Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"Everlasting Naschy" -- a video tribute by Don Cunningham

The Duke and I are once again pleased to present a piece of work by another passionate Naschy fan. This one comes to us from Don Cunningham. Here's what Don has to say about the creation of the piece:

This video comes from a “trip” I took from September 2006 – September 2007 with the US Army to Iraq. Life seemed to have other plans for me other than following Naschy’s footsteps by making movies like I had wanted to. The best thing about going to war had to be the support of my friends, mostly from the Latarnia forums. A few sent me care packages of Euro horror and Naschy titles I had yet to see. I had already watched Count Dracula’s Great Love, but didn’t mind upgrading my cut vhs to the nudity filled dvd-r from Sinister (BCI had yet to release their superior Naschy DVDs!).

I worked as a Casualty Liaison in Iraq, meaning I wrote casualty reports. Times were busy, but there was also downtime. When there was downtime I would watch my Naschy discs. At one point I had an idea while listening to music and having a movie on mute, “Why not rework the movie to a song?” I’m not the only one who has thought that, but went for it. I used different genres of music when creating the videos. The following features Howard Jones’ “Everlasting Love.” Enjoy a little bit of the 80’s, Paul Naschy and Mirta Miller.

Don Cunningham

Thanks Don, for both you service and your creativity! And now, enjoy Don's video, "Everlasting Naschy":

video

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NASCHY BLOGATHON LINKS for Tuesday, November 30, part 3!

It's been a busy day on the blogathon, and as the moon rises over the moors, it's time to check out the latest installment of links for today!

Via the Naschy-centered Tumblr blog, Fuck Yeah Paul Naschy!
  • On this anniversary of Paul Naschy's passing, Naschy scholar Mirek Lipinski (Fantaterror, Mark of Naschy) shares a heartfelt personal essay about his experiences with the man behind the monsters: "Querido Paul."

As always, let me know if I've left anyone out, and be sure to email me at vicarofvhs@gmail.com as soon as your Naschy posts go up!

Sleepily,
The Vicar

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Malediction of the Yeti

(another sonnet by The Vicar of VHS, inspired by Night of the Howling Beast)

Believe me: I've seen human beings enough
to differentiate. They're pretty strange:
those tiny feet, the hair that grows in tufts
on bare pink skin, as if they had the mange;

And man, the stink they make! There's nothing reeks
like them to my refined, simian nose.
It festers in my sinuses for weeks!
So take my word: this isn't one of those.

This leaps off boulders like a flying squirrel,
with claws and temper like a wolverine!
Then kills ten men, but doesn't kill the girl?
No Yeti acts like that! What can it mean?

Worse yet, the howling keeps me up at night.
Much more of this, there's gonna be a fight.


--S. Standridge, "The Vicar of VHS"

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NASCHY BLOGATHON LINKS for Tuesday, November 30, part 2!

The reviews and tributes to Paul Naschy's legacy continue to pour in on this, the one-year anniversary of his death. An overwhelming response from the blogosphere, and it's just the second day! Let's get to those lunchtime links:

Trailer for Naschy's last film, EMPUSA--via Elena at Un Fan de Paul Naschy!

I'll be back later tonight with more links! As always, please let me know if I've left anyone out, either here or via email: vicarofvhs@gmail.com.

The Vicar

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Remembering Naschy - The Duke Looks Back

Greetings friends!  It is I, the Duke of DVD, once more bringing you the good word.  Today, I wish to draw your attention to the date.  Yes, indeed, it is November 30th, 2010, and that means a full year has gone by since Jacinto Molina, aka Paul Naschy, aka the Lon Chaney of Spain passed through the veil into the spaces beyond time, where his spirit, free of its earthly shackles, will roam forever more.  If you will bear with me, dearest readers, I will talk about the man who inspired both the Vicar and I to continually slave away, talking endlessly about the movies we love.


Made of Awesome

As most readers know via our Manifesto, the Vicar and I cherish movies that try their hardest, even though in the general public’s eye they seem to fail.  Paul is considered a success in Spain, sure, but he never grew to any wide public acclaim with the rest of the world.  This is a vast shame, and so we must take it upon our shoulders, this heavy burden, to spread the word far and wide, a very simple message:  Paul Naschy’s movies kick large amounts of ass!  Not only does his flair and charisma as an actor waft off the screen in huge waves of awesome, but his skills as a writer and director are equally impressive.

Nothing whitens like Milk-Bone
For me personally, it is the complete exuberance with which he attacks his roles.  Be it a hunchback working in a morgue, or a stately man-of-arms, sitting astride a destrier, his emotive qualities are unmatched.  In no other way is this the case than with the reoccurring role that Paul is most known for:  Waldemar Daninsky.  Each a self-contained Wolfman story, they always seem to bring out the best in Paul.

Obviously, putting together any sort of ranking or Top 10 list of my favorite Naschy movies would be a herculean effort that I would probably fail at, given how I love them all. Instead, I'll list a few of my favorites, and my reasons why:

El Caminante - To me, Paul's crown jewel, his opus. The obvious fun he's having during the movie is written all over his face. Paul considers this movie his personal favorite, and I can see why.

The Werewolf vs. The Vampire Women - My first exposure to Naschy, and friends it is a beaut! Monster movie magic is what you have here, from stunning make-up to leap attacks. I love everything about this movie, and will never stop re-watching it.

The Hunchback of the Morgue - How can you possibly have a "favorite Naschy movies" list without including this one? It has hunchback sex, a hunchback fighting rats, and Paul showing off some stellar acting chops.

So, one year after his death, we at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movie Reviews salute him once again, raising a glass of 50-year-old port into the air with one hand, whilst we pour out a 40oz on the curbside down the street from the Vicar’s marble monstrosity of a house with the other.

Paul Naschy    Sept. 6, 1934 - Nov. 30, 2009



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A Tribute to Paul Naschy, by Shane M. Dallman

The Duke and I are pleased to present this guest post by Shane M. Dallman, originally published as a note on the author's FB account on the occasion of Paul Naschy's passing.

I NEVER CALLED HIM “PAUL”

Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina Alvarez, 1934-2009) provided me with countless hours of entertainment well long before I first set pen to paper in the name of genre journalism. His body of work became the inspiration for my first published articles (as writer/historian Shane M. Dallmann) and would later go on to become a cornerstone of my efforts in the field of entertainment (as horror host “Remo D.”). In other words, Paul Naschy has always been a huge part of who I am and what I do in the field of the fantastic. That doesn’t make me special. But it sure as hell makes HIM special. I trust you’ll forgive me for not delving into biography/filmography at this time. All I want to do now is to tell you my personal story as it relates to the one and only Paul Naschy.

As a young “creature feature” fan in the early 1970s, I was scarcely alone in staying up on weekends to watch the various monstrous adventures of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and, of course, Lon Chaney, Jr. Almost everyone at school watched the same movies as I did—these classics belonged to everybody, just as they should. But just a few short years later, our UHF channels started supplying significantly ‘stronger’ material (and not only during the late hours). A different breed of ‘creature feature’ slowly insinuated itself into the mix, and it wasn’t long before I found myself routinely confronted with movies that WEREN’T talked about at school the next day… that seemed to belong only to those viewers who made a point of seeking them out. And one face, one name stood out amongst these latter-day arrivals… one man who made it clear that he wished to represent the classic monsters much as predecessors along the lines of Chaney himself had done. I passed on the opportunity to watch THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING with the rest of my family in order to take in the bizarre concoction known (however misleadingly) as FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR as it unspooled on a tiny black-and-white television in my room (little did I know how much werewolf Waldemar Daninsky would come to mean to me, especially as his energetic antics in a wacky monster mash known as ASSIGNMENT TERROR seemed to have little or nothing to do with this previous adventure). My mother’s admonition to avoid a nasty little item known as THE MUMMY’S REVENGE (of which she had inadvertently caught a “slice” on her own), naturally, caused me to seek it out all the more eagerly. And cut for TV or not, HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB was the one she really would have kept me away from, had she but known—even I thought it went too far at the time! These movies ranged from the sublime to the ridiculous (even then, I realized that THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN made almost no sense at all), but I never doubted the sincerity or the dedication of the man who brought them to life… Paul Naschy.

At that young age, I had no idea that actor Paul Naschy was also involved in each and every one of these productions as screenwriter Jacinto Molina—it took Michael Weldon’s PSYCHOTRONIC ENCYCLOPEDIA OF FILM to clue me in. That publication, in fact, was one of my most treasured acquisitions—during the 1980s, as I discovered such fresh television items as HOUSE OF DOOM (HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN) and HORROR OF THE WEREWOLF (NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST, another disconnected Waldemar Daninsky thriller), it was an invaluable reference guide which enhanced my constant obsession with cataloguing fantastic films. If you know me at all, you know that my interest in the field is all-encompassing… but Paul Naschy always had a special wing in my hand-scrawled archives, because even then, “everybody” knew the classics (Universal, Hammer, AIP), but it seemed like only Michael Weldon and I knew and valued the contributions of this Spanish horror powerhouse. Still—no Internet, not even a home computer—I had my memory and pages and pages of handwritten notes for some undefined “project”—or for posterity.

Now we come to 1990. Through the home video boom and meticulous TV taping, I could now account for no less than thirty Paul Naschy films available in the United States. FANGORIA Magazine had become the primary source for horror information both classic and current, and detailed articles on the careers and available works of such filmmakers as Mario Bava and Dario Argento were appearing to great acclaim—especially important was an expose by Tim Lucas on just how Argento’s films were being presented to us on video. And it finally hit me. I had thirty movies spanning over twenty years, and I had all the notes I needed to back them up. I went through the list of genre giants repeatedly and reached the same conclusion every time… Paul Naschy was the only figure in the field (with a comparable body of work, of course) who had not yet been given his due with national exposure in this of all magazines. There was a story to be told—there was an article to be written, and it was obviously up to me to write it.

So I did.

The publication of the two-part article “The Mark of Naschy” in FANGORIA #103-104 remains one of my proudest achievements (much later, I was delighted to see the title appropriated for Mirek Lipinski’s official Naschy website: Mirek, of course, went on to become one of—if not the—most valuable contributors to Naschy’s lasting legacy). I went on to chronicle Naschy’s work (both historic and current) in such publications as DEEP RED and BLOOD TIMES, my original article was translated and reprinted in the Spanish edition of FANGORIA, and the experience opened doors for me which allow me to continue to this day as a regular contributor to VIDEO WATCHDOG (courtesy of none other than the aforementioned Tim Lucas) and SCREEM Magazine: while I write about many other films and filmmakers, the work of Paul Naschy remains a constant in my output.

Only one thing was still missing. I had hoped to bring the work of Paul Naschy to a wider and more appreciative audience—but as the man was still living and working, I wanted to know that he knew what I was trying to do for him. I had heard from my various publishers that Naschy was, indeed, aware of my writing, but (with instant communication to Spain still out of my reach), I still needed to somehow know this first hand… and I was devastated when the false rumor of Naschy’s death reached me just around that time. The relief I felt when I learned that this report was a cruel hoax was palpable… but I still hadn’t achieved my goal of hearing from the man himself.

1997. Tony Timpone calls me to let me know that Paul Naschy will be one of the guests of honor at the New York Fango convention in January of 1998. Perhaps I’d like to attend—and would I be interested in providing a video compilation as a means of introducing him? I’m happily married and have a four-year-old daughter now. I can’t afford to fly my family from California to New York with me. But thankfully, they understand, and I’m allowed to make the trip solo. It’s a dream come true (and I trust you’ll understand my shift to the present tense). By pure chance, I meet Paul Naschy and his family in the hotel hours before the convention even begins (I make Naschy’s acquaintance by showing him my custom-made “Waldemar Lives” T-shirt, in fact!) The entire entourage joins me for breakfast and plenty of awe-struck (on my part, of course) conversation… Naschy signs the original galleys of my Fango article and even provides me with a personally autographed copy of his brand-new autobiography (in Spanish, of course). The honor is overwhelming—but I’m still able to ask him the question foremost on my mind… what can I do for him in exchange for what his career has done for me? His answer: “Keep writing.” During the course of this convention, I also meet Mirek Lipinski, whose “Mark of Naschy” website (now www.naschy.com) is now up and running.

But the best was still yet to come. 2000. Naschy returns to America, this time to the Fanex convention in Virginia. And this time, I get to bring my seven-year-old daughter Rebecca with me. My infant son Cameron stays home with his mother, my wife Lisa—but now I have the Internet, and Naschy himself just happened to be the first to send greetings to my new son! Thanks to this newfangled invention, I was able to plan ahead more effectively, and I’m granted the privilege of taking Naschy, his wife Elvira, his son Sergio (I never did get to meet his other son Bruno), Mirek Lipinski, translator/historian Mike Hodges and more to lunch at an Italian restaurant! With Sergio helpfully translating our conversation, we have a terrific get-together… we’re treated to Naschy filching pieces of calamari off Elvira’s plate while he waits for his own meal—and when the music coming from an overhead speaker starts skipping harshly, I point to the speaker and intone “Juan Carlos Calderon” for a good laugh (if you’ve seen VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES, you’ll get the joke).

As momentous as that was, however, a moment preceding that was even more special. The English translation of Naschy’s autobiography was available at this convention, and as Naschy had already signed the Spanish rendition for me, I thought it would be nice to have him sign this one to Rebecca—which, of course, he did. But where my autograph read “Paul Naschy,” his signature to Rebecca simply read “Paul.” And we were quietly told shortly afterwards that a first-name-only signature such as this was reserved only for the most special occasions… and people. (Rebecca responded with an autograph of her own the next morning—a hand-written card inspired by the movie I treated to her the night before… reading “I loved FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR.” I have no doubt that this card is resting on a very special shelf somewhere in Madrid.) Also at this convention, I had the privilege of introducing Naschy and his family to fellow historian/prolific DVD supplement artist Bruce Holecheck, with whom I collaborated very recently on a “Naschy 101” overview on Troma’s DVD release of THE HANGING WOMAN.

Though I never saw Paul Naschy again, the magic did, indeed, continue. 2002 saw my initial “TV horror host” bow on REMO D.’S MANOR OF MAYHEM, and we debuted with a screening of my old favorite ASSIGNMENT TERROR. The films of Paul Naschy have largely defined the look and feel of my show, and we were honored by a personalized Halloween greeting from the man himself, which I happily relayed to my viewers. By this time, family responsibilities kept me from travelling even as far as Los Angeles for Naschy’s further convention appearances, but we hoped to take advantage of his proximity and invite him to appear in our independent horror feature THE WOODEN GATE. It was not to be (Jim Van Bebber ultimately made the character of “Paulo” his own), but Naschy personally communicated his regrets. And while most of our communications were helpfully translated by the stalwart Sergio, it was Paul Naschy himself who sent a message of strength and encouragement to our WOODEN GATE castmate Jonelle Snead in the face of her terminal cancer.

Which, sadly, brings us to this day. Please consider this my eulogy, but by no means will these be my final respects. Sharing the work of Paul Naschy has always been a major motivating force in my own work—and it always will be, both in print and on the MANOR.

And yes, he’ll always be “Sr. Naschy” to me. I’ve been privileged to enjoy first-name familiarity with Elvira and my good friend Sergio, but pure respect and recognition of tradition (though no rules were ever actually spelled out for me) saw to it that I was never so bold as to address my inspiration by his first name—nor would I ever have presumed to ask for such permission. I never called him “Paul.” And I won’t start now.

But Rebecca can call him “Paul.” And that’s more than enough for me.

Rest in peace, my friend. My sincere condolences and respects to Elvira, Sergio, Bruno, their families, and friends and fans of Paul Naschy the world over.

Shane M. Dallmann
December 1, 2009


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NASCHY BLOGATHON LINKS for Tuesday, November 30, part 1!

It's been one year now since we lost Jacinto Molina, who passed away too soon at age 75 of pancreatic cancer. We are saddened that he's no longer with us, and at the same time thankful that he left us such a joyful legacy in his films. Muchas gracias, Señor Naschy. Your memory, and your joy, live on.

"Paul Naschy" Action Monster Print by Krekel of www.krekprints.com.
Check out Krekel and Ami's "uke-abilly, garage-pop rock n' roll" at http://www.themadteaparty.com

There was a lot of Naschy activity overnight, so let's get right to it this morning!

  • Pierre's also featuring some images collected from all the blogathon posts at his Monster Crazy tumblr, so check it out! (And once again, thanks to Pierre for designing the awesome blogathon banners and badges!)
  • And here at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies, we've had a Vicar-ious sonnet in honor of Paul, "Jacinto Meets the Wolf Man," and this morning posted a consideration of one of Paul Naschy's own favorite entries in his filmography, The Frenchman's Garden. And there's much more to come!
As always, please let me know if I've left anyone out, and keep checking back for link updates and more new Naschy-related posts!


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    The Frenchman's Garden (1978): or, Iberian Psycho

    In his autobiography, Memoirs of a Wolfman, Paul Naschy devotes an entire chapter to two films from what he calls his most "personal phase," neither of which have been widely seen this side of the Atlantic. One is the tour de force El Caminante (1979, previously reviewed here), a sprawlingly ambitious mixture of folklore, horror, and humor that is, in this humble Vicar's opinion, one of the artist's finest hours. The other is the even less well-known period-piece thriller, El huerto del Francés (1978), also known as The Frenchman's Garden. Naschy himself counts this as "one of my most emblematic and highest quality films," and says he is proud to be able to include the movie in his lengthy filmography. With hype like that, of course, it had to be seen by me. What wonders awaited? What could I expect from something so lauded and favored by the Mighty Molina himself?

    Well, parishioners, The Frenchman's Garden is a film that counters expectations, I think consciously. Legend and imdb trivia has it that Naschy purposefully removed his name as an actor from the promotional material for the flick, despite essaying the lead role and sharing writing duties. He was credited only as director, and only under his real name, Jacinto Molina, in order to prevent audiences from assuming this was his usual monster-filled romp. And indeed, although it depicts acts of murder, cruelty, and remorseless evil, this is not your usual Naschy flick.

    You can't have a Naschy flick without one scene like this.


    Set around the turn of the 20th century in Peñaflor, Spain, the film tells the (mostly) true story of of Juan Andrés Aldije (Naschy), an innkeeper and businessman known as "El Francés,"or "The Frenchman," because of his rumored Gallic blood. Though married to the daughter of one of the richest men in the village, Juan prefers to earn his own money, which he does by renting rooms, serving drinks, and occasionally pimping out his waitresses while running an illegal gambling den. It's a cottage industry, and very lucrative, although not lucrative enough for Juan and his partner, José Muñoz Lopera (José Calvo)--they have a get-rich-quicker scheme detailed in the emotive and expository opening theme song by Rosa León:
    He's Juan Aldije, 'The Frenchman,'
    and he doesn't like his fate at all,
    along with Muñoz Lopera,
    he's bound to make a strong business.


    The Frenchman's got a house,
    which they turn it into a gambling den.
    THE FRENCHMAN'S ORCHARD.
    Where women serve you with
    some sly and spurious love.


    In that accursed place
    where the poor couldn't come in
    happily the rich,
    spent their money plenty.


    As gambling is forbidden,
    their business is illegal.
    But they don't care at all,
    'cause they make lots of money.


    If anyone tries to resist,
    and doesn't let himself be fooled,
    they take him into the orchard,
    and brutally kill him.
    If I had a nickel...

    And that's exactly what happens. In between saying all the right things to his lovely and pious wife Elvira (Julia Saly of Night of the Werewolf [1980] and many other Naschy flicks) and slipping a length of Molina meat to his mistress and head hooker Charo (Ágata Lys), Juan lures rich businessmen to his inn on the pretense of entertaining them with women and games of chance. Because gambling is illegal, the gamblers tell no one of their errand, which ends with Juan giving them a shovel to the head, stealing all their gambling money, and planting them in the "garden" out back like so many tulip bulbs awaiting the Springtime of JUSTICE.

    In the opening scenes we see Juan's character developed through his interactions with others. Naschy plays The Frenchman as the epitome of cool, calm, and collected villainy. Juan is absolutely unflappable, never getting excited or losing his temper, always quick with just the right response to any question, be it from his suspicious wife, his jealous lover, or the town doctor. (He is also, of course, absolutely irresistible to women.) The only time he shows any strong emotion is when Elvira suggests they take money from her father, or when someone threatens one of his whores. (For instance, at one point a group of drunken ruffians decide to humiliate one of his girls for fun, whipping her naked back and riding her around the room like a horse. Juan still stays calm, but a vicious flame in his eyes causes the greater-in-number gang to back down in fear.) As the coffers fill and the tomatoes he grows in the backyard win more and more tasting contests, Juan looks forward to the day when he can throw his hard-earned wealth in his disapproving father-in-law's face.

    Scheduling is really the toughest part.

    Alas, the path of remorseless slaughter never did run smooth, and Juan's case is no exception. The speedbumps on the road to riches arrive on the upper body of Andrea (María José Cantudo), a young girl from a neighboring town who is in love with Juan, and as a natural result is also carrying his child. (Given the level of Naschismo that rolls off The Frenchman in waves, it's surprising he hasn't impregnated the entire countryside by this point!) Again, Juan takes the matter in stride, calming the weeping girl and reassuring her that she did the right thing in coming to him.

    From the moment she arrives, Andrea is nothing but a bosom-revealing load of troubles. Juan puts her up at the Orchard, where on her first night she very nearly spies Juan and Jose disposing of a rich cattle baron. Moreover, Charo's jealousy soon leads to catfights and attempted breast-brandings with a hot clothes iron. (Hey, you'd do the same thing if someone was trying to take Naschy from you!) Alarmed by all the time he's spending at the Orchard (consoling Andrea), Elvira gets more and more insistent about taking Daddy's cash. Still cool but feeling things starting to spin out of control, Juan hatches a plan to neutralize the ticking time bomb that is Andrea's uterus and also get out of the innkeeping/gambling/pimping/throatcutting business once and for all.

    "Now please, just try to relax."

    The first problem is solved when Juan hires a midwife to perform an abortion for Andrea, wooing the lovestruck girl with promises of his undying love and a better life together. The abortion scene is an unsettling but powerfully staged sequence, as Charo and one of the other prostitutes hold the distraught mother-not-to-be down on a table while the crone goes about her bloody business. It resembles nothing so much as a ritual sacrifice, Andrea the lamb laid out for the slaughter, with periodic close-ups on her beatifically resigned face interspersed with shots of a very nasty looking knitting needle. There's also a bit of graphic genital nudity that is shocking now, and must have been even more so in 1970s Spain. Andrea writhes and screams like a tortured soul in Hell, but she survives the operation.

    The second problem is a bit more thorny, but Juan has one final big score planned, their richest victim yet: a homosexual treasurer with the local salt mines whose transport of the monthly payroll promises to finally put the killers over the top and into long-term financial security. But Juan makes an atypcial miscalculation when he prematurely tries to pimp Andrea out before she's fully healed, and upon her refusal reveals that he never intended to leave Elvira for her. Hell hath no fury like a woman you've tricked into an abortion and then tried to prostitute, and Andrea gets her revenge by scuttling the plans and ratting out Juan to the local police, who of course take a strong interest in his unorthodox gardening and fertilization methods...

    Is that what the kids are calling it these days?
    The Frenchman's Garden has a lot of horror-type elements, but they are much more subtly done here than one might expect given Naschy's reputation for gore. The murders are mostly seen from a distance, and over quickly with minimal blood; the only exception is the final axe murder of the treasurer, which is all the more effective for the previous restraint. (A later scene with the constables digging up rotted human remains from the garden while Juan looks coolly on also packs a wallop.) There is plenty of the Naschy-style sexuality on display, though, as Juan's trysts with Charo are captured in great detail, and Lys shows off her excellent body almost throughout.
    But that's it for typical Naschy boobs and blood. Instead, the film's focus is mainly on the character of the Frenchman and the women in his life--a character-driven tragedy/drama rather than a thriller or horror flick. And it works--performances are great all around, particularly from Lys and Cantudo. And Calvo, mostly a deadpan sidekick throughout, summons some excellent dramatic chops in his final scene, a deliberately paced and historically accurate execution by garrote that is as unnerving as any imagined horror.

    Transvestite dwarf doing the Cha-Cha? It must be Tuesday at the Duke's place!

    But the movie is Naschy's of course, and he carries it on his big, beefy shoulders with assurance and grace. His portrayal of Juan is a far cry from the sneering villainy of Alaric de Marngac or Amenhotep the Mummy--The Frenchman is all calm, wearing his confidence like a mask, completely closed off and unconcerned with the damage he causes to those around him so long as he gets what he wants. In that he reminded me just a little of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho, though without the same manic interludes that were that character's signature. (Paul does pull out the Crazy Face in that final axe murder, however, and again to great effect thanks to the previous restraint.) His final scene, walking to his death and trading pleasantries with the executioner, refusing the blindfold ("No way. Let them see me. Let them remember the face of man when he's being strangled. Let them remember it for life!") calls to mind James Cagney in his cocky gangster roles, all swagger and defiance. It's a powerful performance, and a unique one in Naschy's filmography.

    I can only guess at why Naschy considered this such a personal film, but I suspect it's because, for me, this is one of the most inherently Spanish films in his body of work. Set in Spain and detailing an actual historical event, the movie is scored with traditional Spanish guitar music and utilizes actual locations and costuming. Perhaps this along with the clearly dramatic rather than horror-focused nature of the role made Paul feel it was more his--his story, his history--or maybe he felt he was showing at last what he could do without the werewolf makeup or gallons of grue. In his autobiography, he proudly remembers a compliment from director José María Forqué on the film: "You've made a magnificent picture. The dark side of deepest Spain at the turn of the century has seldom been so well recreated as in El huerto del Francés."

    Sure, it's gross, but you should taste Juan's paella.
    Though fans looking for a blood-soaked thriller or mile-a-minute monster mash might be confounded by it, The Frenchman's Garden is clearly a labor of love by its director and star, and a powerful dramatic film in its own right. Here's hoping that, like so many other of Naschy's films, this one gets the rediscovery and consideration it deserves. 3 Thumbs.


    Au revoir, mon ami.

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    Monday, November 29, 2010

    NASCHY BLOGATHON LINKS for November 29, part 2!


    The hits just keep a-comin' on this first day of the Naschyfest! Here's some more great reading from Naschy fans far and wide:

    • And the mysterious and mesmerizing Vila Wolf contributes a Massive Mosaic of Molina, with nearly 200 icons of the icon himself! An amazing piece of work!

    Keep sending those links  to me at vicarofvhs@gmail.com, or via the comments here! Next link-list tomorrow around lunchtime. And if I've overlooked you somehow, don't keep quiet about it! Please let me know!

    More Naschy goodness in store tomorrow!

    Excitedly,
    The Vicar

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      NASCHY BLOGATHON LINKS for Monday, November 29!


       The Paul Naschy Blogathon is off to a roaring start, thanks to some great contributions from some fantastic bloggers! We've got reviews of some of Naschy's well-loved flicks, some obscurities that may have even hardcore fans scratching their heads, some tributes to the man and his characters, and even a DMV connection! Unpossible, you say? Read on!

      • Also, at his tumblr, Darius offers a rare glimpse of the testosterone-dripping Paul Naschy as you've seldom seen him before: in drag!

      A great start to a great week! I'll be updating the list later in the day, so if you are posting after lunch, or if I missed someone, please let me know either in the comments or via email at vicarofvhs@gmail.com! Thanks to everyone who's chimed in so far, and thanks everyone who plans to in the coming days!

      Bunnies,
      The Vicar

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      Vicar-ious Verse: "Jacinto Meets the Wolf Man" (a sonnet)

      "The lights went out and the magic began ... After the film I went out into the street in a trance ... From that day on Larry Talbot was my hero. I even recall that, on one occasion when my mother asked me what I wanted to be when  I grew up, I replied, 'A werewolf.' You should have seen the look on her face!"

      --Paul Naschy, recalling his first viewing of Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man as a boy
      from Memoirs of a Wolfman (Luminary Press, 1997, translated by Mike Hodges).


      Where did it start, Jacinto? In the tomb,
      the coffin stuffed with wolfsbane? Talbot's peace
      disturbed when robbers bared him to the moon,
      and fell before mad, immortal beast?

      Or later, at the feast of the New Wine--
      the cursed man's torment, never understood?
      Or in the ruins of Castle Frankenstein
      where legends fought and fell before the flood?

      I wish I could have watched you--still a boy--
      while monsters dragged your soul into the screen;
      I wish I could have looked you in the eye.
      I might have watched it start; I might have seen
      the swelling of that childlike, boundless joy
      that lived in you, and now will never die.


      --S. Standridge
      "The Vicar of VHS"

      MORE MADNESS...

      THE PAUL NASCHY BLOGATHON STARTS NOW!

      Yes, parishioners, the time has finally come! This week at Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies and around the web, we're celebrating all things Naschy in this international blogathon! Can you taste the excitment?

      The Duke and I will be posting links to the blogathon-related posts as they become available, so check back here throughout the day to keep apprised of the latest Naschy items going up. And of course we'll be celebrating the great man here too as the week goes on, with a few new reviews, some guest posts, and even more tributes to the legacy of the Mighty Mighty Molina! 

      So get out the red wine, stoke the fire, and LET THE NASCHYFEST BEGIN!!!

      "Paul Naschy" by Ash Loydon of Arena of the Unwell

      MORE MADNESS...

      Saturday, November 20, 2010

      DVD Review: Dolla Morte (2006)

      Greetings friends!  It is I, the Duke of DVD, once more exhuming the corpse that is MAD cinema, and then proceeding to parade its moldering corpse through the streets of your local prefecture.  "But Duke!" you ejaculate, spraying orange dust from so many Cheetos out of your flattened, malformed maize-hole, "aren't the dead better left buried?!"  Normally this would be true, dearest reader.  One does not step lightly into the realm of necromancy.  I can attest to this.  But like a rutting pig, starved for attention now that its beloved owner, the Vicar, has left it for a new Pot Bellied, dig these truffles up I must!  How else will the Interwebs at large learn of such rotten stinkburgers as what I'm about to inflict upon thee?!

      Inflict I must, dearest friends, for you too should know the horror the Duke has to endure on your behalf.  Oh sure, I sit upon a mahogany dais, polished for centuries by blind eunuchs, wrapped in my white tiger Snuggie, sipping a cocktail composed of gypsy orphan tears and sweet vermouth.  This luxury does not spare me, though, when the likes of Dolla Morte (newly released from MVD Entertainment) befoul the Ducal Blu-Ray Player!  Not all is lost, however, as you shall see.

      Shall we begin?

      Dolla Morte is a movie created by the evil genius (uh... I hate to use that word, but I'm afraid it's applicable here) Bill Zebub, a name which I wish I had thought of first.  An overly long explanation (I would say apology) starts the film, seemingly narrated by a King Diamond doll.  The end of the disclaimer--which basically says "Hey, this will piss you off if you aren't open-minded, and sorry if you are a celebrity we make fun of!"--lets us know that Bill Zebub wrote the liner notes for King Diamond's most excellent album Abigail, so he's got that going for him.  Credentials secure, we are launched into Bill's mind, which consists of an overly convoluted plot relating to immortality, death, and lots of violent sex.... and it's all done with dolls.


      The director really wants you to know he's sorry for what's about to happen...

      Now, the real mad genius here is, with dolls, anything goes.  Movies like Team America and shows like "Robot Chicken" (both of which are Ducal favorites) have taught us that with the use of dolls, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.  The movie starts off with a rescue party searching for a missing woman, who happens to be the wife of one of the rescuers.  A serial killer has kidnapped her and has her tied to a chair. Very quickly, we know we aren't in Kansas anymore, as the killer strips the woman down to nothing and proceeds to have sex with her.  Keep in mind folks, this is done with fucking dolls, ok?  A prosthetic (ugh) penis has been attached to a Ken doll (at least it looks like a Ken doll--lots of Barbie-related merchandise in this movie) and a hole drilled into the female doll for this purpose.  This climaxes with a doll squirting semen.

      And now I have to take a shower for having typed that last sentence.

      The Vlad the Impaler Playset, new from Hasbro. (Traumatized NATO Peacekeeper figure sold separately)

      Folks, I'm going to eschew my normal play-by-play because to type out this movie's plot would take the better part of 20,000 words or somewhere near that.  The movie even gives a Cliff's Notes rundown at the end, detailing the plot just in case you didn't get it all.  And it's a lot to get!  You have President George W. Bush plotting to become immortal by drinking vampire blood.  You have the Pope, first shitting in the woods (so that question's answered, at least) and then being sodomized by a long crucifix.  There are numerous female dolls being impaled, set on fire, raped, etc.  Hitler joins in on the fun.  Armies of soldier dolls wage warfare on each other.  My sanity could barely remain intact!

      HOLY...ah, never mind, too easy

      Oddly enough, I actually liked quite a bit of the movie.  Overall it was terrible, don't get me wrong, but it did have some redeeming values.  Several scenes had me chuckling as I shook my head and tried to keep my rising gorge down.  Others had me recoiling in disgust, while others still had me in rapt attention.  Friends, if a movie can do all of that, to one as jaded as yours truly, well then, you have yourselves something worthy of at least an afternoon glance, no?

      "I can see my house from here!"

      In the end, Bill Zebub and friends have taken their time to craft a stop-motion extravaganza full of doll pubic hair, doll rapey action, and doll-on-doll violence.  With a message, even.  What that message is perhaps gets lost in the rapey-ness, but hey, who are we to cast stones?  The question is, was I entertained?  The answer to that is:

      One and a Half Thumbs Up

      *Note - the half thumb is for the Pope being sodomized.  That scene alone was worth the price of admission, for me.  You have been warned, my dearest readers.*

      *Note 2: MVD provided a copy of this film to MMMMMovies for review purposes, and the Vicar foisted it upon the Duke as punishment for an unspecified but doubtless deserved grievance. *



      Godwin'd

      The Ilsa & Friends Saturday Morning Kids show lasted only one and a half seasons.


      MORE MADNESS...

      Wednesday, November 17, 2010

      DVD Review: GG Allin & the AIDS Brigade, Live in Boston 1989

      It's probably safe to say that most of the world has no idea who singer-songwriter/performer GG Allin was. It's also probably safe to say that most of these are happier not knowing.

      Among the few who do know of him and his work, Allin is justifiably infamous. Noted for his abrasive punk rock music and legendarily extreme live performances, Allin claimed to see himself as "the last real rock n'roller," reasoning that true rock n' roll should be confrontational, rebellious, and even dangerous. This manifested in his lyrics--which were often unabashedly misogynistic, misanthropic, racist, and lauditory of drugs, rape, and even pedophilia--but most famously through his concerts, which were less musical performances than displays of aggression, hatred, and personal degradation. Allin routinely performed his entire sets naked, bloodied himself on the microphone, destroyed equipment and leapt into the audience to physically assault his "fans." He would defecate and urinate onstage, sometimes rolling in or even eating his own excrement. He promised in interviews, quite seriously, that one day he would commit suicide onstage. His shows were routinely ended not by Allin himself, but by apalled club owners pulling the plug or the local police forcibly shutting him down.

      For those fascinated by Allin as a figure in underground music, or perhaps just morbidly interested in the musician's legendary spectacle, the new DVD from MVD Entertainment, GG Allin and the AIDS Brigate: Live in Boston, 1989, delivers all one could hope for or fear. It also offers cultural anthropologists and psychologists and fascinating if disturbing look at one of the most extreme, violent, and self-destructive figures in American rock n' roll.

      Allin, rockin' with his cock in (for a change)

      The DVD actually presents three live performances by Allin--the titular gig and then two "bonus shows" recorded on consecutive nights in 1993 (in Seattle, WA, and Portland, OR, respectively). Of the three, the Boston show is by far the most tame. Allegedly because Allin had already been banned from most clubs in Boston at the time, he and his band The AIDS Brigade hit on the idea of dressing in drag in order to smuggle GG in for the gig. We see rehearsal footage of GG and the Band going through the set, which is businesslike and uneventful--just a normal punk band going through their songs. Likewise, footage of the band getting made-up before the gig shows a young, fresh-faced, and possibly stoned Allin joking with the band members, discussing changes to the set list, and basically acting like a normal human being rather than a raving, drooling lunatic. Having read a lot about the man's more infamous antics, this was not at all what I had expected.

      The gig itself also confounded those expectations. Obviously filmed by a friend of the band using low-end home video equipment, the footage shows again a relatively normal-seeming punk rock band--albeit dressed in garish drag--running through their songs in front of an appreciative and honestly rather muted crowd. Never having heard any of Allin's songs, I admit I was surprised by how solid the band was musically. Sure, it's noisy at times and Allin's voice is a gruff, gravelly rasp, but he is at least intelligible, and at its core the music is basically straightforward, driving rock n'roll. The only real extreme parts here are the lyrics, as Allin growls through such "hits" as "Cunt on the Loose," "I Wanna Rape You," and the diabolically catchy "Expose Yourself to Kids." Toward the end of the show Allin does lift his skirt and flash his penis at the crowd briefly, but nobody--neither the club owner nor the laughing, chattering crowd--seems too bent out of shape about it.

      After that short gig was over--from beginning to end it's just over half an hour, not counting the pre-gig footage--I was beginning to wonder if maybe all the myth of GG Allin had been hyped out of proportion; whether the shocking transgressions of the past had been rendered quaint with the passage of time, as so often happens in art.

      Then--I watched the "bonus shows."

      There are quite literally NO screengrabs I could get from the bonus shows that would be publishable on Blogger. Therefore, here's a shot of Allin and his band rehearsing, fully clothed and unbefouled by excretia...as far as I can tell.
      Seattle, Washington: 1993. GG Allin and 3/4 of his band the Murder Junkies are standing on a brightly lit stage, waiting for their guitar player to arrive. Allin is dressed in combat boots, underwear, a dog collar and an infantry helmet, and nothing else. A large black tarp is spread on the stage, and Allin removes his underwear and stalks naked before the crowd, covered in jailhouse tattoos and sweat. He rips the pages from a Bible and sets them on fire in the middle of the stage. Allin defecates and urinates onstage, rolls around in the excrement and ashes, and uses a turkey baster to administer a self-enema. Finally the guitarist arrives, and the show starts in earnest.

      Something has clearly happened to Allin since the show in Boston, as now he's the raving lunatic I'd been led to expect. (He explains later that he has just been released from prison--details on the unsettling reasons behind his incarceration are available on his Wikipedia page.) He runs through many of the songs from the previous show, completely naked, stopping only to taunt the crowd, inviting women up to urinate on him and daring men either to come up and suck his cock or else present theirs for Allin to suck. (Strangely, no takers on either offer.) He cuts his own forehead open on the microphone and is soon covered with blood as well as excrement and sweat. He leaps into the crowd and is pummelled by the bravest of the concertgoers, sometimes striking back, others simply taking it. He rips the shirt off one female "fan," and pulls a hapless and completely unwilling girl from the backstage area while he sings "I Wanna Rape You," making the viewer worry that an actual sexual assault may be in the offing. (Apparently the stage hands were concerned about this as well, as they eventually drag him off her and shuffle the thankful girl offstage.) Allin gets more and more out of control, throwing heavy mike stands into the crowd and rolling around in the filth onstage, finally draping the dripping tarp over himself like a cloak. The show ends when the club owners cut the power to the amps, enraging Allin and sending the naked rocker into the crowd in search of violence.

      The next night in Portland Allin repeats many of the same acts--the fire (this time lighting up a Bible and a t-shirt for the band Sub-Pop, whom he calls "The Ruiners of Rock n' Roll"), the defecation, the enemas. Even his leaps into the pit and backward rolls back onto the stage--exposing his anus to the crowd--have a certain oddly scripted quality. What's not scripted is the escalating violence of this gig compared to the last. Allin throws his mic into the crowd like a bolo, many times connecting with the heads of attendees. His fights with his "fans" are more violent and extended, as he gives and gets boots to the head, punches to the face, and wads of juicy spit. Allin destroys three or four microphones, shouting some songs at the top of his lungs without amplification. This show ends in a near riot, and Allin--whether infuriated by the lights going out in the club, or sensing that the crowd was turning even uglier than usual--abruptly grabs his gear and flees the stage.

      Really, describing these concerts is like describing a car wreck; watching them is like watching some plotless Japanese body-horror flick--the Guinea Pig series, maybe. Only it's real. Even if much of it was just performance, the things that happen actually happen, and watching Allin rolling onstage, threatening and attacking and degrading the audience and himself, is like watching a madman's visions of a tormented soul in Hell come to life.

      Allin and company get prettified before the Boston gig

      After my viewing, I wondered why MVD had released this dvd as "live in Boston," spotlighting the tamest of the three shows. Is there some legal chicanery at work? Would they have more likely faced censure for selling the naked, coprophagus, violent shows as the "main event," and sought some measure of protection by designating the extreme performances as "bonus material"? Perhaps--I don't know. But viewed as a progression, the gigs show a journey from relative sanity to complete self-destructive madness. Maybe this is a false perception--maybe Allin was just as bad in 1989. Still, it's a viewing that's stuck with me, disturbed me, and continues to fascinate.

      Would I recommend this DVD? Not to the casual viewer, certainly. You need to know what you're getting into. If you're interested in Allin as a figure, in extreme underground music from the late 80s/early 90s in America, or in visual and mental endurance tests, then yes, this is for you. As for everyone else--maybe it's better you don't know.

      Buy the DVD from MVD, if you dare.

      It's All Downhill from Here

      MORE MADNESS...

      Friday, November 12, 2010

      El Santo y La Tigresa (1973): or, the Mystery of the Giant Hobo

      The more lucha libre movies I watch, the more I wonder how these guys ever found time to, you know, wrestle. There was just so much else going on! I bet El Santo and Blue Demon couldn't drive their shiny shiny sports cars down the street without running over a couple of alien invaders bent on world domination, or a just-resurrected werewolf and vampire plotting to complete a plan of vengeance 400 years in the making. Add to that the mad scientists, serial killers, and gangsters running rampant in the District Federale all throughout the 70s, and it's amazing they ever got the chance even to launder their turtlenecks and sports jackets, let alone lace up the boots and go bouncing around el círculo cuadrado.

      As arguably the greatest, but certainly the most famous, of the masked heroes of Mexican wrestling, El Santo (aka "El Enmascarado de Plata") was a very, very busy man. Even visits to old friends were crap shoots, as likely to end up in the underground lair of some crazed supervillain as in front of the television doing tequila shots while watching the night's fútbol match. That's not quite what happens in El Santo y La Tigresa (aka Santo y el aguila real, or Santo and the Royal Eagle, 1973), but it's almost as wild.

      "No, BD, I can't. I'm with someone. And didn't I ask you never to call me here?"

      In this one, Irma Morales (played by Irma Serrano, about whom more in a moment), the daughter of one of Santo's deceased friends, calls the luchador to her palatial ranch to seek his help with some problems she's having. It seems there are strange goings on around the hacienda--her older brother was killed when his horse inexplicably tumbled down a cliff, and there have been two separate attempts on Irma's life, one involving a cut brake line and another an unseen sniper. Convinced that her neighboring land barons want to split up her ranch between them, she's called in El Santo (rather than the local police) to get the evidence she needs to confront them.


      But things aren't usually what they seem in cases like this. Santo finds some odd strands of hair at the scenes of the assasination attempts, and sends them to a friend in the city for analysis. As romance blooms between the luchador and the lady of the house, Santo must also fight off a murderously jealous suitor of Irma's who may or may not be the true culprit. A mysterious locked room at the hacienda, ordered closed forever upon Señor Morales's death, thickens the plot, and attacks by the rival ranchers' throw suspicion back their way. Then things go completely pear-shaped when the Man in the Silver Mask is attacked by a giant, tatter-clothed hobo with the strength of ten men and just barely manages to escape with his life!

      "All right, all right! ONE autograph!"

      It was interesting for me to see Santo removed from his monster-fighting superhero mode and instead cast in the role of a Holmesian (or at least Scooby-Dooby Dooosian) amateur detective. Of course his horseback-riding dalliances with Señorita Morales would never pass muster with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle--but hey, that ain't the only Holmes Santo shares some moves with, if you know what I'm sayin'. Unfortunately Santo's esteemed cinematic partner Blue Demon is not on hand to play the Dr. Watson role; instead he has as his foil Carlito (frequent Santo co-star Carlos Suárez), a cowardly, bald-headed sidekick who serves as extremely broad comic relief.

      But the luchador has a more-than-able fighting partner in the person of Irma Morales herself, played with downright Tura Satana-style ferocity by Irma "La Tigresa" Serrano. Boastful, proud, and unwilling to suffer the slightest disrespect from anyone, Irma is a dominatrix dynamo. Always accompanied by her faithful pet La Serrana--a FUCKING FALCON--she is an excellent markswoman (as evidenced when she shoots a cigarette from the mouth of a terrified girl to "save" her from her drunken beau's attempt to do the same) and extremely handy with the short riding whip she always wears around her wrist! She also knows how to rock the leather pants and knee-high boots, which can only be counted in her favor.

      (Nota bene: Morales is never called "La Tigresa" in the movie--that is Serrano's real-world nickname. A well-known singer and actress, she was infamous for many political and sexual scandals, including a rumored short-lived affair with President Gustavo Diaz Ordaz of Mexico. Judging from her brief but entertaining Wikipedia entry, she's more or less playing herself here.)

      "Wanna 'rassle?"

      One thing that surprised me about this movie was how intricate the plot is compared to other Santo flicks I've seen, which tend more toward the episodic. (There are episodic tangents--such as a long segment at the county fair that's actually quite interesting in a National Geographic "traditional celebrations" kinda way--but the whodunnit through-story is a lot more solid.) The mystery is really pretty well-constructed, with many red herrings and shocking revelations. In fact the story is so convoluted that the in-ring action--a staple of the Lucha film--is limited to a single match rather than the usual two or three. Which is not to say the film skimps on the grappling: Santo gets to practice his knee-lifts and forearm smashes on some of the evil ranchers' thugs (with La Tigresa fighting right alongside him, clocking their jaws and whipping them silly with her leather lash!), and later rescues Carlitos from a lynching for horse-thievery by flattening a half-dozen ranch-hands.

      The centerpiece battles, though, are his two fights with the mysterious, primitive-seeming Giant (Domingo Bazán)--both of which have rather startling conclusions. The first takes place in an abandoned bullfighting ring, and Santo gets to perform his patented frog splash off an adobe wall, from a rather dangerous-looking height. However, the caveman-cum-hobo is (amazingly) too strong for Santo, and leaves him unconscious in the sand! Later they have a rematch in the cobweb-covered catacombs beneath the hacienda (what, you thought things wouldn't get all Gothic up in here?), and Santo seems to get the upper hand before being waylaid by a shorter caveman/hobo who seems to be the Giant's keeper, left unconscious and presumed dead! Two battles, two losses--unheard of in Santo Cinema!

      El Enmascarado Volidor

      Of course he's not dead, but the final confrontation in Irma's room, where secrets are revealed and motives explicated, is notable for its pointed LACK of Santo's presence. He comes in after the dust is already settling, shaking off his concussion and in need of a change of shirt. Who's the hero here, anyway? This makes me believe the producers saw this not so much as a Santo vehicle, but a Serrano one--kind of a Brigitte Nielsen/Red Sonja situation, with Santo along in the Arnold Schwarzenegger role. (In one memorable exchange, Irma claims "never to have tasted fear," while Santo admits that he has--his courage is not bravado, but perseverance even in the face of fear.)

      Serrano is a powerful screen presence, however, and in addition to the fight scenes gets to shine in a couple of musical numbers--notably when she takes Santo and Carlitos to a cock fight where her prized rooster is set to do battle, and trades musical boasts with the rival ranchers. (These are sadly untranslated on the disc I have--I can only assume it's a Beowulf-style taunting before the poultry-centric main event.) She also gets to show off her voluptuous figure in that excellent leather pants/boots ensemble, and a couple of groovy negligees. No complaints from me.

      Santo came back from his tour of Japan with some...interesting ideas for the bedroom.
      About that cockfight--I admit I found it a little rough to watch the animals being set upon one another for sport, and one of them actually killed by the other on camera. Yes, I know, it's a different time, a different culture from my own, and nothing most people in Mexico in 1973 would have batted an eye at. But still, it's real animal death, really onscreen, and modern viewers may well be taken aback. And that's not the only instance of animal snuff in the film. Later we also see Santo and Irma hunting, and she shoots a rabbit; we get to see the effects in detail, as the running bunny is hit and tumbles feet-over-destroyed-cranium. Finally, there is a flashback to Irma's brother's death, wherein a human-shaped dummy is sent down the cliff on the back of an ACTUAL horse. I rather hope the nag was dead before they rolled her down the cliff, but I can by no means be certain. (Also, a kitten is used to test a poisoned dish of soup, and fails the test, though one hopes the cat was not actually poisoned.) Animal lovers, be warned.

      (Irma's falcon La Serrana fares slightly better than the other animals--in fact, the hawk even flies to Santo's rescue during his first fight with the giant, and then saves her owner from a poisonous snake in her bed! The cavemen don't take kindly to this, and later stuff the bird in a canvas bag and smack it against a wall several times; however, since the falcon appears safe and sound in the final scenes, hopefully this was merely cinema magic.)

      "That wasn't *quite* what I was asking for, Maria, but thanks all the same."
      Also of note is some rather salty language--lots of "assholes" and "bitches" bandied about, at least in translation--which together with the animal snuff and Carlitos's "comedic" lynching scene (to say nothing of the decidedly PG-13 Dark Family Secrets that hold the key to the mystery) give the film a much darker tone that I had grown to expect from a Santo film.

      Still, it all really worked for me. I was involved in the story, amazed by the plot twists, excited by the dangers and thrilled by the fights. A more "adult" Santo perhaps, though it still manages to bring in the Gothic trappings and superhuman enemies required by such a larger-than-life hero. I give El Santo y La Tigresa 2.5 thumbs. It's available from Netflix on DVD, so check it out!



      ¡Viva el Santo!

      A few more images from El Santo y La Tigresa (1973): 


      So lifelike

      Eyes Up, Santo

      Now THAT'S comedy!

      "Grovel before the awesome might of the muumuu, slave!"

      FALCON KICK!

      Knight in Shining Headgear

      "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine..."

      "Well, shucks, Irma, I never thought about it before...but yeah, I guess I could put it there..."

      MORE MADNESS...

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