Director – Paul Naschy (Howl of the Devil, Panic Beats)
Starring – Maria Jose Cantudo (Blade of Darkness, Bordello), Agata Lys (Trauma, The Holy Innocents), and Paul Naschy
Release Date – 1978
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 3/5
This house is and always will be a home for the legendary Paul Naschy. Sadly, there is a few of his films that I don’t care for but the ones that I do I absolutely adore. His films have amazing characters, fantastic atmosphere, and the stories are almost always mesmerizing. When Mondo Macabro announced that they would be releasing the 1978 Naschy flick The Frenchman’s Garden I knew I was going to add it to my October horror binge. I want to thank CAV and Mondo for allowing Horror Society the opportunity to check this one out.
**Spoiler Alert** The film follows Juan (Naschy) who owns a brothel and is married to a beautiful woman. However, he has a secret life of sleeping with the ladies in the brothel and knocking them up. When he doesn’t make the money he wants he results to killing rich patrons to his brothel with the help of his right hand man. **Spoiler alert**
I didn’t know what to expect when I was going into The Frenchman’s Garden. Naschy is known for his flamboyancy and living in the limelight. He loved the attention he received and always preferred top billing on his projects which is understandable. However, with this one he opted to keep his name off the film to focus on the two female leads. This lead me to believe that the film was centered around them more than Naschy which was not the case.
The acting in this one is great. Naschy once again shines as the morally questionable business owner who will do anything, including murder, to cover his own ass. I loved the character he portrays and he is so comfortable in the role. The supporting cast is just as enjoyable but Naschy is center stage like always. I thoroughly enjoyed him in this role.
The story for this one is more like a period piece with elements of horror and crime. The horror does take the back seat while the drama and crime aspect take up a majority of the film. Honestly, I enjoyed it but it is a story that we have seen before especially in other 70s based horror tales. The pacing is damn near perfect and the scenes may dialogue heavy but they are very enjoyable.
Finally, the film has some bloody moments but don’t expect to see memorable deaths. The few deaths we get are quick with very little redeeming quality with very little redeeming qualities. Overall, The Frenchman’s Garden is a fantastic release from Mondo Macabro. It’s not the best movie to spin during your October viewing but I liked it. I highly recommend snagging this one.
Brand new 4k transfer from film negative, digitally restored.
Interview with Paul Naschy.
Audio commentary from Troy Howarth, Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn.
Optional English subtitles.
Mondo Macabro previews.