Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unofficial 2nd Annual Paul Naschy Day

In the spirit of wild and wonderful, we take a side trip from la Semana de Luchar. I offer up La Rebelion de las Muertas, aka Vengeance of the Zombies for your consideration (León Klimovsky, 1973). One, because it is an awesome film, and two, because we are marking the second anniversary of Jacinto Molina's death; the man better known as Paul Naschy, "the Spanish Lon Chaney."

VotZ is my kind of zombie movie. Frankly, I am a bit fed-up with the over-use of Romero-styled plague zombies. This film is one of those rare instances of Voodoo zombies, such as in Sugar Hill, Amazing Mask, or Plague of the Zombies (Vincent Price & Hammer Films). In it, Naschy plays three separate characters. He is the hero, Krisna, the villain, Kantaka, and briefly appears as Satan. While he is more known for playing the werewolf Waldemar Daninsky, this film is completely in his wheelhouse. Naschy is a makeup guy, and likes to portray odd characters. Here he portrays an Indian guru, a man transforming himself into one of the undead, and a goat horned, cloven footed Satan. You can tell that each is Naschy, but he adds a distinction to each.

Naschy as Krisna
Naschy as Kantaka
Naschy as Satan
The story deals with the guru Krisna, now living in Europe, and a string of very giallo murders. Spoilers ahead. We discover that Kantaka, Krisna's brother, is behind them. Kantaka wears typical giallo-slasher wardrobe when on the prowl, to hide his face, but it is obviously Naschy by the man's build. Of course, at this point we only know Naschy to be Krisna, so there is some confusion created. When we discover the reason behind the murders we leave the realm of standard giallo and are sucked into the supernatural.

Now, I have only a limited set of Naschy films under my belt, but this is very likely my favorite. Aside from the costume work, it is a good story, and rather thrilling, even to my horror-jaded sensibilities. I had a few legitimate gasps. My one issue with the film was the actual killing of a chicken in one scene. I don't approve of such things in film. I do think Naschy puts on one of the more sensitive portrayals on an Indian person by a non-Indian actor. It is not a heavy-handed "Apu" version of an Indian man typical of the times. This one is well worth watching, and perhaps my favorite Naschy film.

For more info on Señor Molina, check out my posts from the Paul Naschy Blogathon last year, or the Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies list of blogathon entrants. He is an interesting guy, and did some awesome work. Jacinto, we hardly knew you.


The Vicar of VHS said...

Great stuff, Darius! And thanks again for your massive contribution to last year's blogathon.

VotZ is one of my many favorite Naschy flicks. He rocks the turban like no other, and I found the slow-motion effects on the zombie women strangely effective. There's just so much great about this movie--the amazingly incongruous free-jazz score, Naschy's triple-threat performance, Death by Soda Can, and that surprising and well-executed decapitation (pun intended)! This one's a wild ride from beginning to end.

Viva Naschy!

Darius Whiteplume said...

I completely forgot the soda can killing, but now remember saying aloud, "did that bitch just kill him with a can of beer?" It looked like an Amstel Light in a can. Saw several of those.

NP on last year. It was love at first site. Luckily, Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood was not my cherry-breaker :-D

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