|That's right--there is no poster for this movie.|
Shadows of Blood (1988, dir. Sydney Ling) is something of an oddity in Naschy's career. A flick so obscure it doesn't even have an IMDb entry--in fact, Paul is the only member of the cast whose IMDb page seems to exist!--the film was apparently a direct-to-video effort produced for the burgeoning Dutch VHS market. Like many of the early shot-on-video productions, this one suffers from terrible videography, laughable video effects, and incredibly amateurish acting from everyone but the Mighty Mighty Molina. While it's probably only of interest to hardcore Naschyphiles and obsessive DTV collectors, the movie still boasts enough MADness to make it an enjoyable waste of 70 minutes, at least for connoisseurs of trash cinema like your ever lovin' Vicar.
ETA: VIEW THE LAST 8 MINUTES OF SHADOWS OF BLOOD ON YOUTUBE! (Spoilers, obviously)
There is really no plot or character development to speak of here--we meet Fleming's killer window-shopping in Amsterdam, walking down the street like a regular (if funny-looking) tourist. On a busy thoroughfare, he sees a young New Waver coming toward him, and something behind his eyes just snaps! Without even checking whether all ist klar, Der Kommissar, he throttles the young punk on the hood of a nearby Citroen! Whether from lack of social engagement or crippling politeness, the other Amsterdammers passing by on the street take no notice.
|"I told you not to put mayonnaise on my fries, but YOU JUST DIDN'T LISTEN!"|
Later, Fleming meets Paul's character (who for sake of simplicity we'll call "Paul") and they discuss their newfound freedom and what they intend to do with it--which seems to be mainly random, motiveless stranglings. Of interest to Naschy fans here is that Paul speaks his few lines in English--though so heavily accented and with such strange inflection, he's clearly working it phonetically. (No shame there though--ALL of the actors in the movie seem to be reciting their lines phonetically, with the exception of a wisecracking Cockney detective on the Amsterdam police force, who seems to serve no other purpose in the movie.) I for one got a strong Lugosi vibe off Naschy's dialogue here, which of course made me giggle with glee.
|"I crap bigger than you!"|
With no clues to go on (except presumably the DOZENS of eyewitnesses to every single murder!), the chieftess is forced to accept the help of an also-elderly Interpol agent, apparently sent over from their Department of International Standing Around with Hands in Pockets. (He's the best there is at what he does!) The agent fills them in on the killers' backstories, which include the fact that Paul has murdered 22 people, and his apprentice a respectable 19--not counting the latest additions. Together the crack task force investigate several tabacs, bars, and hotel bars, finding nothing but a series of suspicious-looking cocktails that must be immediately eliminated.
|"Nope, no killers under the crumpets! Maybe at the bottom of this glass, then?"|
From there on out, it's a series of curious events. Fleming strangles more random passersby. Paul throttles a few too--including one fat video editor (?), whom he takes out while wearing a Venetian plague doctor mask!--but later diversifies into stabbings and power-drillings. Things take a strange turn when Fleming starts courting a hollow-eyed local woman, who is not put off by his goblin-like face and penchant for killing people during lulls in the conversational courtship. Meanwhile Paul has an odd interlude wherein he meets an elderly Dutch serial killer to talk shop with, and later has his humanity reawakened by the not-so-skillful warblings of a homeless flautist. Seriously.
|Fun fact: Naschy spent a good portion of the 80s touring with Jethro Tull|
Shadows of Blood is a terrible, terrible movie, and one that I'm sure Paul was not sorry to have left off most of his filmographies. Apart from a short write-up on the indispensible Naschy.com, there's little information in English about this flick, and many fans would probably say that's for the better. It definitely seems beneath Paul's considerable talents, and even the man himself seems to be uncharacteristically phoning in much of the performance, his eyes only on the paycheck waiting at the end. (Apart from those few lines alluded to earlier, most of Paul's acting here is done via broad gestures and pantomime.) Bad script, bad acting, a terrible Casio-fart score, and bad cinematography abound; it's little wonder that few if any of the other people involved have any further discernible film credits.
|Your guess is as good as mine|
So for me and other Naschy completists, I would rate the film at 2 thumbs, something you need to see and might even enjoy. But for the average moviegoer, that rating would have to drop considerably, maybe even to the 1 thumb range. I freely admit to my bias--but what can I say? Naschy always makes me happy. Rest in peace, you wonderful madman. You are missed.
More images from Shadows of Blood (1988):
|"Waiter, there's a Fly Girl in my soup!"|
|"Yeah, everyone keeps telling me Alcohol Niet Ils Ik Ru, but I don't believe it!"|
|That's right! KNEEL, PEASANT!|
|The Ghost Hand goes for Paul's Booty. Can you blame it?|
|Even Paul doesn't know what he was thinking|