House of the Black Death is a 1965 American horror film directed by Harold Daniels, Reginald LeBorg and Jerry Warren. The film was written by Richard Mahoney, based on a novel titled The Widderburn Horror by Lora Crozetti. The film is about two elderly brothers who are warlocks, Belial (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Andre (John Carradine), who have been feuding with each other for years over the family estate. Belial, who sports small goat’s horns on his forehead, has been using his black magic to bewitch members of the family, while Andre spends the entire film bedridden. The two actors did not share any scenes in the film.
Two elderly brothers who are warlocks, Belial (Lon Chaney Jr.) and Andre (John Carradine), have been feuding with each other for years over the family estate. Belial, who sports small goat’s horns on his forehead and runs a coven of witches, has been using his black magic to bewitch members of the family, while Andre spends the entire film bedridden. Andre keeps warning people that his brother Belial is evil and up to no good. Belial turns Andre’s son into a werewolf by way of a magical spell and bewitches Andre’s daughter (Serena) into dancing and gyrating sensuously. Much of the plot involves scenes of the sexy witches belly-dancing in front of their satanic altar.
The film was originally to be titled Night of the Beast or The Widderburn Horror, but it was theatrically released as Blood of the Man Devil. When it was later released to television, the title was again changed to House of the Black Death. Although the film was made in 1965, when most new films were being made in color, it was shot in black-and-white for $70,000.
Harold Daniels shot the film initially in 1965 with actors Chaney and Carradine, and Reginald LeBorg co-directed in an uncredited capacity. Reginald LeBorg claimed he did very little directing actually. He said his work “consisted of little more than some shots of actors wandering around amongst the trees in the forest scenes.”
Afterwards, the producers felt the film needed something more, so Jerry Warren was hired to add some extra footage to pad out the running time and edit the film. Warren brought Katherine Victor into the project, casting her as the leader of a coven of witches. Jerry Warren said “They had a terrible mishmash of a movie. It’s wasn’t a movie, it was a bunch of film. It came out bad but it came out playable, and it did pull out some money for the people who made it”.
black & white, mono, widescreen, 71 minutes. DVD-R comes packaged as shown in color DVD case, wrapped in plastic!