The Haunted Castle (1921) - F.W. Murnau

F.W. Murnau (Frederich Wilhelm), is a major player in the Silver Age of horror that is 1919 - 1929. During this time he has treated us to a number of ghoulie movies. The Haunted Castle from 1921 is one of his first ventures into the genre that survived. 

Schloß Vogelöd, as its known in German, is a film that takes place inside of a haunted castle (looks like a regular mansion to me). A group of guys meet up to go hunting and they are joined by Count Johann Oetsch, a guy that supposedly shot his brother. To make matters worse, his brothers widow will also be attending. 

Accusations fly, everyone is blamed and the movie begins setting everyone up. It turns into a who-done-it detective story and it is really questionable to weather or not this is actually a horror movie. It has one completely out of its element scene that is really well done but it feels so far removed from the movie that it is hard to take seriously. The movie is more of a nail-biter that has a pretty decent twist at the end. Its a fantastic movie just not a jump out and scare you kind of horror movie. This is one of those movies that were considered horror just due to the questionable content of the era. At least, that is what it looks like to me. 

This movie is also pretty hard to find and I had to order a copy from Amazon ($3.00) not bad.


  • The movie is based on a serialized story that was being printed in the Berliner Illustrierten. This film was finished and released before the final story had been printed in the publication.
  • Many Murnau films have been lost, this is the earliest film of his that has survived. The Hunchback and The Dancer (1920) is another horror movie that he worked on but is now considered lost. 
  • The film is 1625 m (5 reels) in length.