Blu Release – 4.5/5
HUNCHBACK FROM THE MORGUE
Director – Javier Aguirre (Mother’s Sins, Count Dracula’s Great Love)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Night of the Werewolf, Tomb of the Werewolf), Rosanna Yanni (The Amazons, Fangs of the Living Dead), and Victor Barrera (The Terrorist, Green Inferno)
Release Date – 1973
Rating – 4/5
Tagline – “A freak of nature whose crimes go beyond your wildest terrors”
Horror has been a popular genre for well over a century. Hell, even master inventor Thomas Edison made his own adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in 1910. Since then there has been countless legends that made a name for themselves in the genre. Names like Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, Vincent Price, Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Tom Savini, George A. Romero, John Carpenter and so on has entertained many a generation of horror fans.
With that being said, there is several amazing icons that contributed so much to horror that doesn’t get the respect as the names above. Once such name is Paul Naschy. Naschy is an amazing actor and director that brought so many amazing films and characters to life.
Last year Scream Factory released the Paul Naschy Collection on blu with several amazing films from Naschy. With the success of that release Scream has decided to release a second volume. I reached out to Scream Factory and they were kind enough to send over a review copy. I want to thank Scream for always supporting my reviews and Horror Society.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows hunchback Wolfgang Gotho (Naschy) who is mentally slower than everyone in his small town. Wolfgang works for the local morgue and visits the hospital everyday to see the love of his life who is dying. The hospital staff is unable to save her and she dies. This sends Wolfgang on a killing spree where he tortures those that made him miss her final moments before snatching her body and hiding it in the catacombs beneath the city.
He then seeks the help of a doctor to help bring her back to life. Doctor Orla uses this to his advantage to make Wolfgang perform unspeakable acts so he can conduct his crude experiments in secret. He convinces Wolfgang that he will resurrect his lost love as long as he does what he says but that quickly proves to be wrong when some workers destroys her body in a vat of acid sending Wolfgang into another bloody frenzy. Wolfgang has reached the end of his rope with the doctor and wants to back out but it is too late. The doctor has now created artificial life and Wolfgang must stop it before it kills even more people that he loves.**Spoiler Alert**
I generally enjoy Paul Naschy’s work. There has been a few films of his that I did not like but for the most part his films are fantastic. Hunchback of the Morgue is one of the few Paul Naschy films where he was not truly the star of the show and still entertains.
The acting in this one is solid but we don’t get the amazing and over-the-top performance from Naschy like we typically see. His character is mentally stunted and almost child like but can turn vicious at the drop of a dime. He character was fun but not as flamboyant as previous roles. The rest of the cast is great. Their characters are outstanding. I really enjoyed the role of Doctor Orla portrayed by Alberto Dalbes. He stole the show and made every scene he was in his own. I really enjoyed the cast and liked the fact that Naschy was not the center focus. This caught me off guard.
The story for this one is fun and a lot more than I was expecting. I went into this thinking it was a flick about a killer hunchback but Wolfgang Gotho is not the monster in this and it takes half the film to realize this. The film is a surprising when science runs amok flicks that also serves as a period piece. I really enjoyed how this story went.
Finally, if you want gore you wont find any here. However, the film does have some impressive make-up effects that reminded me a lot of the film Zombi…even though this film was released almost 6 year before. Overall, Hunchback of the Morgue is a great watch. Fans of Nashy will enjoy this unless you want a lot of Naschy then you may be disappointed. I recommend this one.
A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE
Director – Leon Klimovsy (Night of the Walking Dead, The Dracula Saga)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Night of the Howling Beast, Horror Kung-Fu Theater), Erika Blanc (Kill Baby…Kill!, The Bad Child), and Angel Aranda (Planet of the Vampires, Bullets Dont Argue)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 3/5
As my Paul Naschy marathon continues I make my way through the second collection from Scream Factory one film at a time. I had just finished up what most consider to be his best film, Hunchback of the Morgue. The film is a fantastic film but the lack of Naschy was a bit underwhelming.
The next film in the set takes us into Naschy’s rare appearance in the giallo sub-genre. The film, A Dragonfly for Each Corpsewas released in 1974. The film went by many names and has become known as an exceptional giallo. I’m typically not a fan of giallos outside of the works of Dario Argento but Naschy was able to pull it off and make it work.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a police detective Scaporalla (Naschy) who is tasks with investigating a series or murders. Someone has been killing prostitutes and hookers on the street while wearing a hood and fashionably red pants. His ties, through his girlfriend, takes him through the fashion world through a prostitution ring to stop the killer before they can strike again.**Spoiler Alert**
I was damn shocked to discover Naschy in a giallo and I was even more shocked to find that I liked a giallo outside of Dario Argento. The film lacked style that I typically liked in a giallo but the story submerged itself in the murder mystery story line that I like.
The acting in this one is great. We once again see Paul Naschy deliver a commanding performance as the film’s lead. His character isn’t over the top like some of his period pieces but he does a fantastic job as the investigator. The films supporting cast does a fantastic job as well. They all contribute to the story and bring to life characters that you would typically see in these types of films.
The story for this one is different. One wouldn’t expect to see a giallo set in the world of high class fashion yet hold the attention of most horror fans but this one does. The viewer has no idea what is going on and watched every scene patiently to learn of the killer’s identity. The twists you can see coming a mile away bit it is still an effective murder mystery. The film was cleverly written and has great pacing.
Finally, the film has classic giallo type kills. The kills we get are fun for the style of film but are easily forgettable. The special effects we get work for the film itself but in any other film they would have been laughed at. Overall, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse is a fun giallo that fans of the sub-genre and Naschy alike will enjoy. It has a solid pace and the story is fun. Check it out.
Director – Leon Klimovsky (Leap to Fear, The People Who Own the Dark)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Werewolf and the Yeti, A Dragonfly for Each Corpse), Norma Sebre (I Did Kill Facundo, La Mala Vida), and Guillermo Bredeston (Deliciously Amoral, The Games Men Play)
Release Date – 1974
Rating – 3.5/5
I’m nearing the half way point to my Paul Naschy marathon thanks to Scream Factory. After watching Hunchback of the Morgue and the surprise giallo a Dragonfly for Each Corpse I was ready to move on to my next Naschy film. This time it was on to the first period piece in the collection, The Devil’s Possessed. This was one I had heard about due to it being loosely based on Gilles de Rais who is the biggest piece of shit to ever walk the Earth.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows an evil baron (Naschy) who rules with an iron fist. He is known for his despicable acts and has his servants punish those who do not do as they are told. Things change when a handsome war buddy of the baron returns to his home village and falls in love with one of the local women. He is a good man with a good moral compass. The baron grows more and more powerful and uses his power to sacrifice virgins for control. When his evil ways makes it to his friend he must act to stop him and the evil lady controlling him before the entire village falls to his darkness.**Spoiler Alert**
I’ve seen so many great Naschy horror films over the years but I have to say that my favorite ones are the period pieces. His characters tend to be embellished and the stories tend to be a lot darker in ton. The Devil’s Possessed is another great example of this.
The acting in this one is great. The film has a great cast that goes above and beyond to bring memorable characters to life but none touch the intensity that Naschy brings to the screen. He character is full of inner turmoil which creates some fun films but his best performances comes from the scenes where he is fully dedicated to being evil. He was fantastic in this film. Easily one of my favorite performances from him.
The story for this one is great but there could have been so much more. Considering the film was inspired by the heinous acts of Gills de Rais the film could have been a lot more macabre than what we get. The film delivers several amazing scenes that fits the story very well but some of the other scenes miss their mark. The film is very inconsistent.
Finally, the film has several death scenes but they are standard of the time. Minimal effects and bright red blood. The kills are lackluster and easily forgettable. Overall, The Devil’s Possessed is another fantastic film starring the underrated Paul Naschy. Check it out.
Director – Juan Bosch (The Killer With a Thousand Eyes, The Killer Wore Gloves)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Night of the Howling Beast, Horror Kung Fu Theater), Maria Perschy (Vultures, Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll), and Maria Kosty (Dreams from the Middle of the World, My Friend Washington)
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 4/5
With my Paul Naschy marathon winding down I decided it was time to check out one of his films that I had always wanted to see but never had the chance. In 1973 horror found its poster child in the face of Linda Blair when she took on the role of Reagan in the now classic film The Exorcist. The film was an instant hit and fans today are still talking about it.
For years after the release the horror community saw clones of this popping up all over the world. In 1975 Naschy wrote and starred in his version Exorcism aka Exorcismo. He has went on record stating that he wrote the film years before the hit flick was released but this has never been proven differently. I’ve heard a lot about this film and couldn’t wait to check it out.
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows a priest, Father Dunning (Naschy), who is asked by a friend to visit his sister. He suspects his sister is possessed after a trip abroad with her husband. Father Dunning meets with her several times and suspects nothing out of the ordinary until her brother is found dead and before long more bodies are added to the pile. He must act fast and remove the evil spirit from her before more innocent lives are lost.**Spoiler Alert**
I went into this one knowing that it was possibly a rip off of The Exorcistbut I was still excited to see it. The film actually surprised me. I really enjoyed it and what Naschy brought to the genre. There is clear influence from The Exorcist but not enough to take away from the overall film.
The acting in this one is great…by Naschy but not so much from the rest of the cast. Naschy once again delivers a fantastic performance. He takes the heroic character very seriously and it showed in his performance. He did a fantastic job. Sadly, the supporting cast struggles to find their footing. The female cast members scream when terrified but show absolutely no emotion as they do this. This is strange to see at times which makes these scenes very awkward. It seemed as if the cast had very little direction during these scenes.
The story for this one is great if you are into religious horror from the 70s. I personally love these films and Exorcismo is one of the better ones. The story draws you in with each scene (when screaming is not taking place) and you can’t help but wonder where this is going to take you. It was exciting at times and suspenseful at others. I really enjoyed the pacing in this.
Finally, the film has several deaths but they are very underwhelming. Very minimal effects and not that fun to watch. Overall, Exorcismo is a great watch. I really enjoyed Naschy’s character and the story. I would have loved to see some better deaths but we can’t have it all! Check it out.
Alternate Clothed Versions of the Films
English Credit Sequence
THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI
Director – Miquel Iglesias (Rape, Green Inferno)
Starring – Paul Naschy (Night of the Executioner, Panic Beats), Merceda Molina (Exorcismo, The Fifth Season), and Silvia Solar (Cannibal Terror, Devil’s Kiss)
Release Date – 1975
Rating – 3/5
Tagline – “Two bloodthirsty beasts in deadly combat”
All good things must come to an end. I started my Paul Naschy movie marathon several days ago and was able to watch five amazing films from one of the most underrated names in horror. I watched the fantastic Hunchback of the Morgue which is considered his best work, the giallo A Dragonfly for Each Corpse, the period piece The Devil’s Possessed, and the religious horror film Exorcismo. All were amazing films.
The final film in the set is easily the most notorious of his films, The Werewolf and the Yeti. This is one I see posters and VHS for everywhere in horror groups and forums. I had always heard it was shit but who wouldn’t want to see a movie about a yeti and a werewolf?
**Spoiler Alert**The film follows Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy) who travels to Tibet to prove that the elusive yeti does exist. A colleague of his died while investigating sighting and may have unearthed a scalp belonging to the beast. While on the hunt for the creature he finds himself separated from his group and near death before he finds refuge in a cave where two vampires live.
They seduce him and when he discovers their true nature they bite him turning him into a werewolf in the moon light. His group finds themselves being hunted by a ruthless lord of the region who wants to kills everyone but the women. Soon Waldemar finds himself imprisoned by him as well until the sun sets and the evil of the wolf is unleashed.**Spoiler Alert**
I’ve heard a lot about this film over the years from avid horror fans and fans of Naschy alike. They all tend to say the same thing. Most warn people to avoid this flick or skip it. I don’t see why. I absolutely loved it. It is the perfect 70s’ drive in flick with an absurd story and solid cast.
The acting in this one is well done by everyone involved. Naschy does a fantastic job as the films’ lead with is expected. The supporting cast does a knock out job as well. They really made some memorable characters come to life.
The story for this one is fantastic. We have vampires, yeti, a werewolf, and Hun like pirates that prey on the country side. The story has a smooth pacing with very little slow scenes.
Finally, the film has several death scenes but they do not stand out. One would assume that an outlandish story would deliver outlandish death but it does not. Overall, The Werewolf and the Yeti is a fun late night watch. Far from the best Naschy film but it is still fun as fuck to watch. Check it out.