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  1. Vengeance of the Zombies (aka La rebelión de las muertas) (1973) w/ Paul Naschy, Romy, Vic Winner, Mirta Miller and María Kosty. Directed by León Klimovsky. And written by Paul Naschy. In contemporary 1970s England we get two converging plot lines; one involving a Hindu mystic named Krisna and one involving a voodoo master named Kantaka who knocks off women and then brings them back as zombies who are the tools of his vengeance. And both roles are portrayed by Paul Naschy. Who also portrays a very horned Satan. And with each plot line initially united by one whom appears to be the heroine of our tale (Romy) but who really doesn't do anything. And, again, an ending where the villain gets his comeuppance a bit too easily. And then the comeuppance gets its own comeuppance just as easily. And then the obligatory police decide that their work here is done and depart leaving at least 9 corpses behind. It was like someone decided it was time to end the movie no matter what. Basically a series of interesting set pieces poorly tied together. Still watchable but, needless to say, a couple of steps down from the previously watched Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973). Random comments: 1) This is the second of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection Blu-Ray set. 2) Being a zombie movie that was released in 1973 it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that this movie was inspired by the earlier Night of the Living Dead (1968). But Live and Let Die (1973) was released that same year. How much of the voodoo aspects of that James Bond movie were known ahead of time? And could any of those aspects have influenced the makers of Vengeance of the Zombies (including setting the movie in James Bond's home country)? It wouldn't be the first time that the makers of a low-budget movie attempted to ride the tenuous coattails of a much bigger-budgeted one. 3) And the zombies in this one were definitely not inspired by George A Romero. Instead we had sexy women lightly tinted blue and lightly dressed in diaphanous gowns. What else would one expect from a 1970s European horror movie? 4) Of course the use of an English setting could have been inspired by Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972). 5) Speaking of 1970s European horror movies, there is less nudity in this one than there was in Horror Rises from the Tomb. But it was still gratuitous. And it does make one wonder why, in the case of the first two movies in this set, Paul Naschy the writer needed to provide Paul Naschy the actor with opportunities to physically caress his totally or partially nude female costars. Was the nudity there simply to increase the paid attendance by the stereotypically male audience of horror movies? Or was there some self-image gratification going on here? 6) My wife is far from being a fan of horror movies so we're usually in separate areas of the house when I watch one. But out of sight is not necessarily out of hearing. And, at one point, she stuck her head in to see what the heck I was watching because it sounded to her like a stereotypical 1970s porn soundtrack. Which, sad to say, was an apt description. It was not a soundtrack for a horror movie. 7) Krisna, the Hindu guru, lived in Llangwell. That name has to have been inspired by Larry Talbot's Welsh home village of Llanwelly. 8) This movie including a scene where the head of a live chicken was cut off. Personally I found that absolutely disgraceful. Now, I am not a vegetarian. But killing for the sake of food is one thing. Killing for the sake of art (and I use the term very loosely here) is something else entirely. 9) In addition to Paul Naschy, actors common to both Horror Rises from the Dead and Vengeance of the Zombies were Luis Ciges, Montserrat Julió, Vic Winner and Elsa Zabala. Now two movies does not a pattern make, but I've watched and rewatched so many Universal and Hammer horror movies that it just makes sense to start paying attention to who keeps appearing and reappearing in these ones right off the bat. Is there a Spanish equivalent of Michael Ripper? 10) And then there is Mirta Miller. She appeared in two other horror movies with Paul Naschy. And, sadly, the three remaining movies on this collection do not include those. She is a doll.
  2. Horror Rises from the Tomb (aka El espanto surge de la tumba) (1973) w/ Paul Naschy (aka Jacinto Molina), Emma Cohen, Vic Winner (aka Victor Barrera), Helga Liné, Betsabé Ruiz and Cristina Suriani. Directed by Carlos Aured. And written by Paul Naschy. In the 15th century, a French warlock named Alaric de Marnac (Naschy) and his witch/wife Mabille de Lancre (Liné) are put to death (the warlock by beheading) primarily by the warlock's brother, Armand de Marnac (also Naschy) and the brother's companion, André Roland (Winner). And, as is the norm for such movies, the warlock and the witch curse and threaten revenge not only upon their killers but also their descendants. Fast forward to the modern day of the 1970s and we get to meet not only those descendants, Hugo de Marnac (also Naschy) and Maurice Roland (also Winner) but their girl friends, Silvie (Ruiz) and Paula (Suriani) who, after the long gone Alaric makes a vocal appearance during a seance, decide to visit Hugo's ancestral estate in search of Alaric's remains. Which, once they get there, pretty much sets us up for rounds of possessions, murders, reincarnations, witchcraft sprinkled with a dose of vampirism, cannibalism and zombiism while our foursome plus the caretaker and his two daughters are trapped on that estate. Basically a grab bag of horror cliches. Plus the usual nudity that is oh so prevalent in 1970s European horror movies. But one of the better Paul Naschy horror movies that I recall. And, therefore, one of the better Spanish horror movies. Wouldn't use the word "classic" with it, but, then again, I wouldn't use that word with the majority of Universal and Hammer horror movies either. But it is very watchable. Although I must admit that, when the time came, our villains seemed to go down just a bit too easily at the end. Random comments: 1) It has been years since I've watched 1970s European horror movies. But I recently picked up The Paul Naschy Collection Blu-Ray set so I may be on the verge of repriming that pump. And seeing if and how my opinion of them have changed in the interim. Besides, man does not live by Universal and Hammer horror alone! 2) Although Paul Naschy was referred to as the "Spanish Lon Chaney", this movie is more of a descendent of Roger Corman's movies of the 1960s than of the Universal movies of the 1920s through 1940s implied by such a nickname. 3) This movie is visually impressive (especially the opening scenes from the Middle Ages). One of the things that turned me off of 1970s European horror movies in the past was the fact that, in many cases, the movies that were available for viewing appeared to be copies of copies of copies of poorly printed originals. Needless to say, I was very impressed with this one. 4) I've watched this movie twice; once with its original Castilian audio (with English subtitles) and once with its English dubbed audio. And I can honestly say that the dialog feels less cheesy when one reads it in English rather than when one hears it in English. 5) This blu-ray's bonus features included one entitled "Alternate Clothed Sequences". First time I've ever encountered that. Now, being a heterosexual male, I'm not going to complain about seeing of age women partially or fully nude in a movie. But, by allowing one to see that those particular scenes were neither no more nor no less effective with or without nudity, it definitely proved that the nudity here was gratuitous. 6) Whenever someone was punched or slapped in this movie, it always sounded like a punch or a slap in a spaghetti western. 7) It occurred to me while watching this movie that Paul Naschy resembled John Belushi. And a quick Internet search indicated that I wasn't the first person to have had that thought.

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