Italian film locations: Il Castello di Balsorano

Il Castello di Balsorano
Il Castello di Balsorano

Anyone who’s watched more than a handful of Italian genre films will be familiar with Il Castello di Balsorano.  An imposing structure, situated midway between Marsica and Valle Roveto in Abruzzo, it was built in 1470 on the remains of a previous fortification in the centre of a substantial park area.

From the early 1960s onwards, it became a popular film location.  It was a staple in gothic horror films, from early examples such as The Bloody Pit of Horror and Crypt of the Vampire to later genre outings such as The Reincarnation of Isabel and The Devils Wedding Night…  what you might notice from these examples is that it was particularly favoured by films at the lower end of the production scale with directors like Renato Polselli, Massimo Pupillo, Luigi Batzella and Angelo Dorigo (who shot both of his obscure early giallos, A come assassino and Assassino senza volto there)).

Il Castello di Balsorano

It later became a fixture in decameroticons, featuing in the likes of Continuavano a mettere lo diavolo ne lo inferno, Metti lo diavolo tuo ne lo mio inferno and Tales of Canterbury.

The most popular films it appeared in  – in Italy, at any rate – were comedies such as Bollenti spiriti (in which it – as well as a sex mad ghost that lives within it – are inherited by Johnny Dorelli) and the Franco and Ciccio vhicle Farfallon.  Although these are of possibly less interest to cult film afficionados than the likes of Sister Emanuelle and Malabimba, which were also filmed there.

According to Carla Mancina, it was also a hotel at the time most of these films were made, which meant that crews would also stay there while filming, and there was some talk of it being haunted (she recalls one occassion in which an unnamed actress claimed to have been raped by the ghost during the night!)

About Matt Blake 876 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.

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