Monday, November 29, 2010

Horror Rises from the Tomb (My First Paul Naschy Film or Hello Naschy)

It is the in the death of November and the birth of December that we celebrate one of the true cinematic geniuses in the world. Sadly, he is one that you may have never heard of, but to remedy this, the kindly and kitten kicking Vicar of VHS and Duke of DVD from over at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies have organized a blog-a-thon in which to spread the word of all things Naschy, or Jacinto Molina as he was born. Indeed, it was an opportunity for me as I have heard of the man, but never seen one of his films due to apparently a grievous omission in my movie watching history. To start, I have picked what some have heralded as his best film, Horror Rises From the Tomb.

I chose wisely.

While not as outrageous sounding as some of his other films, this one truly proves to be a remarkable force to be reckoned with in terms of horror that rises from the tomb. We are first introduced to Alaric de Marnac, the movie's villain and a rather heart-wrenching type of character, in that he likes to pull people's hearts out to give them to Satan. This is probably why he and his cohort, a luscious little number name Mabille, are being taken to the local hanging tree to be strung up during that grand old period we call the Inquisition. Well, Naschy doesn't make it that far, being beheaded after spitting out a gem of a curse. Fortunately, we do get to see his nubile companion strung up, thankfully without her clothes, as it is the only proper way to hang a witch. Then she gets shanked, but not before a little voodoo hoodoo curse of her own for the crowd.

Enter--the future!

An artist and his friend (also played by Naschy), meet and go out for drinks, hooking up with their ladies in the process and then, because it's the hip thing to do, decide to go out for a seance. Here they summon the ghost of Alaric who tells them where his head is buried, far from his body so he can't rise. Like any good group, they decide to go and dig it up to find out what all the hubbub is about. On the scale of good ideas, this one doesn't rank very highly. Like a three. Maybe a 4. I mean, it is a ghost, so it does get coolness points, but doing a little research on the guy who you might be reanimating would be a good idea.

Well, needless to say, the head is dug up and things start to get creepy fast as the ghost starts possessing villagers to help recapitate him and bring his lady love back from the grave. Then there's a zombie attack, the wickedest looking medallion of protection ever and lots of heart wrenching. The latter is achieved by some brilliant bedroom seductions by the dynamic duo of dastardly darkness as they teleport into the rooms of their victims and give them a little dose of bedroom eyes and bam, there's a naked woman or man at their beck and call. Being fair murderers, Alaric and Mabille both disrobe as well, so we may bask in the glory of Naschy's manliness and Mabille's assets. Then they tear the poor sap's/sapette's pumper out. It actually makes a lot of sense. If you know you're going to be doing something so bloody, you might as well make sure you don't have to worry about dry cleaning your ancient robes. Those things don't just grow on trees.

Anyways. With the undead on the loose and people dying left and right, it's a breakneck race to the finish to try and stop them before they carry out their nefarious plans and shroud the world in darkness. Or raise the devil. Something like that. I was actually pretty tanked on bourbon during the viewing, which made for a rousing experience. Gore? Check. Nudity? Check. Paul Naschy? Triple check, as he also appears as Alaric's brother for about a minute.

For my first Naschy film, I don't think I could have picked a better flick. Already, I feel the burn and want to see more of his films, in particular, the werewolf series he did that spans about twelve films or so. That should keep me occupied. He's an intriguing man, with a great presence, whether he's dominating the screen as Alaric or trying to solve the mystery as his descendant, Paul Naschy owns it.

I'm quite happy with my viewing of Horror Rises from the Tomb. It is a quintessential film of the era, with decent production values and grindhouse sensibility, keeping things moving at a brisk pace that reminds me a bit of Amando De Ossorio's Blind Dead series in gore and nudity. Check it out.

This is a first for the blog, but I believe I might have actually been moved to poetry by this film. Please forgive it, as I may just be a little tipsy on whiskey. Again.

With dark eyes and a manly beard,
you have stolen my heart.
Wait, that wasn't your gig,
so it must have been that bird you were with.
She was hot, a female force not
unlike your own evil nature.
So I lie here, gaping hole in my chest,
no satisfaction in the premature ending of me,
wondering--will you bring me back?
I can be a good zombie.
I can get you some hearts.
I'll take that bird from you if you're too tired.
Please? Pretty please?
Ok, maybe not.
But now go, Alaric, and take those other hearts
as you have taken mine
and spread your wicked wrath
across the countryside.
Mind the amulets, though,
they hurt.

1 comment:

The Duke of DVD said...

What is it about Naschy that moves people to poetry!? I don't know, but I love it! Fantastic work, sir!