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Top 10 fantasy/movie castles

March 3, 2011

    

A castle is a beautiful thing, and a movie castle is even better.

The cameras make the interior look bigger, the lighting makes it look more mysterious, the actors play out some kind of story that makes it more interesting.

But have you ever been to a castle? A public one? In the cold light of day [because you can’t go at night unless you hide somewhere and wait for the workers to leave]?

Have you ever been to the castle from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade? I haven’t, but i bet it’s no fun, not when there’re no Nazis shooting at you, or no Sean Connery discovering secret exits. And it has to be the same with every movie or fantasy castle. The only place we can see castles we love is on film and in fantasy books, and the only reason we love castles to begin with is because of these mediums. Which might be some kind of loop or something, I guess.

Anyway, I’m talking and talking…let’s do the top ten.

    

10 – Indiana Jones and the last crusade

Apparently somewhere in Austria, but if you look on www.imdb.com then I think you’ll find it’s somewhere in Germany. I could be wrong though. What’s so great about it? The fact that you can arrive at night, in a storm, and then less than an hour later you leave and it’s morning. Perhaps some kind of time dilation? Is the castle moving at the speed of light, while outside nature is stagnant? Actually, if the castle were going at the speed of light it might be a little further on than the next morning.

    

9 – Count Duckula’s castle

It might be difficult to find this one…not because it’s trapped in animation, but because it never stays still. We’re not sure how Duckula can teleport an entire castle wherever he likes, but he can, and does. Also, the design of the castle is brilliant. The exterior is all jagged edges and slanted windows, and it’s pretty clear that the place never gets cleaned, even though Duckula employs a nanny and a PA. There is weird science in this castle, but no evil and you’ve gotta give credit for that.

    

8 – The castle in the lake [Conan the Destroyer]

It’s been a while since I’ve seen this one, and there’s a strong possibility it’s a set…in fact, most castle interiors on film are sets which is depressing…but even the exterior of this one seems too good to be true. Still, it’s got the protection of a lake surrounding it, so you’d feel safe if you lived there at least. Unless it is real, and a load of tourists turn up.

    

7 – Addams Family

Not really a castle, more like a mansion. But what a mansion! All those chains and underground passages and even some kind of sewage system you can ride a gondola through. I think it hires the same cleaning company as Count Duckula too, as there’s dust and dirt everywhere, but it’s quite atmospheric really. The only real problem I can see is the morality system of Gomez and Morticia, and the kind of things they’re teaching their kids. If you stay there, they probably will try and kill you, and even if the tone is blackly comic you won’t care because you’ll be dead.

    

6 – Highlander

There were two castles in this one, I think. The first one looked a bit dull, but thankfully the film didn’t stay there long. The second one was better. What seemed to be a huge spiral staircase leading up to the top of the castle and no rooms whatsoever. Or if there were, I didn’t see them. Where did they sleep? No wonder they had to have sex outside, there were no freaking beds. And how did they get this castle anyway? Was there a recession and no other buyers? I guess it’s beside the point, really, as the castle gets trashed by Sean Connery and that prison guard from Shawshank Redemption. Man, he was angry.

5 – Pass

I’ve just realised I’m struggling to fill ten here, so let’s skip number five. Also, my dinner’s nearly ready.

4 – Willow

I can’t remember exactly what this castle looks like, but I’m pretty sure it was medieval. And I’m also sure most of it was a set. But it looked decent. Actually, I think I prefer a lot of the others on this list to this castle, so maybe the ranking system doesn’t mean as much as I thought it did.

3 – Lord of the Rings

The one built on the huge cliff, where the mad king gets set on fire and runs off the edge, thelma and louise style, only without a car, and without a Louise. This one is in New Zealand, and is nowhere near as large as you think it is. You’ll see what we mean.

2 – Hogwarts

Whatever you think of Harry Potter, and I kinda like it, the castle school is pretty damn incredible. I’ve heard it’s up in Scotland somewhere, only there’s no forbidden forest nearby, and no Chamber of Secrets, and no secret passage to that little village a few miles away. And no Daniel Radcliffe [unless his career goes supernova, and i mean supernova in the bad sense, as in if he’s a big enough star than he’s gonna turn into a black hole and suck himself-…err…forget that…and he loses his house and has to squat somewhere, and, oh, wait, no one’s in Hogwarts this time of year, why don’t I go there?]. But no matter what the castle looks like in reality, the film version of it is brilliant, and who wouldn’t wanna walka round and explore a little?

    

1 – The Fearless Vampire Killers

Probably the loneliest castle ever put on film. I’m not sure exactly where it is…I tried to find it once, and although a lot of people claim it’s near Urtijei in Northern Italy, I couldn’t find it there…but wherever it is, it’s beautiful. If you haven’t seen it then let me delineate. It’s on a slight hill, it’s covered in snow. In fact, the snow is so thick it’s climbing up the walls [in the film, the professor can reach the top of the wall standing outside on the snow]. And inside, it has a courtyard with a corridor running alongside it, so it’s not only interiors. And then there are paintings on the wall, a library, a couple of vampires, and almost no other people from outside going near the place. This is the place Dracula’s castle should be. And if you’ve been to Romania and seen Dracula’s castle, both of them, then you’ll know they’re rubbish.

If you know any other castles, let us know. These are just the ones we like, and we know we’ve looked mainly at films, not fantasy books. Which is kinda pathetic when you see that we’re a press.

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Malin_Malin permalink*
    March 7, 2011 10:57 pm

    Great list.

    But I think you’ve forgotten a good one. The castle in the Princess Bride…do you know this one?

    • March 7, 2011 11:33 pm

      You’ve got us. We forgot all about that one. But then, we probably forgot about a lot of others too…another top 10 maybe? Or perhaps we could try a more specified list…top 10 80s castles?

  2. Team_Edwob permalink
    March 7, 2011 11:04 pm

    I’ve always felt really sad whenever I’ve watched the fearless vamp killers. Really tragic what happened to Sharon Tate and all that Manson stuff, and it really impacts on the film. When you watch it, and watch her, you feel like you’re almost watching a ghost. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way.

    By the way, if you’re including the Addams’ mansion then you’ve got to include the mansion from ‘Clue’ too, even though it was probably just a gigantic set.

    • March 7, 2011 11:30 pm

      Funny you mention Sharon Tate…Stavrogin wrote a story about her once.

      And yeah, the Clue mansion was in our thoughts, and yeah again, it probably was just a huge set. I’m not sure mansions or castles really do have secret doors and hidden corridors…I wish they did.

  3. simone permalink
    October 31, 2012 6:02 pm

    The castle which Fearless of Vampire Killers filmed is called Castle Fischburg, or Stetteneck Castle or Castel Gardena.
    the heart of Transylvania... or ... a persiflage of the genre

  4. Princess permalink
    November 7, 2013 9:49 pm

    It is in reality a nice and useful piece of information. I am happy that you just shared this useful info with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  5. Otto Bumberger permalink
    December 26, 2013 1:47 pm

    I’ve closely looked at pictures of castles Fischburg, Stettenech, and Gardena. They’re close but . . . if you examine the rooftop of “castle Krolock” you can see small pointed turrets with ornamental knobs and gargoyals on the sides, and another picture from the film has crenelated battlements (both features of which Castle Fischburg and the others do not have). I am thinking Castle Fischburg might’ve been in the film as a long distance shot, but the closeups were probably props in a film studio. I wish I could paste the pictures here for comparison but this site does not allow me to cut and paste. So check out the following pictures from the Fearless Vampire Killers film to see what I mean.
    http://www.soundonsight.org
    http://www.worldcinema.org
    http://www.forgottenflix.com

  6. June 27, 2014 3:45 am

    You should take part in a contest for one of the finest websites online.
    I am going to recommend this web site!

  7. July 8, 2014 2:41 pm

    I think that the best castle is the one in The black cauldron .

  8. sakura permalink
    September 20, 2015 1:35 am

    I think Hogwarts should be number 1

  9. Glitch permalink
    September 29, 2015 5:55 pm

    Guess it’s already way too late, but most of “The Fearless Vampire Hunters” was just shot in a studio! The looks are inspired by “Burg Taufers” in South Tyrol.

    • October 5, 2015 3:55 am

      Oh no, really? I spent 2 days walking near Bolzano trying to find that castle…was it just the courtyard part that was a studio set? I hope not cos I really liked that design

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