Having checked off all the films in Spanish horror hunk Paul Naschy’s werewolf franchise in a previous post, I now take on most of his horror flicks from the 1970s (there are just two that are not available on DVD or Blu-ray yet). After this, I have one more Naschy blog coming covering his films from the new millennium. For now, it’s back to the 70s…
THE HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973)
This is basically The Hunchback of Notre Dame meets The Bride of Frankenstein done nasty 1970s horror style.
Paul Naschy is a hunchback working at a morgue where everyone despises and teases him. He’s not exactly as sympathetic as Quasimodo considering he gets a thrill out of hacking pieces off dead bodies.
But he is in love with a sick woman in the hospital, and she’s the only one who is nice to him. When she dies he goes even crazier. Eventually he enlists a few unorthodox scientists to work in a lair to try to bring her back to life. Not surprisingly, elements of this part of the film are reminiscent of the Hammer films of the 1960s.
This movie is really weird. Every time something goes wrong with the woman’s decomposing body, Paul feels the need to kill someone. There’s a rat swarm scene that apparently used real rats—and they were actually set on fire. I believe there are scenes in several of the Naschy films I’ve watched that might have harmed or killed real animals on screen, so I look away every time a struggling, squealing animal appears in one of his films.
There’s a bizarre beating scene between two female patients that is definitely going for a lesbian S&M vibe, a solution to reviving the dead woman that includes dumping her body in an acid bath (say what?), and eventually there’s…a slime monster. You want horror, you get all kinds of it with this one.
ORGY OF THE LIVING DEAD (1973)
Naschy’s role in this film is actually quite limited, which is unfortunate because it’s a nice macabre and perverted role. He’s a necro gravedigger. Yay!
This is a gothic horror mystery with some living dead sequences now and then, and it’s definitely a little too long to remain interesting, especially with Naschy disappearing early on and only showing up again at the end.
A man comes to a town to collect an inheritance and sees a woman hanging in a tree in the cemetery. He quickly becomes a suspect as he gathers with the family at his deceased uncle’s estate and detectives begin to investigate.
Of course the main man does some of his own investigating to clear his name. Shit is just weird at the estate because—wouldn’t you know it—there’s a mad scientist experimenting in the basement.
And wouldn’t you also know those experiments start leading to the dead walking around. However, this is not a full-fledged zombie film. These eerie zombies just make occasional appearances, which is part of the reason Orgy of the Living Dead is all atmosphere and no action (does that make it a living dead fuck?). One of those films given different titles in different markets, it should never have been given one with the word “orgy” in it, because that sounds like way more fun than you have here.
Also known as The Man With the Severed Head, this film seems like a cheesy, sleazy, long-winded way to simply give Paul a chance to play Frankenstein.
Paul is leader of a gang of thieves, and he gets shot in the head during a getaway. The gang forces a doctor to try to save him, but he is diagnosed as not standing a damn chance of surviving.
For whatever reason, the gang won’t accept that. So begins the passing down of the doctor torch to some mad scientist experimenting with brain transplants. And these brainiacs decide to cut off the head of the gang’s enemy and use his brain for the transplant.
While all this is going on, the gang members have some hilariously lecherous sex, bumping and grinding with absolutely no rhythm or control while slobbering all over their women with their tongues.
The operation is a disaster thanks to a mess of a doctor, and eventually Paul rises as a violent and horny man with a big bandage around his head, hunting down women to rape.
Eventually his gang members have to decide whether or not it’s worth accepting him and his new brain. These thieves might want to take into account that their competition wasn’t smart enough to prevent his brain from being stolen for insertion in Paul’s head…
COUNT DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE (1973)
I just love that Paul decided he was going to play as many classic monsters as he could, and do it Hammer style if Hammer was Euro sleaze.
It doesn’t get any better than a vampire movie starting with two dudes delivering a big mysterious crate to a basement. In this case it leads to one guy getting turned into a vampire and the other getting an axe to the head.
Next we meet several young women and a man traveling in a stagecoach that gets into an unfortunate accident. Luckily they are right near Dracula’s gothic home and he lets them stay the night.
As thunder and lightning strike outside, the girls explore the house with candles, and there’s even a cheap pussy scare! I would love to figure out what the very first movie was that gave us a cheap pussy scare.
Soon, the guy that got bit at the beginning, who is much creepier than Paul’s Dracula, delivers the first bite of a guest that leads to a chain of biting. And with this being Euro sleaze, mostly all the girls get bit by their bare boobs. There’s even a lesbian threesome boob biting scene. Personally, I preferred the man-on-man bite.
With a harem of female vamps lined up, Drac sets into motion his ultimate goal—the resurrection of a skeleton in a coffin.
Other than the fact that there’s more sleaze than Hammer Dracula films, this is just as bland.
THE DEVIL’S POSSESSED (1974)
Eh. I don’t know why this was even included in one of the Paul Naschy Blu-ray collections. I know, I know. Because Paul Naschy is in it. However, despite the title and a hint of a witchcraft element, this really isn’t a horror movie. It’s a movie about the sadistic horrors perpetrated by men in medieval times. Yawn.
Paul is an evil king who has some of his minions working on discovering the key to eternal life using witchcraft. Meanwhile, he revels in torturing his enemies…or anyone he deems lesser than him, which is everyone.
So, the bright side of this film is that we get to watch Paul smile gleefully as he stands over two different sweaty, shirtless guys screaming in pain.
Other than that, this is all sword fights and stately soap opera dramatics on the level of Shakespeare.
It’s another rip-off of The Exorcist that I didn’t even know existed until I scored a copy in one of the Paul Naschy Blu-ray collections.
After participating in a satanic ritual, a young woman gets into a car accident and isn’t quite the same. Her concerned family eventually consults a priest, played by Paul.
While the girl spends a lot of time in bed being a bitch to her family, most of the focus is on Paul the priest researching the parallels between mental health and possession while also landing on the radar of detectives due to a rash of occult related murders.
It’s not until the last fifteen minutes that we get the good dose of possessed girl action we’ve been waiting for all along. It’s satisfying, but it is just not enough of the Paul vs. possession craziness I was hoping for.
A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (1975)
Paul gets to be a giallo detective in this rather routine but nonetheless raunchy flick that can easily offend degenerates like me.
This fucking killer assumes responsibility as the saintly slasher of sinners—drug addicts, sluts, queers, whores, transvestites. You know, anyone who actually enjoys life. Most offensive is that the killer beheads the leader of a gang of Neo-Nazis. Don’t fricking lump the rest of us in with those monsters.
The killer wears a black hoodie and plain black cloth mask and mostly uses a red axe to hack up victims, and then leaves a dragonfly as a calling card on the bodies. While this is a rather uninspired “mystery”, the repetitive slasher elements are plenty entertaining.
Even more entertaining is how a lot of the action in the second half of the film takes place at a creepy, deserted amusement park at night. Not once, but twice someone on a high up structure takes a bullet and we get to watch an obvious dummy bounce off a bunch of obstacles on the way down, which gave me two good chuckles.
More importantly though, we are treated to Paul getting a sponge bath and Paul making the gay character smile.
THE MUMMY’S REVENGE (1975)
It’s so hokey to have a narrator describing what happened back in the bad old days, but it is what it is. Pharaoh Paul Naschy was a cruel tyrant…but shirtless!
He tortured and murdered beautiful young women, and he and his lady drank their blood. Then a high priest put a stop to all that with some poison and mummification.
The mummy is discovered thousands of years later by a family in London, and bringing it into their life proves to be a huge mistake. Descendants of the mummy, including one who looks exactly like the pharaoh, hatch a plan to bring the mummy back to life eternally.
This is basically a mummy slasher, so it’s kind of fun. The only problem I had with it is that when they first resurrect the mummy, he fricking talks and orders them around, which is cheesy. It also defeats the purpose of then making him a grunting monster that lurks in the shadows for the rest of the film. You’re such a poser, dude. We know you can talk.
THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK (1976)
Often compared to Night of the Living Dead, this film makes me think more of The Last Man On Earth coming down with a case of The Crazies. Yes, a bunch of people end up under siege in a building, but the danger outside is a horde of crazies, not zombies.
It begins normal enough—rich elites are invited to a party of perversion at a castle. But the debauchery is interrupted—by a nuclear explosion outside. What the hell is the point of all that white privilege if a nuclear explosion is going to ruin your orgy?
On the bright side, that must be one seriously fortified castle…
The richies venture outside (with weapons) to see the aftermath, and meet a blind man who says the nuclear fallout has left any survivors blind and they’ve all gathered together in the monastery.
Gathered might be the wrong word. More like they’ve all collided. In one of the creepiest scenes in the film, the richies witness a bunch of blind people crammed into the building and bouncing off one another in a panic.
This scene establishes the basic premise—blind crazies! The richies must remain quiet to survive. Awesome. I just wish the film were as exciting as it sounds. There are a few cool scenes, like the crazies crashing a car right through a house the richies hide in (they’re blind, so it makes sense they didn’t see the house…). The only really eerie scene in the film for me? The crazies taunt the richies by lowering a couple of dead bodies into the house through a hole in the roof. EEK!
The crazy does start affecting the richies slowly but surely, including Paul, who seems to step up as the main character briefly near the end of the film. The conclusion is a downer on a much bigger, doomsday level of disturbing than the final scene of Night of the Living Dead.
A little late in the game, but for his directorial debut, Paul decided to take on a witch trial period piece.
It’s pretty easy to write this off as a simple misogynistic exploitation flick—it has plenty of scenes of writhing, naked women being tortured—but there are a few interesting points being made here, and none of them are flattering to men.
Paul is naturally the witchfinder, and throughout the torture we see that there’s no fair trial for women—they are commanded to admit they are witches otherwise they will just keep getting tortured worse and worse. The men doing and watching the torture of these naked women get perverse joy out of it. An absolutely awful character trying to assault a woman proudly admits he loves burning the young ones and that he hates all women because he is just like any other man. And that becomes quite clear in the absolute worst torture scene in the film, when a woman’s nipple is ripped off, and then it is suggested the executioner is about to do something awful to her vagina. Luckily for her, she dies before he can.
Torture and misogyny aside, there is an actual plot, and it is loaded with witchcraft and Satanism. A young woman whose man is murdered is determined to find out who the murderer is so she can get revenge. So with the help of some witches, she participates in Satanic rituals and sells her soul to the Devil for the answer.
Wouldn’t you know the man she’s after is Paul? And he’s actually going through some stuff himself as his heinous job starts to wear on his conscience.
I must say that the conclusion makes this an incredibly unsatisfying revenge film, but the plot requires Paul to shave his head, and he looks goooood bald.
THE DEVIL INCARNATE (1979)
Not sure if anything is lost in (subtitle) translation, but this goofy little film seems to be totally tongue in cheek and not to be taken seriously.
It’s a period piece that begins with Paul playing the Devil, who has come to earth in human form. Why? To tempt individuals to sin just so he can turn around and punish them!
First he rescues a young dude from trouble and makes him into his apprentice. Together they travel on foot to various places, where Paul works his evil magic, most often seducing innocent women just so he can turn around and ruin their lives right after all the cumming is done. He also brands each woman by slicing an inverted crucifix into their derrières. At one point he even brands a dude.
The good news is Paul shows his booty in this film during the sex scenes.
He convinces a nun that sex will exorcise her convent of demons, and then he and his apprentice hit up a whorehouse.
And I’m not even joking when I tell you there’s basically a sped up Benny Hill chase sketch sequence involving everyone running around the whorehouse naked. WTF?
There’s also an icky scene in which Paul shows the young apprentice the future—which includes what I thinks is real footage of the Holocaust along with other catastrophic events.
This is the pivotal point in the whole plot, for Paul fricking sells his apprentice to a rich and powerful gay dude who wants that young ass! There’s even a rape scene in which three men hold the apprentice in place while the rich man screws him. It is an odd approach to gay themes. There’s no judgement by the Devil beyond him saying no asshole is worth what the gay dude wants to pay for it. Of course homosexuality is depicted as predatory and violent, but the Devil isn’t punishing anyone for it, so it doesn’t seem he considers it a sin. I was never confused about my sexuality before, but suddenly I’m totally confused…
The cool thing is the apprentice decides to stay with his big rich sugar daddy (not that he has a choice) and plans to get revenge on the Devil, landing this one on the does the gay guy die? page.