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  1. Night of the Werewolf (aka El retorno del Hombre Lobo) (1981) w/ Paul Naschy, Julia Saly, Silvia Aguilar, Azucena Hernández, Beatriz Elorrieta, Pilar Alcón and Narciso Ibáñez Menta. And written and directed by Paul Naschy. But no Luis Ciges! 😮 At long last, we get to El Hombre Lobo! In 16th Century Hungary (although from a historical point-of-view, that opening text should have indicated the 17th Century), the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) is in thrall to Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Julia Saly) and, when she is sentenced to be entombed for the rest of her life, he is relieved to be "executed" (a term that one should always use loosely in supernatural movies) along with the rest of her cohort. Flash foward 370 years and (in the usual coincidence that is also common to supernatural movies) Daninsky is resurrected accidentally by a pair of grave robbers while Báthory is resurrected purposely by an evil student of the occult (Silvia Aguilar). With Báthory coming back as a real rather than a figurative vampire. Who quickly turns the evil student, one of her compatriots (Pilar Alcón) and Daninsky's assistant (Beatriz Elorrieta) into fellow vampires. Which sets us up for the eventual conflict between the werewolf (along with his lover (Azucena Hernández)) and the vampire women. Aided by the fact that whatever had him under her power in the past doesn't appear to exist in the present. Now, there is little that is new in this movie. Especially since this is, for the most part, a remake of an earlier El Hombre Lobo movie: The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971). There is wolfsbane. And there is a walking stick with a silver head (but not a wolf's head). And there is the sign of the werewolf (although in this case it is a pentagon rather than a pentagram). All out of The Wolf Man (1941). And the werewolf being resurrected was obviously inspired by Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943). And a werewolf under the power of a vampire is right out of The Return of the Vampire (1943). And the concept that a werewolf can only be killed by one who loves him is right out of The House of Frankenstein (1944). And this is not the first movie that features Countess Elizabeth Báthory (Ingrid Pitt's Countess Dracula (1970) is the one that most easily comes to mind). And her resurrection was obviously inspired by Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966). Although, in this case, the person hanging upside down was female and, this being a Naschy movie, wears a lot less clothing. However, although none of the pieces are new, the jigsaw puzzle is put together fairly well. And, since all of the El Hombre Lobo movies are fairly independent of each other, this one would be a worthwhile introduction to that series of films. Although a good movie, however, it came out at the wrong time. Although technically a contemporary movie, once the women arrive in search of Báthory, this movie is pure old school gothic at that point. And even Hammer had stopped making old school gothic movies for many a year. And 1981 itself was a year made for true contemporary werewolf movies: The Howling, Wolfen, An American Werewolf in London. So, although this was not Paul Naschy's last movie, it definitely marked the end of an era. Random comments: 1.) This is the fifth and last of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection Blu-Ray set. Of the movies on that set, I would rate this one third below both Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) and Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) but above both Human Beasts (1980) and Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). 2.) A literal translation of the Spanish title for this one is "The Return of the Wolf Man". Which is, technically, a valid title since the werewolf is resurrected in this one. But probably has that sequel feel that whomever released this one was trying to avoid. 3.) The original U.S. title for this one was The Craving. Now that one leaves a lot to be desired. 4.) Paul Naschy wears a beard in this movie. I think he looks better that way. 5.) Julia Saly, Silvia Aguilar and Azucena Hernández were all in Human Beasts. 6.) The first werewolf movie mystery: If you are a werewolf who doesn't want to kill anyone. And you have an assistant that you can trust. And full moons are not exactly random events. Why aren't you arranging to have yourself locked up for the night? 7.) The second werewolf movie mystery: Why is the full moon already so high in the sky before the werewolf turns? 8.) The third werewolf movie mystery: Why do people who are ready, willing and able to kill a werewolf allow the werewolf to get so close before they do so? 9.) And, finally, I have The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set on order. So you all may have to suffer through me doing this five more times! Although, at my rate, that will take another ten months! 😀
  2. Human Beasts (aka El carnaval de las bestias) (1980) w/ Paul Naschy, Eiko Nagashima, Lautaro Murúa, Silvia Aguilar, Azucena Hernández, Kogi Maritugu, Roxana Dupre, Pepe Ruiz and Julia Saly. Plus Luis Ciges (of course). And written and directed by Paul Naschy. Paul Naschy portrays a mercenary/hitman who is seduced by his attractive (of course) and pregnant Japanese lover (Eiko Nagashima) into aiding her brother (Kogi Maritugu) and his wannabe left-wing terrorist group (à la Japan's Red Army or West Germany's Baader-Meinhof Group) in a diamond theft along a deserted road for funding purposes. But obviously not seduced well enough since, after killing the diamond courier and his bodyguards, Naschy then kills off the other members of the terrorist group with the exception (of course) of the brother and sister and makes off with the diamonds. And, in what appears to be a quick transition from Japan to Spain, the brother and sister have recruited others to their cause and have tracked down Naschy. Where, of course, more killings occur and Naschy is wounded. At this point the movie abruptly shifts genres from crime to horror as the unconscious Naschy is taken to the estate of a doctor (Lautaro Murúa) who is locally renown for his pig stew, his two attractive (of course) daughters (Silvia Aguilar and Azucena Hernández) and his attractive (of course) maid (Roxana Dupre). Whom nurse him back to health and keep him hidden from his still on the hunt former lover. For reasons that are far from altruistic (and far from being obscure). And all under the eye of another attractive (of course (repetitious aren't I)) woman (Julia Saly) who may be real or may be a ghost or may just be a figment of Naschy's imagination due to his injuries. All of which leads to an abrupt conclusion where karma kicks into overdrive and delivers its deserved comeuppance upon all. Random comments: 1.) This is the fourth of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection Blu-Ray set. And, of those first four movies, I would rate this one below both Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) and Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) but above Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). 2.) Even outside the usual sexual treatment of women in a Paul Naschy movie, this one is far from being politically correct. It has a black African female who is whipped while topless by a white European male whom she calls "master". And the whipping is not only for punishment but also for the sexual pleasure of both parties. And, elsewhere, a white European female stating "I think all Asians look alike." And, elsewhere, the multiple uses of a word that, in an entirely different context, would refer to a bundle of sticks or twigs bound together for burning. 3.) As with Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, this movie also includes a scene where a pig is to be killed. Unlike the earlier movie, though, we cut away from the explicit details and only hear the pig's death squeals. On the flip side, though, this one includes a scene where the pigs get their revenge. 4.) A literal translation of the Spanish title for this one is "The carnival of the beasts". And there is a costume party scene that correlates to that translation. But that scene appears to exist simply to justify that title. It adds nothing to the movie as a whole. Although it does provide us with an excuse to see Paul Naschy dressed as Napoleon Bonaparte. Which he visually pulls off. But, considering how often a Napoleon delusion is comically portrayed as a sign of insanity on both the big and small screens, it struck me as just another awkward distraction. 5.) Similar to many Universal horror and science-fiction movies of the 1940s and 1950s, the soundtrack for this one is not unique to the movie but is, rather, a collection of samples from earlier movies. And whomever chose those samples chose well in my opinion. 6.) The background for the opening credits for this movie is Pieter Bruegel's The Triumph of Death. Also a good choice in my opinion:
  3. Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (aka Los ojos azules de la muñeca rota) (1974) w/ Paul Naschy, Diana Lorys, Eduardo Calvo, Eva León, Inés Morales, Antonio Pica, Luis Ciges, Pilar Bardem and Maria Perschy. Directed by Carlos Aured. And written by Paul Naschy and Carlos Aured. In this one we have Paul Naschy portraying a drifter in contemporary 1970s France (at least that is where we are supposed to believe this is set) who has visions of strangling a young and attractive woman and who gets a job as a handyman on an estate inhabited by three young and attractive women (natch!) all with physical and/or mental handicaps; one with a mutilated right arm and hand and with self-esteem issues (Diana Lorys), one a wheelchair-bound paraplegic which may or may not be psychosomatic (Maria Pershcy), and one who is **** incarnate (Eva León). And, of course, we have young and attractive women in the vicinity of that estate who are being murdered in fairly gruesome fashions. And, of course, we have many people who have secrets, including the paraplegic's resident nurse (Inés Morales) who is also a young and attractive woman and the nearby town's doctor (Eduardo Calvo). And, of course, we have many people who are suspects, including the estate's former handyman and the nearby town's resident ogler of young and attractive women girls (Luis Ciges). And, of course, we eventually find out whodunit. I would attempt to go into more detail but that would be at the risk of airing spoilers. But I suspect that we all know the basic path that these types of movies follow. And although there is nothing really new in this movie and there are some things that strike me as odd, the pieces are put together well and the plot holds together from start to finish. And the ending is a bit more surprising than usual. As a matter of fact even the movie's title makes sense once all is said and done. In many ways this movie is an ideal counterargument against anyone who believes giallo films can only be Italian. And, although I am partial to horror movies with monsters in them, I would rate this one above both the previously watched Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) and Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). Bottom line: This one needs to show up on TCM Underground if it hasn't already. I think many of our fellow board members would enjoy it. Random comments: 1.) This is the third of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection Blu-Ray set. And the first in that set to include an audio commentary track; this one by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn from NaschyCast. All of which means nothing to me but it was interesting to listen to. 2.) This movie has also gone by the titles of House of Psychotic Women and House of Doom albeit in edited versions. 3.) The director of this one, Carlos Aured, was also the director of Horror Rises from the Tomb. He also directed Paul Naschy in The Return of Walpurgis (1973) and The Mummy's Revenge (1975). In light of my enjoyment of two of their collaborations, I hope to get to those two other ones one of these days (assuming that they are even available) but, at this rate (8 months since my previous Paul Naschy movie! Where does the time go!), I wouldn't hold my breath! 4.) And it appears that Luis Ciges may be the Spanish equivalent of Michael Ripper as he is the only person other than Paul Naschy to have appeared in this one plus Horror Rises from the Tomb and Vengeance of the Zombies. 5.) Antonio Pica also appeared in Vengeance of the Zombies. And was, again, playing a police officer. 6.) We also have the same composer (Juan Carlos Calderón) from Vengeance of the Zombies. And, for the most part, the soundtrack, again, left much to be desired. My subconscious kept expecting James Coburn to appear as Derek Flint. However the composer did make excellent use of Frère Jacques as a motif for the killer. Although that may have been driven more by the director and/or the screenwriter. 7.) And, cast/crew-wise, I must make reference to Pilar Bardem who not only portrayed the owner of the local bar/diner in this movie but, in real life, is the mother of Javier Bardem who won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for No Country for Old Men (2007). 8.) Surprisingly, Paul Naschy only portrayed one role in this movie. So it appeared he was cutting back in that particular area. But he still bedded two women (and attempted to criminally force himself upon a third). So he was not cutting back in that other area. 9.) In a throwback to the older Universal horror movies (especially The Wolf Man (1941)) we have the "villagers" (albeit without wooden torches) in pursuit. And the pursued even gets a foot caught in an animal trap. 10.) As with Vengeance of the Zombies, this movie also includes a scene where a live animal is killed; in this case a pig. Now I'll admit I like bacon. But I'll also admit that I don't wish to see this particular step in the making of that bacon. Consider me a hypocrite if you wish. But it is what it is.
  4. 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.
  5. 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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