock in “Topaz” 1969. She was also married to the director Harald Reini at the time the movie was made. She married him when she was sixteen.
The comic relief was in the form of the kilt wearing lord of the manor. He wasn’t funny. They also tossed in a sidekick kid named Philip (Stephen Schwartz) or “Phips” as he was nicknamed. He was basically immaterial to the film. The movie itself was sufficiently creepy. Everything on a moor is creepy and everything in a crumbling castle is creepy. Despite its drawbacks it was an enjoyable film. It was a little confusing at times and there were lots of characters and a couple red herrings tossed in but otherwise it ended up being interesting.