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"Horror Rises from the Tomb" (aka "El espanto surge de la tumba") (1973)

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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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2 hours ago, LiamCasey said:

Horror Rises from the Tomb (aka El espanto surge de la tumba) (1973)

Thank you very much for this great write up. Oddly enough, I was reviewing my watched-movie lists a few days ago, verifying release dates, and ran across this title. I hadn't thought of it in a while. I watched several of those Naschy films in close succession many years back, and as you say, most were those poor quality pan-and-scan video dupes that looked awful. Sometimes that can add to the "bad movie" charm, but other times it's just an irritant. 

I had considered picking up that Naschy set from Scream Factory, but the price never got low enough for me. I'm happy to hear that they are of high quality. I may splurge next month and buy one of the sets.

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  • 1 year later...

I really liked this one- the plot more or less makes sense- and there are some surprising moments- like when the zombies from " Night of the Living Dead" show up.  Yes there is plenty of nudity both female and male - some it gratuitous but other moments gives the film an erotic touch.  The special effects seemed a bit cheesy but the make up with that bright red blood is effective.  Naschy is really scary as Alaric de Marnac with a diabolical stare worthy of Dracula.  Helga Line is a bit campy as his evil spouse but she does look great - I love her line about needing a human heart because she is hungry.  It's interesting to see how Naschy rehired some of the same actors in supporting roles. 

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