Celluloid Diaries: Filming locations - Devil's Nightmare

Monday, July 17, 2017

Filming locations - Devil's Nightmare

château d'antoing
antoing castle

Devil's Nightmare is a Belgian/Italian horror movie released in 1971. Directed by Jean Brismée, it tells the story of seven tourists who become lost during a trip in Europe. A strange man by the roadside shows them the way, but as it's too late to catch the ferry, they are then directed to a castle where they can spend the night. There, they meet a succubus (Erika Blanc) who kills them because they represent the seven sins.

In Belgium, where the film was shot and released under the French title La plus longue nuit du diable, hardly anyone knows of its existence. However, it was quite successful in Italy. Since then, it has been released under an array of different titles, so you may also know it as The Devil Walks at Midnight, Nightmare of Terror, Vampire Playgirls, Castle of Death, La terrificante notte del demonio, Au service du diable, etc.

This strange mix between The Pit and the Pendulum and the Euro trash films of Jess Franco and Jean Rollin, was almost entirely shot in and around a castle in Belgium: Château d'Antoing or Castle of the Princes of De Ligne, which was first mentioned in the 12th century but rebuilt by architect Clement Parent in neo-Gothic style in the 19th century. It's one of the country's most beautiful castles, so whether you've seen the film or not, it's worth a visit when you're in South West Belgium or one of the neighboring cities in France.

Fun fact: The extras of Devil's Nightmare all hail from Antoing, including the doomed baby from the opening scene.

Related post => Filming locations - The Strangers Outside 


antoing château des princes de ligne
château des princes de ligne
la plus longue nuit du diable

The visit of Château d'Antoing starts outside of the castle near a small statue of Charles de Gaulle. He used to stay in one of the castle's dormitories between 1907 and 1908. Charles de Gaulle's father sent him to Belgium for an extra year of study, because he considered his son not yet “mature enough” to work, and it happened that the Prince de Ligne had just offered his castle to the Sacred Heart Institute of Lille. Charles de Gaulle became the best of his class while studying in Belgium.

charles de gaulle antoing

Next, you visit the stronghold and bulwark, which were built in the 15th century for defense and as a lookout point. This filming location was featured in the second scene of Devil's Nightmare when a woman goes to the Antoing castle to take pictures only to be murdered a minute later.

antoing château bolwerk

Outside of the bulwark, there's an extension where you find a collection of memorial tablets and gravestones. You'll recognize this filming location from the movie's penultimate scene in which Father Alvin Sorel (Jacques Monseau) meets the succubus.

antoing museum
memorial tablet

Then, it's time to enter the watchtower.

The first thing you see when going inside is the keep. This seems to be the place where Baron von Rhoneberg (Jean Servais) conducts his experiments.

antoing castle keep

On the first floor is a living room which is still frequently used by the Prince de Ligne. Fans of Devil's Nightmare/La plus longue nuit du diable will recognize the style of the room, furniture, and fireplace.

devil's nightmare castle

The higher you go into the watchtower, the less the rooms are decorated. The bedroom is the one in which Baron von Rhoneberg (Jean Servais) recovers after being injured.

la plus longue nuit du diable

Legend has it the watchtower is haunted. In the middle ages, the fortress was attacked and many people died. When you climb the tower at the stroke of midnight and look into the mirror on the second floor, you'll supposedly see the shadow of an armored knight. After a few moments, the shadow will disappear down the stairs.

château princes de ligne
antoing princes de ligne

Before entering the top, you'll arrive at the spot where Mason (Lucien Raimbourg) gets thrown out of the watchtower by the succubus.

The walls near the windows are full of small texts and signatures, most of them dating back to the first world war. The Prince de Ligne decided to keep them on the wall because of their historic value.

château antoing film

At the top of the tower, you have a view over the entire area, Belgium on one side and France on the other. It's quite a few steps to get there but so worth it. You'll notice that the castle is not surrounded by woods as it is suggested in Devil's Nightmare. In fact, it sits right in the middle of Antoing.

Antoing
antoing castle the devils nightmare
antoing la plus longue nuit du diable

The Prince de Ligne still lives inside the Antoing castle, so the main living areas and bedrooms aren't accessible. These include several key filming locations, such as the beautiful white staircase, the hallway with black and white tiles, and the bedrooms with the colorful wallpaper. But no worries. A visit to the castle lasts over one hour and a half, so there's still plenty to see.

The Antoing Castle or the Castle of the Princes of de Ligne can only be visited between May and September and only on Sundays. There are two tours – one starting at 3 pm and one starting at 4 pm.

The guide shares an abundance of historical information about the castle, which makes the tour quite interesting. However, she never mentions Devil's Nightmare (nor the episode Jeux de glaces of the French TV show Les petits meurtres d'Agatha Christie, which was also filmed at the Château d'Antoing). The tour exists only in French.

You should buy your tickets at the tourist office which sits next to the main entrance to the castle. Tickets cost only 3 euros.

Antoing is tiny and there aren't any other noteworthy activities or visits. Also, everything is closed on Sundays. However, Antoing is situated close to the magnificent Eau d'heure lakes and right near the border with France.

Antoing Belgium

Have you seen Devil's Nightmare/La Plus Longue Nuit du Diable? In case you haven't, here's the movie in Italian.

devil's nightmare

6 comments:

  1. I've never seen the movie but I sure want to see the castle now.

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  2. The castle is beautiful! For some reason, I found the watchtower more creepy than the rest of the castle. I haven't seen this movie, but it sounds like someone had a unique idea for a plot.

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  3. That is funny, I drove past Antoing the night of Sunday on Monday when I was driving my eldest son and his girlfriend to Charleroi Airport. My son lives in Kortrijk, so I left Oostende at 1:15 AM to pick them up at 2 and arrived in Charleroi Airport at 3:15. I'd love to pay that little castle a visit.

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  4. That is fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing with me at NanaHood.com I'm impressed!

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  5. What a great place! I love to discover places like this. I would not mind to visit castles for every day (for weeks).

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  6. manor is lovely! For reasons unknown, I found the watchtower more frightening than whatever remains of the mansion. I haven't seen this motion picture, however it sounds like somebody had a one of a kind thought for a plot.

    ReplyDelete