Cardiff / Comedy / Fantasy / Film / Horror / Romance / Victoriana / Wales

A monster of a night in a spooky castle – with real bats

Frank picThe Monster carries his victim into a spooky cave, and a fake bat on a string flaps in front of him, just as real bats flit more convincingly in front the screen.

Special effects? Nature can provide something much more special, when films are shown in unusual locations. In this case, it was the 1935 classic Bride of Frankenstein in the eery night-time setting of Castell Coch on Sunday (February 2 2014), complete with its resident bat population.

Part of the Darkened Rooms project with Cardiff’s Chapter arts centre and CADW, this was one of several screenings of great films in South Wales castles, dubbed Movies at Monuments.bat pic

Last October, I raved (and punned) about Hammer’s Dracula in the undercroft of Cardiff Castle. This was even better – although we were “in” Castell Coch, that only means in the courtyard, still exposed to nature (thankfully, just cold and bats, rather than rain or hail, which might have dampened our enthusiasm).

This “fairy tale” castle on a wooded hill is a spooky location on a winter’s night, and this really is one of the great horror films. The second and best of Universal’s Frankenstein series, it’s still moving, (intentionally) funny, and suspenseful, nearly 80 years after it was made.

It tells of Frankenstein’s creation, played by Boris Karloff, vainly seeking friendship and love, while avoiding angry villagers, and occasionally consoling himself with a cigar and a glass of booze – “Drink. Good.”

I guess being called ‘The Monster’ isn’t going to do much for your self-esteem, and when the woman who was literally made for him screams at first sight, well there’s not much left to hope for.

Wait! Is that a lever that will vaporise us all? Oh dear.

Congratulations and thanks to Chapter, Darkened Rooms and CADW for making this happen. And to students from the University of South Wales for some highly suitable visual and sound effects, including the bat projection, above, photographed by Helen Byrne.

Here’s to the next time. “Film. In castle. Good.”

Enjoy this sort of thing? You may like these previous posts: Dracula in a castle; the Wolfman of Wales; and Peter Cushing and bloody great moth.


3 thoughts on “A monster of a night in a spooky castle – with real bats

  1. Pingback: Dr Frankenstein, I presume | PieceOf PinkPie

  2. Pingback: Attractive government agents, and creatures on the streets: it’s Cops and Monsters | PieceOf PinkPie

  3. Pingback: Monstrous times, but no Frankenstein in this smart reimagining | PieceOf PinkPie

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