Baron Zorn (Robert Hardy) keeps his teenaged children locked up and drugged, fearing that his insane wife passed along a congenital curse to them before her own suicidal death. Elizabeth (Gillian Hills) escapes for a brief tryst with a local before being recaptured and subjected to a bleeding process to "draw out the bad blood". Emil (Shane Briant) keeps trying to escape, but is thwarted time and again by his Aunt Hilda (Yvonne Mitchell), who runs the house like a prison. One reason the siblings have to be kept apart is their incestuous attraction to each other. Local wenches are being murdered in the woods, and the superstitious peasants think demons are responsible. A wandering Priest (Sir Michael Hordern) dedicates himself to root out the evil, but isn't taken seriously. Arriving at the castle are two more interested parties: Mountebank scientist huckster Falkenberg (Patrick Magee) stands to make a small fortune if his strange apparatus can cure the children of their inherited evil...
They came to torture an agonised mind
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I have been led here, I have work to do. But what?
Although the UK Optimum DVD release restores the 18s of cuts made for the earlier VHS release it is still the cut theatrical version. Missing are the shots of earth being stuffed into Virginia Wetherall's mouth plus other trims to this murder. The murder of Yvonne Mitchell was also shortened by the reduction/removal of a few shots. This cut version is also the one released on the R1 Anchor Bay USA DVD. See more
Referenced in Inside the Tower