The Balsorano castle is one the all-time greatest and most famous Italian horror movie locations as it was featured in a large number of memorable Italian horror films during the 1960s and 70s.
The castle is located in Balsorano, a small comune in the province the province of L'Aquila in the Abruzzo region of Italy. It was built in 1470 on the remains of a previous fortified structure and is now surrounded by a beautiful green park.
During the 1960s, when gothic horror movies were in vogue in Italy, many of them were shot on location at the Balsorano castle. One of the many popular horror films to be shot there is Massimo Pupillo's delightful Bloody Pit of Horror (1965), starring American bodybuilder Mickey Hargitay as a red-hooded executioner who tortures and kills beautiful girls at his castle. The Balsorano castle is very prominently featured in this film, and below are some pictures of the castle as seen in the film:
But Bloody Pit of Horror wasn't the only horror film Mickey Hargitay made at the Balsorano castle. A couple of years later he starred alongside the luscious Rita Calderoni in Renato Polselli's great and extremely bizarre The Reincarnation of Isabel (1972). This film, too, puts the atmospheric Balsorano castle to great effect:
Of course, the Balsorano castle also features in a number of black and white horror films. One of them is Camillo Mastrocinque's enjoyable Crypt of the Vampire (1964), based on the writings of J. Sheridan Le Fanu and starring horror legend Christopher Lee:
The Balsorano castle in gorgeous b&w photography in Crypt of the Vampire
Then there's the extremely obscure giallo A... come assassino (1966), directed by little-known filmmaker Angelo Dorigo and starring Mary Arden and Sergio Ciani. It's one of those black and white gialli with gothic influences, so what better than to shoot it at the Balsorano castle?
The devil's wedding night takes place at the Balsorano castle
Of course, many more films were also shot at the Balsorano castle and far from all of them were horror movies. Actually, many of them were hardcore pornos! One of the earliest pornos to filmed at the famed castle was the rather bizarre but amusing Erotic Flash (1981), which stars Moana Pozzi (in her hardcore debut), Herbert Hofer and Marina Frajese among others.
In the 1990s, many period piece pornos by Joe D'Amato and Franco Lo Cascio were shot at the Balsorano castle but I'm not too familiar with any of those film. Regardless, the Balsorano castle is a truly outstanding location that has contributed a lot to the look and atmosphere of a number of great Italian genre films. It's always a pleasure to see it pop up in a film.