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Found 9 results

  1. A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (aka Una libélula para cada muerto) (1975) w/ Paul Naschy, Erika Blanc, Ángel Aranda, María Kosty, Ricardo Merino, Susana Mayo and Eduardo Calvo. Directed by León Klimovsky. And written by Paul Naschy and Ricardo Muñoz Suay. A vigilante wearing a black coat, a black hood, black gloves, black shoes and red (I guess for a change of pace?) pants roams the streets of 1973 Milano knocking off a variety of what he/she considers undesirables (drug users, orgyists, strippers, etc.) using a variety of weapons in a variety of bloody methods. And then leaves a small dragonfly figurine on each one of his/her victims. Yes, the title of this one is both very giallo and very literal. And assigned to investigate these murders is a cigar-chewing Milano police inspector named Paolo Scaporella (Paul Naschy) with the on-the-job characteristics of a Harry Callahan, a Popeye Doyle, a Buddy Manucci. Who, at first, is somewhat in favor of what this vigilante is doing. But off the job he is in a healthy and married relationship with Silvana (Erika Blanc) who, as the case progresses, starts channelling her inner Nora Charles (albeit a Nora Charles who studies clues in the buff with an open book hiding her nether region) up to the point where she puts herself in danger. And, coincidentally (at least coincidentally if this was real life), this inspector's circle of friends wind up becoming this movie's red herrings and/or victims. And, after sufficient attrition has occurred, we get the inevitable showdown between the hunter and the hunted. When viewed as a giallo, this is the definition of average. Watchable but average. But when viewed as a mystery, it leaves a lot to be desired because it doesn't provide a viewer with sufficient clues to play detective on one's own and, therefore, one is simply waiting out the aforementioned attrition. And it suffers from some inconsistencies (for example, if a victim dies with his right hand open, how can the cops later find a button in his closed right hand?). Where this one does shine is in the interplay between the characters portrayed by Paul Naschy and Erika Blanc. In many ways, that was probably the high point of this movie for me. Usually cops in these types of movies are loners. But this one gave the cop a wife. And then gave them scenes together where they felt like a couple who had been together for awhile and enjoyed each other's company and took care of each other. Also of interest was the fact that this movie included a character who, visually, was the stereotypical overt homosexual common to 1970s movies. But this character was not only part of the aforementioned circle of friends but was treated as an equal by all including Paul Naschy's cop character. Nice how they flipped the coin on that one at that time. Considering our fellow board members appear to prefer crime over horror on average, I could see this one being paired with Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) on TCM Underground. And then followed by cigarjoe using it as a basis for doing a compare/contrast between giallo and noir. That I would like to read! Random comments: 1.) This is the second of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. 2.) This is the second billed Erika Blanc's only movie with Paul Naschy. That's a shame. 3.) This is one of the fourth billed María Kosty's four movies with Paul Naschy; one of which was the previously reviewed Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). We won't hold that against her! 4.) This is also one of the fifth billed Ricardo Merino's four movies with Paul Naschy; one of which is the yet to be seen by me Inquisición (1977). 5) This is one of the seventh billed Eduardo Calvo's ten movies with Paul Naschy; one of which was the previously reviewed Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll. Obviously those two got along. 6.) And this is one of eight movies with Paul Naschy that was directed by León Klimovsky. Considering that one of those movies was the previously reviewed Vengeance of the Zombies, I was a tad nervous going into this one. 7.) Of the Naschy movies that I've watched (or rewatched) during this go around, I would rank this one fourth as follows: a) Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll b) The Hunchback of the Morgue (1973) c) Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) e) A Dragonfly for Each Corpse d) Night of the Werewolf (1981) f) Count Dracula's Great Love (1973) g) Human Beasts (1980) h) Vengeance of the Zombies
  2. 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! 😀
  3. 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.
  4. 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:
  5. 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.
  6. The Devil's Possessed (aka El Mariscal del Infierno) (1974) w/ Paul Naschy, Norma Sebre, Guillermo Bredeston, Mariano Vidal Molina, Graciela Nilson and Eduardo Calvo. Directed by León Klimovsky. And written by Paul Naschy. Can I get away with just writing "Ugh!" at this point so we can all go on to something else? In 15th Century France, Barón Gilles de Lancré (Paul Naschy) returns home after failing to be rewarded by his king for his military victories on that king's behalf. And, therefore, turns to alchemy in order to obtain the Philosopher's Stone so he can use that to achieve his goals instead. But the price of that stone, as per his friendly neighborhood alchemist Simon de Braqueville (Eduardo Calvo), is the blood of damsels (among other things). A price which, after very little prodding by his sexy (of course) wife, Georgelle (Norma Sebre), he agrees to pay which leads to a reign of terror in his barony. Which, of course, leads to a peasant uprising. Which is eventually led by our generic hero and the baron's former comrade in arms, Gaston de Malebranche (Guillermo Bredeston). Considering how many of Paul Naschy's movies hearken back to the Universal movies of the 1920s through the 1940s, it should come as no surprise that one of them would be reminiscent of Tower of London (1939). Up to and including the fact that all the horror in it is man made. Matter of fact, if Paul Naschy wasn't in this movie, it would probably have been simply classified as an action adventure. And then I probably wouldn't have wasted my time watching it and writing this. And then you wouldn't be wasting your time reading this. And, as an action adventure, this movie is a stew with meats and vegetables pulled not only from the aforementioned Tower of London, but also from Macbeth (naturally with a wife like this) and Robin Hood (extremely so with rebel peasants fighting from the woods and with our hero physically proving himself to said peasants and with the robbing of the baron's second-hand man himself and with the rebel leader secretly participating in the baron's tournament and with, of course, a damsel to rescue from the baron's dungeon) plus comic swordplay as per the then recent duology featuring The Three Musketeers (albeit a poor imitation of that choreography) and even (yes, I am going totally tongue in cheek at this point) Monty Python (simply because everyone expects the Spanish Inquisition!). But a very bland stew nonetheless. Random comments: 1.) This is the third of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. 2.) And, of the Naschy movies that I've watched (or rewatched) during this go around, I would rank this one last as follows: a) Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) b) The Hunchback of the Morgue (1973) c) Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) d) A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1975) e) Night of the Werewolf (1981) f) Count Dracula's Great Love (1973) g) Human Beasts (1980) h) Vengeance of the Zombies (1973) i) The Devil's Possessed Matter of fact, if this was the first Paul Naschy movie that I had ever seen, it would probably have been the last Paul Naschy movie that I had ever seen. 3.) A literal translation of the Spanish title for this one is "The Marshal Of Hell". 4.) This is the only movie that the second billed Norma Sebre, the third billed Guillermo Bredeston and the fifth billed Graciela Nilson have in common with Paul Naschy. 5.) As for the fourth billed Mariano Vidal Molina, he also appeared with Paul Naschy in Curse of the Devil (1973) (a Waldemar Daninsky movie), A Dragonfly for Each Corpse, The Cantabrians (1980) (a sword and sandal movie) and Howl of the Devil (1987) (where Paul Naschy plays everyone!). 6.) And, as previously mentioned, this is one of the sixth billed Eduardo Calvo's ten movies with Paul Naschy with the others being Disco Rojo (1973) (a crime movie which translates as "Red Light"), The Killer is One of the Thirteen (1973) (naturally another giallo with a title like that), Curse of the Devil, Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse, The Mummy's Revenge (1975), Cross of the Devil (1975), Inquisición (1977) and Human Beasts (albeit only vocally in this last one). 7.) And, again as previously mentioned, this is one of eight movies with Paul Naschy that was directed by León Klimovsky with the others being The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971), Dr. Jekyll vs. The Werewolf (1972), Vengeance of the Zombies, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse, Death of a Hoodlum (1975) (a crime movie), The People Who Own the Dark (1976) and Secuestro (1976) (another crime movie which translates as "Kidnapping").
  7. The Hunchback of the Morgue (aka El jorobado de la morgue) (1973) w/ Paul Naschy, Rossana Yanni, Vic Winner, Alberto Dalbés, Maria Perschy, María Elena Arpón, Manuel de Blas and Antonio Pica. Directed by Javier Aguirre. And written by Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina), Javier Aguirre and Alberto S. Insúa. A mash-up of The Hunchback of Notre Dame (No surprise there!), Beauty and the Beast (Because, no matter what, Paul Naschy must have at least one scene where someone loves him. Or, at least, someone makes love with him.), Frankenstein, et. al., in this movie we have Paul Naschy portraying a hunchback named Wolfgang Gotho who works in the morgue (Yes, the title for this movie is about as straightforward as one can get.) of a contemporary 1970s Bavarian hospital. And who is tormented by almost everyone in the village with the exception of a dying patient named Ilsa (María Elena Arpón) and a kindly doctor named Elke (Rossana Yanni) whom eventually becomes romantically involved with him (Because somebody has to!). And who, once Ilsa has died, saves her corpse from dissection by murdering a pair of morgue attendants who previously abused him. And murders a medical student who kept him from being with her before she died. And then takes her corpse to a Dr. Orla (Alberto Dalbés) in the hopes that Dr. Orla will restore Ilsa to him. And that doctor just happens to be the usual mad scientist who is already working on artificial life and who takes advantage of Gotho in order to get the necessary bodies (dead and living) to bring that life to, well, life. With said life eventually appearing as sewer slime in humanoid form. And it should be obvious as to whom has to finally fight that! Needless to say, we are all over the place on this one. But it was a lot better than expected after the recently watched Count Dracula's Great Love (1973) from the same director, the same set of writers and the same star and two of the same costars. Random comments: 1.) This is the first of five movies in The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. 2.) Of the Naschy movies that I've watched (or rewatched) during this go around, I would rank this one second as follows primarily due to Paul Naschy's performance: a) Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974) b) The Hunchback of the Morgue c) Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) d) Night of the Werewolf (1981) e) Count Dracula's Great Love f) Human Beasts (1980) g) Vengeance of the Zombies (1973) And, yes, I'm still surprised that a movie without a monster in it is still on the top of my list! 3.) The second billed Rossana Yanni's role in this one is pretty much the exact opposite of her role in the aforementioned Count Dracula's Great Love. And I assume there is some psychological term that explains why, although both movies were made in the same year and, therefore, she should look about the same in both, she looks prettier in this movie simply because her character is nicer in this one. Her other collaborations with Paul Naschy are Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (1968) which contains the first appearance of his Waldemar Daninsky and Madrid al desnudo (1979). She also appears in William Shatner's classic (typed with tongue firmly in cheek!) Western White Comanche (1968). 4.) And, with this one in the books, I have now seen all four collaborations between Paul Naschy and the third billed Vic Winner who, in this one, portrays a weak willed doctor who assists the mad scientist. 5.) This is the only collaboration between Paul Naschy and Alberto Dalbés. But IMDB list 13 collaborations between the latter and the one and only Jesús Franco including such monster titles like Dracula, Prisoner of Frankenstein (1972), Daughter of Dracula (1972) and The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein (1973). 6.) This is the first of five collaborations between Paul Naschy and Maria Perschy (who portrays the doctor/fiance of Vic Winner's character here) with the others being the aforementioned Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll plus Exorcism (1975), Kilma, Queen of the Jungle (1975) and The People Who Own the Dark (1976) although neither of them are billed far from the top on those latter two. The aforementioned Exorcism is part of The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. 7.) Manuel de Blas and Antonio Pica portray police officers inspecting but never solving the various crimes occurring in this movie. Which appears to be par for the course for the latter actor whenever he appears in a Paul Naschy movie. 8.) In another unexpected difference from Count Dracula's Great Love, this movie only contains one short scene with any nudity in it. And it was fairly obvious that that footage was pulled from a different (and poorer) source than what was used for all other scenes. It is such a jarring difference that, considering how unnecessary that scene was, it would have been best if they left it out of the movie itself and simply added it as a bonus feature to satisfy the completionists out there. 9.) And, to end this posting on a random note, the opening credits of this movie are displayed against bright autumnal hills while very upbeat polka-esque music plays. If I didn't recognize the names in the credits, I would have suspected that I was watching the wrong movie!
  8. Count Dracula's Great Love (aka El gran amor del conde Drácula) (1973) w/ Paul Naschy, Rossana Yanni, Haydée Politoff, Mirta Miller, Ingrid Garbo and Vic Winner. Directed by Javier Aguirre. And written by Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina), Alberto S. Insúa and Javier Aguirre. This movie opens with two men delivering a crate to an old abandoned sanatorium near (where else) the Borgo Pass in Transylvania and, once there, their avarice leads them to opening that crate which contains a coffin which, in turn, contains a skeleton with long hair. And, with their greed unsated, they then start to search the sanatorium. Which gets one of them attacked by a vampire whose face is unseen but with a very familiar looking back of the head. And the other one gets a more permanent end by having an ax stuck in his head (and whom we then get to see falling down a flight of steps over and over again during the opening credits). Obviously this one is not wasting any time cutting to the chase! Some time later, a stagecoach with five passengers (four women (all beautiful of course) and one man) conveniently loses a wheel near the sanatorium. And then the stagecoach driver is conveniently killed off by one of the horses. And then the sound of a wolf conveniently makes two of the horses run off. So our quintet is stranded and needs to take shelter in the conveniently located sanatorium. Whose new owner, an Austrian doctor named Wendell Marlow, is (supposedly) the only one there. Who may also have been the original builder of the sanatorium, Jorgo Kargos, whom mysteriously disappeared years ago. But who is, either way, Count Dracula (I know, big surprise!). Who informs them that it will be a week before they will be able to leave. Which is convenient since it appears that Dracula needs to seduce a virgin in a conventional (non-vampiric) manner in order to regain his potency and revive his daughter (the skeleton mentioned above). And, conveniently, one of the four women is a virgin (although (being a Paul Naschy movie) only one of the four women is a virgin). Which leads to a daisy chain of sexual escapades and vampire attacks (and not necessarily at different times) which leaves the virgin as the last non-undead standing. Whom (not exactly a spoiler here considering the title of this movie) Dracula falls in love somewhere along the line with which causes him to change his entire plans. Which leads to an interesting and surprising ending. But the path to that ending left a bit to be desired. Why? I get the impression that Paul Naschy was attempting to treat his Count Dracula as a tragic figure similar to his Waldemar Daninsky. But what worked for a werewolf did not work (at least for me) for a vampire because you are starting with an definitively evil character. And there was nothing in this movie to really sell me on the concept that this character was reformed. Especially since his great love felt more like a mild infatuation. And, although the ending was out of the ordinary, I could not accept the fact that this particular character would choose that ending. Additionally, Naschy does not fit my mental image of what a vampire should be. I have the same problem with Lon Chaney in Son of Dracula (1943). They both seem to be too well fed to be vampires. Which may be why they both portrayed werewolves way more than they portrayed vampires. Also, I mentioned in a previous posting that Naschy reminds me of John Belushi. Well, that fact is so apparent in this movie that, once this movie decides that we should know that his character is Dracula, his face (but not the rest of him) becomes pale and his hair gets combed straight back and he gains a cape and fangs and he becomes such a stereotypical image that I started to expect an old Saturday Night Live skit to kick in. Random comments: 1.) Just in case anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, Count Dracula's Great Love is not part of The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. But I was placing an order for The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires (1974) and decided to pick up this Blu-Ray too while I was at it. And decided to watch it first. 2.) Of the Naschy movies that I've watched (or rewatched) during this go around, I would rate this one fourth below Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (1974), Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) and Night of the Werewolf (1981) and above Human Beasts (1980) and Vengeance of the Zombies (1973). And, I'll be honest, I suspect it is the four women in it that got it that high on the list! 3.) Oddly, this movie makes reference to both Dr. Van Helsing and Jonathan Harker as legends which would imply that this movie was set much later than the 1890s. But it was definitely set in a Gothic era and not the 20th Century. But, then again, the classic Universal horror movies always had a bit of a loosey goosey feel for whenever they were set too. So whom am I to judge? 4.) The director of this movie, Javier Aguirre, is also the director of Hunchback of the Morgue (1973) which is part of The Paul Naschy Collection II Blu-Ray set. I have not previously seen Hunchback of the Morgue and, after this one, my expectations for that one when I do will be fairly low. 5.) The second billed Rossana Yanni appeared in three other movies with Naschy; two of which were horror movies: Frankenstein's Bloody Terror (1968) and the aforementioned Hunchback of the Morgue. Which, on the other hand, increases my expectations for that one. Call me fickle. 6.) The fourth billed Mirta Miller appeared in four other movies with Nachy; two of which were also horror movies: Dr. Jekyll vs The Werewolf (1972) and the aforementioned Vengeance of the Zombies. 7.) And then there was Vic Winner who appeared in three other movies with Naschy; like this all horror movies from 1973: Horror Rises from the Tomb, Hunchback of the Morgue and Vengeance of the Zombies. 8.) As for Haydée Politoff and Ingrid Garbo, this appears to be their only movie with Naschy. And doesn't the name for that latter actress just scream classic Hollywood mash-up?
  9. 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.
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