Painted Castles and Haunted Houses


Filming on location can be expensive and before the days of digital special effects filmmakers had to be inventive, so they employed the artistic talents of landscape matte painters to create the haunted houses, ancestral homes and creepy castles that are an essential feature of horror and the Gothic.

Dracula (1931)

 

Dracula's Castle from Dracula (1931) Matte Painting
Dracula's Castle from Dracula (1931)


Dracula's Daughter (1936) 


Exterior from Dracula's Daughter (1936), matte painting
Exterior from Dracula's Daughter (1936)

Roger Corman is a director who made extensive use of matte landscapes, particularly in his Poe cycle of films, Corman was also notorious for recycling previous film footage reusing them in his different movies.

House of Usher (1960)

 


House of Usher (1960) matte painting

The Pit and the Pendulum (1961)

 


Castle from The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) and The Terror (1963), matte painting


This landscape would also reappear in Corman's The Terror (1963)

Tales of Terror (1962)

 

Tales of Terror, 1962, Morella, matte painting
The ancestral home from the story Morella

Tales of Terror featured three Poe stories, Morella, The Black Cat and The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar, this painted landscape coming from the story Morella. Corman reused some of the sets and scenes from his previous Poe films in Tales of Terror like footage from House of Usher in the fiery climax.

The Premature Burial (1962)

 

The Premature Burial (1962) matte painting

The Masque of Red Death (1964)

 

The Masque of Red Death (1964) matte painting


Hammer were another production company that made good use of matte painted backgrounds, not surprising considering nearly every Hammer movie had a castle or a manor house.

Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

 


Castle from Hammer's Kiss of the Vampire (1963) matte painting
Castle from Hammer's Kiss of the Vampire (1963)

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1967)

 


Dracula Has Risen from the Grave (1967) matte painting

The Vampire Lover's (1970)

 


Castle from Hammer's The Vampire Lovers (1970) matte painting
Castle from Hammer's The Vampire Lovers (1970)

Young Frankenstein (1974)

 

"Fronkenstein" Castle, Young Frankenstein, 1974, matte painting
"Fronkenstein" Castle

The Addams Family Values (1993)

 

The Addams Gothic house matte painting
The Addams Gothic house

Further Reading on Movie Matte Paintings:


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