When the Lord of Darkwood Hall is on his death bed he dictates his last will to his notary. He leaves the mansion to his daughter Lady Patricia (Ilse Steppat) so she can continue running her girls’ boarding school but everything else he leaves to his granddaughter Gwendolin Gilmore (Karin Dor). While the notary is driving home through a storm a rock is thrown through his windshield, his car swerves into a tree and he dies. The rock thrower runs up to the car and steals the notary’s briefcase that contains the new will.
Sometime later when no will is forthcoming the Lord’s children Sir William (Dieter Eppler), Lady Patricia and Sir Richard (Siegfried Lowitz) petition to have the estate split between them. They are given an appointment with the bureau of estates and inherences to sign the paperwork and see the judge. The estate is worth about four million pounds. As soon as the representative from the court leaves Sir Richard claims that he received the will anonymously and shows his brother and sister a Photostat. He then proceeds to blackmail his siblings and threatens that if they don’t agree to his terms he will pay a visit to Gwendolin and spill the beans.
Gwendolin’s father was another one of the Lord’s sons. He was convicted of murder and sent to prison. Patricia has Gwendolin come stay at Darkwood to protect her. Complicating the situation is Patricia’s sadistic son Ronny (Hartmut Reck) who gets the idea that he will marry Gwendolin and have her sign over her inheritance to him.
At one time the manor house was a monastery. Supposedly there is also the ghost of a monk that haunts the house and the grounds. There is also a squirrely man named Mr. Alfred Short (Rudolf Schundler) that lives in the tower room and Mr. d’Arol (Kurd Pieritz), an equally strange man who was hired as a French teacher. When a real hooded monk shows up and starts killing people by strangling them with a whip, Inspector Black (Harald Leipnitz) shows up to sort things out. What he finds is a web of fortune hunters, murders and kidnappers.
“The Sinister Monk” AKA “Der unheimliche Monch” was released in 1965 and was directed by Harold Reinl. It is a West German thriller and a krimi. The movie was based on “The Terror” by Edgar Wallace.
This was not a bad little krimi. The really strange thing about it was that the subplots were hinted at but never really explored until the final minutes of the film. Then everything was shoved in there to wrap things up. Through most of the film you were hearing about Gwendolin and her money hungry uncles. Then at the end you find out there was a man seeking revenge and a kidnapping ring working at the school. It’s never said why they were kidnapping girls but I would assume there was some kind of white slavery aspect to it that just wasn’t mentioned.
As with many of the earlier krimis the beginning credits are in color but the rest of the film is in black and white. Added is some kind of pop music score. This one by Peter Thomas. He did the music for several krimis.
Director Reinl was married to actress Karen Dor at the time the movie was made. Karen would later become a Bond girl in “You Only Live Twice” 1967 and also starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Topaz” 1969.