The Witch's Curse

The Witch's Curse (Italian: Maciste all'inferno, lit. 'Maciste in Hell')[2] is a 1962 peplum-fantasy film, directed by Riccardo Freda.

The Witch's Curse
Directed byRiccardo Freda
Produced by
Screenplay by
Story byEnnio De Concini[1]
Music byCarlo Franci[1]
CinematographyRiccardo Pallottini[1]
Edited byOrnella Micheli[1]
Panda Cinematografica[1]
Distributed byRegional
Release date
  • 11 April 1962 (1962-04-11) (Italy)
Running time
91 minutes[1]
Box office277 million


In the mid 1500s a witch is burned in Scotland and places a curse on the inhabitants before she dies. One hundred years later the tree she was chained to and burned still stands with no one daring to destroy it. The curse remains by forcing women to commit suicide. The descendant of the witch, Martha Gunt, is sentenced to be burned for witchcraft.

As she is placed in a prison cell, Maciste comes forth to fight evil. When he uproots the cursed tree he finds an entrance to Hell where he attempts to find the original witch to rescind her curse and attempts to help the damned from their plight.



The Castellana caves which still serve as a tourist attraction, were used for the underground scenes.[3] The sequences set in the Hell were entirely filmed in the Castellana Caves, in the province of Bari.[4] Maciste, the leading character, was turned during the filming into an almost mute character as Freda was very unhappy with the acting skills of the main actor Kirk Morris.[4] The film is referred as "an interpretation of mythology cum the gothic horror genre".[5]


The Witch's Curse was released in Italy on April 11, 1962.[1] It grossed a total of 277 million Italian lire domestically in Italy.[1]



  1. Curti 2017, p. 318.
  2. Louis Paul. Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland & Co Inc. ISBN 0786487496.
  3. Hughes 2011, p. 11.
  4. Paolo Mereghetti. Il Mereghetti: dizionario dei film 2002. Baldini & Castoldi, 2001. ISBN 8884900875.
  5. Louis Paul (2011). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland & Co Inc. ISBN 9780786461134.


  • Curti, Roberto (2017). Riccardo Freda: The Life and Works of a Born Filmmaker. McFarland. ISBN 1476628386.
  • Hughes, Howard (2011). Cinema Italiano - The Complete Guide From Classics To Cult. London - New York: I.B.Tauris. ISBN 978-1-84885-608-0.
  • Paul, Louis (2005). Italian Horror Film Directors. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-7864-8749-3.

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