Hotel Inferno 3: The Castle of Screams (FPS Horror Stuff in Film)


Splattermeister Giulio de Santi made his name in the gorehound underground with his first film, 2012’s Taeter City. On the heels of that opus came Hotel Inferno, an audacious experiment in film mimicking video games, and the start of a tentpole franchise. The crowdfunded third chapter checks all the series boxes: it’s shot entirely in first-person, blends budget CGI with lovingly-rendered practical gore in the Italian splatter tradition, and is only minimally interested in telling a story. Speaking of which: after retrieving the fire element, protagonist Frank is still stuck in Hell. Guided by the Witch, his lone infernal ally, he must travel to the “Castle of Screams” to seek the ice element, the next step toward escaping Hell and saving his wife’s soul.


If that reminds you of a video game, congratulations. Castle of Screams’s story is even more game-influenced than its predecessors, with weapons upgrades, side quests to unlock new areas, and boss battles occupying most of the runtime. But as always, the plot beats are little more than meathooks for hanging fat slabs of goopy, gobsmacking gore. Part 3 keeps the hellish medieval production design of the previous entry, but uses snowbound locales and a colder color palette to follow Frank from fire to ice. It’s also more brightly lit than part 2, which played several scenes in near darkness, both for ambiance and to hide the seams in the inventive, but silly, monster puppets. This sequel might have benefited from a similar approach, especially in the long sequence involving demonic chickens, which looks just as dumb as it sounds. The Hotel Inferno series is not for everyone, but with its genre-blending, ingenious art design, commitment to outrageous carnage, and sheer weirdness, it’s unlike anything else on the market, and Castle of Screams is a worthy continuation.


Written by Cthulen, Dead Dreamer

Hotel Inferno III: The Castle of Screams (2021, US)
Giulio de Santi
4 / 5