Showing posts with label Paul Naschy's Pecs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Paul Naschy's Pecs. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2011

Muerte de un Quinqui (1975): or, Momma Always Said I Was Pretty

We've talked a lot about the peculiar genius of Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy here on MMMMMovies--I mean, A LOT--and a great deal of our adulation has as its focus the limitless, almost child-like joy that bleeds through every frame of film in which the Mighty Mighty Molina gets to live out his boyhood dreams of becoming the heroic monster he idolized. As much a fan as a filmmaker, Naschy reveled in the glory of his Universal Monsters inspirations, while upping the sex-and-gore factors and adding his own Iberian spice. His joy is infectious: seeing him tearing up the scenery in those films never fails to put a smile on my face and a spring in my step.

But even Paul Naschy couldn't be all joy, all the time, and as I dig deeper into the voluminous depths of his surviving filmography, more and more I discover the counterpoint to that joyfulness, the "Dark Naschy" that lay just below the surface, sometimes overlapping (as in his wonderfully villainous turns in El Caminante and Horror Rises from the Tomb), and sometimes taking over entirely. Particularly in the late-70s/early-80s segment of his career, Naschy seems to have had some demons to exorcise, springing perhaps from his sense of insufficient respect for his work, or perhaps from a deeper, more personal space.  The "dark" movies sometimes lose that sense of fun that drew me to his spectacularly muscled bosom in the first place, but nonetheless show a fascinating complexity in the man I've come to know and love so well.
This sense of darkness is more pronounced for me in Naschy's non-horror movies, particularly his non-giallo crime-thrillers. In these Paul often plays ruthless, unrepentant criminals, murderers and rapists who display a disturbingly bleak misanthropy (or often, more appropriately and sadly, misogyny) that could be quite jarring to viewers used to his more audience-friendly monster mashes. One such film is Muerte de un Quinqui (1975, aka Death of a Hoodlum) written by Naschy and directed by frequent collaborator León Klimovsky (Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman, Vengeance of the Zombies, Dr. Jekyll and the Wolfman, etc. etc.).

YES I SAID YES I WILL YES

As the movie opens we're thrown directly into the action, as a group of the quinquiest Quinquis imaginable executes a well-planned robbery on a jewelry store in downtown Madrid. Head hoodlum Marcos (Naschy, looking awesome in sunglasses and a brown leather trenchcoat) engages the clerk in engagement-ring shopping while his henchmen spread out to cover the exits. Things proceed like clockwork for a while--Naschy produces the hardware and orders the workers to hand over the loot, which they're more than happy to do. However, things take a slide to the "shit-we're-fucked" side when a prospective customer walks in off the street, surveys the situation, and abruptly karate-chops a gun-wielding guard! Not his best split second decision, as within seconds he contains more lead than a 1920s paint bucket.

Like a shark scenting blood in the water, Marcos goes all crazy-eyed and starts gunning down everything that moves, including the shop owner and several innocent bystanders. They grab as much loot as they can and hop into the waiting getaway car, driven by the Matthew McConaughey of Spain. After a quick confab it's decided Marcos will hold the loot while the others go to the big boss, Martin (silver fox Frank Braña, hot off a failed audition for the role of Johnny Quest's dad, apparently), and find out what (the fuck) they're supposed to do now. On their way the quinquis sum up Paul's character: "That Marcos is one mean bastard! I don't trust him! I think even Martin is afraid of him!" As well he should be, we'll soon see.

"Don't make me flare my nostrils!"
Turns out Marcos is tired of being Martin's little quinqui boy, and has decided to fence the loot quickly and skip the country with the proceeds. Unfortunately his connection won't be able to gather the necessary funds for three or four weeks, which leaves Marcos in a tight spot. He decides to lay low in the countryside until the cash comes through, and begins packing his belongings, most prized among them the large photo of his dear departed Mother, which he keeps by the bed and talks to almost constantly. We learn through flashback that as a child Marcos witnessed his mother's murder at the hands of her disgusting, philandering second husband (a vile creature who also caused Marcos' deafness in one ear via blow-to-the-head), an event which no doubt had a strong formative influence on his character.

Just how strong becomes clear when Marcos' girlfriend Isabel (smokin' hawt redhead Eva León) catches him packing and asks to go with him. Marcos, ever the gentleman, lets the lovestruck girl down easy:

Harsh, but fair
Isabel, understandably upset, calls Marcos a "son of a bitch"--clearly not knowing that she's just stumbled onto a foolproof trigger for all of Marcos' psychopathic tendencies. Paul turns on the crazy eyes and mumbles toward the photo, "Mother--this slut, this piece of trash, has sullied your name!" then lays the unholy smack down on his unsuspecting and defenseless lover. It's a pretty brutal scene, as Marcos beats the girl viciously for some time before finally lifting a boot and stomping her head into the floor! This last attack is implied rather than shown directly, thank goodness, but still--yikes.

So there we have it. Paul plays a psychologically scarred thief with no honor (even among his own kind), a vicious streak a mile wide, clear problems with women, and the tendency to go into a murderous rage any time someone says anything that could be even tangentially interpreted as a slight to the memory of his mother. (Interior, Quinqui HQ: "...and so I grabbed the cash, stuck the gun up the old man's nose, and pulled the trigger till it went *click*." "Damn, Marcos, you one crazy motherfucker!" "WHATDIDYOUAAUGHKILLKILLLKILLLLL!" "*gurglegurglediiie* -scene-) And he's our main character! A far cry from everyone's favorite Polish nobleman, you'll agree. More like Norman Bates with 'roid rage.

"...and a gun. A real big gun."

Marcos has a rather liberal interpretation of the phrase "lay low," as on his way out of town he speeds like a madman and unceremoniously takes out two hapless motorcycle cops with a machine gun. As his former gang makes plans to put him down like the mad dog he is, Marcos hooks up with an old flame (and mother of his bastard son) who helps him out by getting him a gig as groundskeeper for a reclusive and filthy rich family. He hides the jewels in some nearby ruins, planning to hold down the job for a month and then come back to make his final escape.

Predictably, the family he works for are a few tiles short of a Mah Jongg set themselves. Patriarch Ricardo (Heinrich Starhemberg) is a former target shooting champion now wheelchair-bound with a debilitating spinal disease, who compensates for no longer being a "complete man" by verbally abusing his wife and daughter while sporting a fabulous series of cravats. Wife and mother Marta (Carmen Sevilla, who played Mary Magdalene in Paul's screen debut King of Kings [1961]) is nearly at the end of her rope with Ricardo's depressive/aggressive attitude, to say nothing of her own sexual frustrations. Rounding out the family unit is immediately post-pubescent daughter Elena (frequent Naschy leading-lady Julia Saly), a total Daddy's girl who is nonetheless intrigued and attracted by the buff, handsome stranger in their midst.

Magic Eye™ Wall Tiles: The Dude-in-a-Cravat Pack

And who can blame her? While crime and thrills are the ostensible order of the day, the movie's actual purpose seems to revolve around showing Paul's finely sculpted musculature at every opportunity, and sometimes even creating opportunities where none exist. We get Paul all sweaty chopping wood, Paul wandering into the kitchen late at night wearing (appropriately) a wife-beater tee, the requisite "Paul lounging shirtless in bed" shot, and even PANTSLESS PAUL. It is to swoon! While some viewers might find this self-indulgent on Naschy's part, it has to be said that Paul is in fantastic shape here, as beefy and toned and dripping with roguish charisma as I've ever seen him onscreen. In fact, he'd be absolutely irresistible--if you hadn't just watched him stomp a mudhole in a waifish supermodel. Maybe that's why the scene was included--to keep his musky manliness from stopping the show entirely. You are a wise man, Klimovsky.

For a hardened criminal, Marcos takes the groundskeeping job surprisingly seriously, and to be fair, he's an excellent worker. He repairs things around the house, polishes trophies, cleans up laundry, and even risks life and limb to repair some fallen electrical wires, taking a tumble from the ladder as he does so. This is what leads to the shirtless-in-bed scene, as Marta dresses his wounds and thanks him for his effort. Of course Marcos knows when he's in there, and it's not long before he's turning the full force of his Molina Musk™ on the hapless, longsuffering MILF. Ricardo sees what's happening but can do little about it, other than obsessively oil his rifle and make outraged angry faces at Marcos. To her credit Marta resists as long as she can--about 15 minutes, which I think is a record--before finally collapsing into the ruffian's arms and putting an explosive end to her sexual drought.

"Don't just stand there, woman! GIT ON IT!"

Of course Marcos is nothing if not quinqui, and seeing the opportunity to score with two generations under the same roof, he starts putting the wolfish moves on Elena as well. Saly plays Elena as a girl on the cusp of sexual awakening, flattered and a little frightened by Marcos' attention and innuendo. Of course Saly is closer to Naschy's age IRL, so having her play an almost-innocent teen is a bit of a stretch, no matter how many teddy bears and Mick Jagger and Elvis posters you plaster her bedroom with. Still, she's as hawt as ever, and her chemistry with Naschy really sizzles.

One night, while the sated (and doubtless exhausted) Marta dozes, dreaming of PaulCock, Marcos slips into Elena's room to try his luck. Having seen what's going on with Mom, Elena makes the mistake of asking, "How would you like it if YOUR mother were a hussy?"--which leads not to a beat-down, but to a rather disturbing rape scene that gets only more off-putting when Elena starts to enjoy it. I'm a Naschyphile no matter what, but even I had to shake my head and say, "Dang, Paul--that ain't right."

Saly Got Back

Of course those tangled webs he's weaving tighten sooner rather than later: Marta discovers one of Marcos' cigars in an ashtray in Elena's room and quickly does the math, while Ricardo spies the hoodlum entering his daughter's inner sanctum (IYKWIM) and starts clearing a place on the wall for his next hunting trophy. Then the double-crossed gang (remember them?) tracks Marcos down by threatening his ex and her son, leading to a pretty wild final confrontation/gunfight at the hacienda as the Quinqui makes his admittedly spectacular last stand. No gang of thugs can destroy the Mommy-Obsessed killing machine that is Paul Naschy's Marcos, but there's something about Hell and a woman scorned...

Muerte de un Quinqui is not one of Paul Naschy's greatest films by any stretch, but it's not bad. Klimovsky's direction is solid and doesn't call attention to itself, and the flick looks good. The acting is more than serviceable as well--Saly shines as always, and Sevilla does a great job as the frustrated, downtrodden wife desperate for the attention and affection Marcos promises. Starhemberg is delightful as the mostly unhinged Ricardo, wavering between impotent rage and deep self-loathing with blinding speed. (He also has one of the best OMG OUTRAGE faces ever put to film.)

After witnessing first-hand the power of the Naschy Thrust, Ricardo lost hope of ever being able to compete.

It will shock you to read the next sentence on this site, but what keeps the movie from being really compelling is Naschy himself (GASP!)--or rather, Naschy's character Marcos as written by Paul (*whew*). Paul plays the hoodlum with all the devilish charisma and hatefulness the script requires, and I can't fault his performance on that count. However, Marcos' character is just SO hateful and amoral, SO scarred and misanthropic, it's hard to get really involved in what makes him tick. Of course his evil is nothing compared to Alaric de Marnac, but then we aren't asked to spend the entire movie with him; we've got other heroes to latch onto. In Quinqui it's all Marcos, all the time, and I have to be honest--he's not a guy you want to hang out with.

Still, the movie does have a respectable number of gorgeous Eurobabes, some wild sequences and a slam-bang ending, and a veritable buffet of Paul-Flesh on display, so I can't hate it too much. While I much prefer the Daninsky saga or Paul's pseudo-giallos, I still enjoyed watching the "Dark Naschy" at work here. Also, it's interesting to note how in true Naschy fashion, Paul reworks story elements of an earlier movie, 1973's Crimson (failed jewel heist and vengeful thugs) and then uses elements from Muerte in a later movie, 1976's Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll (drifter wreaks havoc with dysfunctional reclusive family). Anyway, I own my bias: 2.25 thumbs. YMMV, etc.

"Welcome...to Fantasy Island."
More great images from Muerte de un Quinqui (1975)


"...and a woman ain't one."

Treasure Chest at the Gun Show


Check the other side, bro.

Hydration is Important

As Ricardo wheels slowly by, Paul contemplates a Leap Attack.

Zang.

"Oh yes she can, Mick. Oh yes she can."

MILF & PILF

At least they're not kidding themselves.

"NOW whose Momma's fat, ya bastards? WHOSE MOMMA?!?!?!"

MORE MADNESS...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Naschy Week Concludes: The Faces of Naschy


As Paul Naschy Week winds down here at the Vicarage and the Duchy, it's a bit of a sad sight. Crepe paper streamers twist lazily in the breeze, confetti and bones of roasted boar litter the Main Hall, empty wine tuns are rolled down the stairs by Faulk and the Duke's pet gorilla Shnazzerpuss while Italian-American plumbers flee in terror, and of course the serving girls apply salve to their raw areas and pray for the somber stroke of midnight that will signal the end of the celebration.

But before we take the Vicar's cassock down from the Duchy's flagpole (where ALL salute), and bleach the Duchal Pantaloons for the first in a series of ritualistic scrubbings, we thought we'd lift our spirits once again by revisiting some of our favorite Faces of Naschy. Come with us, won't you?

10. Naschy as Mr. Hyde (Dr. Jekyll and the Wolf Man, 1972)

Vicar of VHS: He wasn't Mr. Hyde for very long in this one, Duke, as the Wolf inside could not be denied...however, you have to admit he makes a dashing Hyde. That cravat is what really sells it for me, even more than the undersized hat.

Duke of DVD: Yes, verily, he looks to be about to call for a horse and carriage, to whisk him away into the London fog, perhaps to a small pub I once visited called "The Strangled Goose", where he might sit at a scarred, wooden table and sip a glass of port. I appreciate not just the cream cravat, which is brilliant, but also his fully buttoned coat.

9. Naschy as Amenhotep (The Mummy's Revenge, 1973)

V: Any role that allows Naschy to rock the Egyptian headdress and bicep bracers while also going shirtless is okay in my book. Though they must have had a crew of shaving technicians on staff at all times, I'd wager.

D: No doubt about that, I suspect they had to shave his chest between each take, sometimes forcing a cut during dialogue to try in vain to tame his thick nest of tangled hair. Of special note here are the golden necklaces, which no doubt absorbed so much Naschy Musk(tm) during filming that they had to be smelted and formed into bullets to be used to assassinate only the most powerful of demon lords.

8. Naschy as The Devil (Vengeance of the Zombies, 1973)


V: What can you say about this one? From the movie that started us down this road all those years ago, this is an image that never fails to put a quiver in my ribcage.

D: The crazed expression is what gets my blood pumping. No one sells "intense crazy" like Paul.

V: He's just perfect here--the horns, the most goatish goatee you could imagine, the crazy eyes and skull/black drop backdrop. Which incidentally they reused in The Devil's Possessed.

D: I have that same backdrop hanging behind my evening reading chair. Notice Paul's ruby red lips, as if he's already been feeding upon a virginal youth. Exquisite!


7. Naschy as Irenius Daninsky (The Beast and the Magic Sword, 1983)


V: This still more than any other makes me wish Naschy had made a true sword & sorcery flick. Can you imagine him in the Conan role? You don't have to imagine it: here he is. And he looks AWESOME.

D: He wears manliness like a cloak. Speaking of cloaks, he appears to be physically wearing the tanned hide of a yeti. He resembles a Viking god, and if I were sitting in a tiny seaside village and saw a longboat arrive with him at the helm, I'd open my wrists and toss myself down the nearest well.

6. Naschy as Dracula (Count Dracula's Great Love, 1974)


V: Naschy wasn't afraid to stretch, and playing the King of the Undead was admittedly a bit of a stretch for him. I love the movie of course, but like his idol Lon Chaney Jr., I think it's clear he was more comfortable playing the werewolf than the suave sophisticated vampire.

D: I concur, but I applaud his noble effort. Naschy looks young here, fresh-faced, with just a hint of stubble. I would imagine they overran their shooting schedule due to him bedding all of the female cast repeatedly. Just look at him! How could anyone resist?

V: He does look great here, with the pale skin, lowered brows, rockin' sideburns--kinda like Glenn Danzig, but taller and more awesome.

D: It might seem hard to be more awesome than Glenn Danzig, but Paul achieves it with little effort.

5. Naschy as Father Adrian Dunning (Exorcismo, 1975)

V: Much like Irineus up there makes me wish for a Naschy Conan, this one makes me thirst for a Naschy Nunsploitation.

D: The world is not ready for that, dearest Vicar. Oh no! I love Naschy's horrified look here, and that sacramental drape doesn't look like standard Vatican issue. It's just how Naschy rolls.

V: Indeed, the orange velvet with apparent paisley pattern may not be what the Pope had in mind, but only because he didn't think any priest could pull it off. Naschy is the exception that proves the rule.

4. Naschy as Alaric de Marnac (Horror Rises from the Tomb, 1972)

V: The arrogance. The Evil. The supreme self-confidence, even in the face of Death. Naschy fucking OWNS this scene.

D: He does indeed! Look at the wild, wavy mane of hair, and the bushy beard that says "Hey, look at me, I'm Grizzly 'Fucking' Adams." That headsman behind him looks positively terrified.

V: As well he should be! Alaric really is the opposite of his Waldemar Daninsky character, and you can tell Naschy has a great time being the all-out evil villain. Plus he gets to look at Helga Line's boobs. LEGEND.

D: While the Waldemar character will always hold a special place in my heart, his Alaric truly is a special accomplishment. Plus the Euro-boob.

3. Naschy as Waldemar Daninsky (Curse of the Devil, 1973)

V: This one's all yours, Duke.

D: Oh dear. Where to begin? I would beggar my kingdom to own that chain tunic he is wearing, or to drink wine from that studded skullcap. Naschy is fully composed of win and awesome here, and his raw talent is in full effect. Bow before him, mortals! HE'LL SEE YOU BITCHES IN CHAINS!

2. Naschy as the Werewolf (Night of the Werewolf, 1981)



V: Of course we could have picked any number of werewolf shots from the Daninsky saga, as the make-up changed (sometimes drastically) from flick to flick, but I believe this is my favorite example of the werewolf look on Naschy. A little bit Oliver Reed in Curse of the Werewolf, but still all Jacinto. The fiery cataclysm behind him helps.

D: Some really great makeup effects here. I love the teeth, too. I'm guessing at least 50% of that hair is actually Naschy's.

V: His virility is such, he can just tense up and "take a beard." Too bad they didn't do a time-lapse "Naschy grows his own make-up" shot in any of the flicks! Staying absolutely still for the 2 hours it would have taken him to grow a full beard would have been difficult, but Naschy is nothing if not dedicated.

D: Be still, my leaping codpiece!

1. Naschy as Waldemar Daninsky (Night of the Werewolf, 1981)


V: I hesitated to have the top two from the same movie, but really, Duke, we had no choice.

D: No choice had we, I agree. I am simply agog.

V: I just really can't speak in the presence of this photo. I'm awash in a sea of awesome.

D: The piercing gaze. The long, untamed hair. The weighty heft of the weapon of war he's wielding. There's just so much to love.

V: I think I need a Moment.

D: Yes, I'll be right back... Readers, talk amongst yourselves. Here, I'll give you a topic: The Holy Roman Empire was neither "Holy" nor "Roman". Discuss.


Well, that about wraps up Naschy Week 2009. Hope you all enjoyed it, and keep coming back for more Madness!


MORE MADNESS...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

El Ultimo Kamikaze (1984), Or How Paul in Drag Made Me Question My Already Questionable Sexuality


Dearest friends, it is I, the Duke of DVD, once again herding you like stunned cattle to worship at the altar of Paul “The Spanish Love Muscle” Naschy. Shot in glorious Fujicolor in 1984, El Ultimo Kamikaze represents yet another movie written, directed, and starred in by Naschy, Jacinto Molina to his friends/worshipers. Unfortunately for the non-Spanish speakers of the world (which includes the Duke, alas I am only fluent in English, Latin, and a offshoot of vulgar Ural-Altaic), this movie is entirely in Spanish and without any subtitles, so I was forced to glean what I could from the intense stares and sweaty brow of Naschy. To my delight, nothing much was lost in translation. Let us explore… join me, won’t you?

El Ultimo Kamikaze starts off with a tablescape of red velvet, on which sit various pistols, sub-machineguns, and other accouterments of brooding Spanish killers. A pair of hands comes out and begins putting on leather gloves, which not only serve to keep fingerprints at bay, but are also used by Naschy to drink wine. We then cut to a park where a limo pulls up and disgorges a corpulent mob boss fellow, along with his skinny bodyguard. Out for his afternoon constitutional, the mobster sets off at a brisk jog.


The Vicar goes for a jog...

As he rounds a corner, we see an old man, smoking a cigarette and drinking wine from a bottle. The mob boss is disgusted, but his disgust is as short-lived as he is, for the bum is revealed to be Naschy! Paul leaps up, machinegun in hand, and mows down both the boss and his lackey. He runs, still in costume, to a nearby motorcycle stashed in the bushes, and off he goes, thus cementing himself further into my brain as the most awesome individual in cinema history.


"Get off my lawn!"


It's not really Naschy, but do I care? No!

We next see two guys who look like businessmen having a conversation over a lobster dinner. One of the men wears a leather glove only on his left hand (much like the Vicar), and we quickly discern that he has lost the use of it. Not being able to speak Spanish except for a few handy phrases like “That’s far, FAR too much for 10 male prostitutes, are you insane?!” and “No, in fact I did not firebomb that village of Spanish gypsies Your Honor, please accept this suitcase full of gold coins for your reelection campaign.”, I really couldn’t follow what was going on here very well. However, the power of Paul’s script revealed all!


"Ooof, this lobster is giving me gas already!"

Basically, Naschy plays an assassin who is very good at disguises and who has a penchant for lobbing grenades. He’s also a troubled man, who expresses himself via painting and is haunted by his family’s past, which included Nazis, but more on them later. The leather glove-wearing guy, or Leather Glove Guy (LGG), is also an assassin. He tends to hang out with his blond wife and smoke a lot. I could never be sure, but I believe Paul was the reason he lost use of his left hand. I’m going to assume that’s true, even if it isn’t. The movie contains a lot of exposition between LGG and his wife, and between Paul and his various lovers, all of which I’m sure was important for establishing motive, but which I pretty much glossed over during, instead getting repeated chubbies from Paul’s bulging arms/pecs.

We establish Paul as the badass assassin early on. Not long after he kills the jogging mobster, he is off on another job, this time greasing another mob-looking guy at a pool party. This pool party resembles most all pool parties of the ‘70s, being that it’s full of naked chicks and hunky, muscle-bound guys. While the mobsters commiserate and view the local hotties, Paul rides up on a motorcycle in full black leather regalia! To say my heart skipped a beat is a vast understatement. I also ruined a good set of self-removing trousers.


Paul Naschy, the leather-clad motorcycle-driving assassin.

Stashing the bike once again in some handy bushes, Paul sneaks forward with a duffle bag. He quickly removes the contents, revealing two hand grenades and a sub machinegun. No subtle assassin is he! Paul goes balls-to-the-wall or not at all! Lobbing the first grenade, which explodes harmlessly in the pool, he then lobs the second, which explodes one of the naked hotties in a shower of body parts and blood. He then rips into the assemblage with the machinegun, first mowing down the mobster and his cronies, then gunning down their dinner (seriously, he lights up the table full of glasses and plates for no real reason), and then finally he guns down every single person attending the party. No one escapes the wrath of Naschy! As he leaves we get a nice shot of the floating head of the exploded chick, and one of her severed legs.

We then cut to Naschy the artist. Wearing a groovy hat, he’s painting a nude model, who turns out to be one of his many girlfriends. Hanging on the wall behind him are horrible paintings of Nazis and prison camps, etc. He gets a call for yet another job, but before leaving he takes the time to bang his woman, naturally. Paul then travels to Egypt, meeting some nefarious fellows near the Great Pyramids, ostensibly for a job. First, though, he takes the time to go bed an Egyptian hottie, who he then suspects as being a spy. Throwing water in her face and then roughing her up a bit, he eventually tosses her out of his room.

"I just don't think I got the curve of your ass correct..."


"I told you that you had to buy tickets to the gun show in advance!"

Finally he goes out for the job, dressed as a repairman in a blue jumpsuit. Gaining entry to his target’s apartment, he is lead by the lady of the house back down a hallway. He kicks open a door, revealing a man taking a shit while reading a newspaper. Paul pumps him full of lead while his lady screams, which Naschy stifles by choking her to death! He then heads to yet another large city, I believe this one is in the US. To save money on production it is obvious that stock footage was used when applicable and most of the killing is done in non-descript hotel rooms.


"Who... does... Number Two... Work... For?"

Coming upon his mark in yet another of these hotels, Paul is dressed simply in a trenchcoat and hat. He guns down the dude in mid coitus with a smoking hot chick. He decides to spare her for some reason, giving her the money in the dead dude’s wallet. This begins Paul’s slide into self-loathing and paranoia, but first we get more Leather Glove Guy time.

LGG and his wife go dancing, they hang out, they converse. I’m not sure what about, but I’m going to guess it was about the Vicar’s last party in which they both did things both embarrassing and exhilarating. The LGG is a different kind of assassin. Instead of using disguises and hand grenades, he employs James Bond-esque tools, including a sword cane and a smoking pipe that doubles as a blowgun. He uses these tools to great effect. First, he visits a rather flamingly gay dude wearing a silk robe, who recognizes him as an assassin, pulls a gun on him and begins to dial the police. Before he can complete the call, however, LGG kills him with a well-placed pipe blowgun dart to the forehead! Next up he kills a guy getting a massage with the sword cane, and finally dispatches a group of golfers using a golf club shotgun. Very handy with gadgets this guy is!

"I don't know why I'm so surprised, I'm used to my face being penetrated by men..."

Meanwhile, Naschy gets a new target, this time a sheik. Nothing says international terrorism and evil deeds in 70s cinema like a dark-skinned fellow dressed as a sheik! First, though, Paul gets some well-needed rest. As he nods off, he dreams he’s in Nazi Germany, forcing Jewish women in a camp to strip before having them gunned down. He wakes filled with rage and shame, and begins knifing the portrait of his Nazi relative, I’m gonna guess it’s his father. He then smokes a joint with his sexy nude model girlfriend and all is well with the world. Then Paul leaves to kill the sheik.


Who got their Nazi'slpoitation in my Naschy?!

He does this in a disguise that nearly sent me over the edge with giddiness: he dresses as a woman! Dressed to kill, obviously. He wears a black dress with matching black hat, and way too much make-up, thus making one ugly butch of a woman with bulging arms and a barrel chest he tries to hide by stooping, which doesn’t help much. He arrives as the sheik is landing via copter, and proceeds to kill the dignitary and all his bodyguards employing several grenades and a John Woo-esque double pistol style.


"This just in, Dame Edna goes on murderous rampage outside local Starbucks!"

As he’s leaving, on a motorcycle of course, still in drag, he passes right by Leather Glove Guy, who was waiting for him! A chase ensues that ultimately ends in LGG crashing his car into a light pole at such a slow speed one has to wonder how he managed it. This allows Paul to get away, but sets us up for a climatic finale.


"Sheesh, another love sonnet from the Vicar..."

Before that can happen, however, Paul gets hired by a hot lesbian to do some deal involving the exchange of money, only the exchange turns out to be a double-cross, and Naschy barely escapes with his life, gunning down the would-be killer. He heads back to the chick’s apartment and interrupts her mid-muff dive, blasting both of the women in the torso with a sawed-off shotgun. The squib effects here are fantastic, the effects people need to be commended.


Paul arrives early for Hairy Taco Night.

Paul heads back to his house in sweaty ruin. He’s been double crossed, chased by a one-handed man, forced to dress as a woman, and is continually haunted by his family’s Nazi past, and he’s high on pot. He awakes from a fever dream (complete with WWII Nazi footage) to find Leather Glove Guy standing over him. They talk a bit about the plight of the Russian worker, the price of oil in Indo-China, and whether corn futures would be a worthwhile investment in this shaky global economy. Finally, Paul makes a move, pulling a pistol, but LGG is faster with his gun-cane! Paul, shot in the chest, is left for dead. The big reveal comes, however, when LGG walks over and examines Paul's gun, finding it empty! Obviously his Nazi-ridden past, not to mention the cancellation of Falcon Crest, was too much for him to bear.


"Prilosec... save me!"

Leather Glove Guy heads back to his apartment and wife, who apparently hates his guts, for she pulls a gun hidden in the couch and mortally wounds him. As she’s standing over the dead body of LGG, Naschy stumbles through the door, wounded but still going, and in the climatic final shot, fires two bullets through the chest of LGG’s wife/lover, before finally expiring himself. Such drama!


The Duke's various lovers fight to determine who brings him breakfast in bed.

To say this movie impressed me despite the language barrier is an understatement. Once again, Naschy’s gusto and verve for writing and acting, as well as directing, just wafts off the screen in waves. His tortured looks of consternation and anguish, not to mention his bulging pythons and thick pecs, know no equal. The movie does drag in spots, particularly when Leather Glove Guy and his woman are expounding on something or other. Long scenes are devoted to their talks, and I can only guess that they are planning on revenge against Naschy, or perhaps talking about LGG’s current mark.

The movie had obvious budgetary constraints, and was mostly filmed in hotel rooms, but honestly I didn’t care. The effects work during each assassination was spot-on, and the actors/actresses other than Naschy did a great job. Naschy, of course, was his usual excellent self. I do hope that one day some enterprising studio picks this up for a U.S. domestic release with subtitles, but I wouldn’t let that stop any Naschy fan from seeking this film out and watching it by any means. It is well worth the effort.

3+ Thumbs Up

"My new lesbian party blouse, ruined! This better come out in the wash..."

El Ultimo Kamikaze, indeed!

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Monday, June 1, 2009

Night of the Howling Beast (1975), Or Leap Attack Fest 2009


Paul Naschy. Paul Fucking Naschy. The name rolls off the tongue with a tremble, the words themselves containing no power yet when uttered together the earth shakes, virgins become pregnant, flocks of birds angrily take to the sky, and small children pee themselves in terror. As most of our astute readers know, the Vicar and I have an, um, "thing", for Mr. Naschy. Let me give a little background on our Lord for those who might not yet understand the mystique.

Paul Naschy was forged on an altar of evil by blind eunuchs invoking the names of the 8 Beasts from Beyond Time. His piercing eyes, his barrel chest, his penchant for sexing every woman who comes within his personal gravity: these are the reasons we love him. His muscles rippling beneath his bronze skin like insane caged pigs, starving for succor. The wild forelock of auburn hair on his head causes us to enter a torpor state of awesome. His unending joy at film making makes us understand why we love movies, and why we write passionately on this blog.

I bring to you one of Naschy's cinematic gems, the superbly titled "Night of the Howling Beast". And what a night it is! Our movie opens with 3 mountain climbers walking uphill through the snow. It is a blustery day in the Himalayas, and these gents are out for a stroll, when suddenly Chewbacca attacks! Driven mad by the keening caw of the minoc, Chewy knows only red rage as he tears into the hapless climbers. Luckily one of them thought to bring a Saturday Night Special and promptly pumps Chewbacca full of hollow-points.


We then cut to what must be an anthropologist's office, given all the stuffiness and plaid-elbow-patched-jacket'ness of it all. Enter Naschy, playing once again Waldemar Daninsky, followed by the professor. Naschy cuts a striking figure, his navy jacket barely able to contain his testosterone levels. We find out that Chewbacca didn't attack at all, and instead it was the fabled yeti of Nepal. (We can only assume Chewy is safe on Endor, feasting on Ewok intrails, which he has acquired a taste for)


"Why yes, Professor, I do wear Stetson cologne."

The professor tells Waldemar that some researchers found a yeti, and were never heard from again, but luckily their backpack had been recovered, along with a diary. The professor presents Waldemar with a "yeti scalp", which looks like someone shaved a beagle and then hot-glued its fur onto a swimming cap. Pronouncing that "there's no doubt it's authentic", he asks Waldemar to accompany him on an expedition to find this yeti, and perhaps sign it to a book contract. The professor notes that not only is Waldemar an anthropologist and a psychologist, but he's also fluent in Nepalese!

We cut to Nepal, where Waldemar drives up to a hotel in an army jeep while smoking a cigarette, a sight that is guaranteed to disintegrate every pair of panties within a 10 block radius. Waldemar meets up with the other researchers, including the professor's daughter Sylvia (grrr, baby, very grrr!) and their hulking guide Tiger, a beastly, bulging man who nevertheless proves to be mostly a coward.

Learning that the mountain passes are all but snowed in, Waldemar is angered, until Tiger informs him of a man who claims to know the way no matter the weather. Off they go! I was expecting some ancient Shirpa to fulfill this duty, instead they go to an opium den and find a sweaty bald white guy who for some reason knows his way around the Himalayas. Waldemar goes on with the sweaty dragon chaser while the rest of everyone heads off to base camp.

Waldemar is to meet up with them later, but 2 days pass and he still hasn't shown. Fearing him lost and or injured, the party sets out to find him, despite the ominous warnings from Tiger and his crew about "demons of the red moon" in the high mountain passes. Meanwhile, Waldemar and his "guide" are lost. Instead of consulting with the stars, using a map, or employing any other sort of survival technique, the guide sweats a few minutes, panics, and jumps off the side of K2. Waldemar is left on his own, but not for long!

We have a few scenes here, back and forth, of Waldemar wandering in the mountains and the folks back at base camp, trying to work up the nerve to go out after him. The Shirpas employee a ritual folk dance to work up their nerve, the band resembling a cross between Dexy's Midnight Runners and the J. Geils Band. Back with Waldemar, we see he's almost at the end of his sexy life when he spies a cave! Catching a whiff of freshly baked muffin, he heads inside to find it warm and inviting, with candles and pagan statues everywhere. It reminded me a lot of the Vicar's steam room, only with more candles and less nude gypsies.


"My blood runs cold, my memory has just been sold!"

Just as Waldemar is starting to wonder where the toilet is, a sexy woman in a saucy outfit shows up, asking why Waldemar dropped by without so much as a bottle of Merlot. Before he passes out, Waldemar asks for sanctuary. He gets something, alright, but it isn't sanctuary, unless your definition includes naked women jumping on you while you are semi-conscious. Actually, that is exactly my definition of sanctuary. Waldemar can barely sit up before two wenches have disrobed and started sexing him, one of them rubbing herself all over his prone body while the other works his hog like a ravenous hound gnawing on a deer's femur. Miraculously, this cures Waldemar.


Paul opts for the continental breakfast.

Exhausted, Waldemar passes out again, only to awaken later, alone. He sets out to do some spelunking of a different kind and explore the cave's environs. He soon happens upon two of the wenches engaging in what would appear to be cannibalism. Horrified that their mouths were previously all over his supple body, Waldemar flees in disgust, only to find the way out blocked by a portcullis. Having no choice but to descend further into the cave, Waldemar sets off, but quickly runs into another room where a chick is kneeling before a stone bier upon which rests a shriveled corpse. A thin silver arrow pierces its chest.

Waldemar realizes he has to go through this lady, so he attacks! A fierce battle ensues until Waldemar gets the idea to use the silver arrow. Now, friends, if you've ever watched a Naschy film, you should know that pulling anything silver out of any part of the body of a corpse is a recipe for disaster. Luckily for Waldemar, this movie is different! He runs the chick through with the arrow, and another shows up! He tries to flee, but ends up impaling her as well, but not before she bites him on one of his rock-like pecs! Freed, Waldemar finally finds an exit and runs off into the snow.


If this yeti killing job doesn't work out, there's always the circus...

The full moon is out, and Waldemar clutches his chest as he runs. Soon, the pain is too great... he begins to transform! A time-lapsed shot later and we have the hairy wolfman version of Paul Naschy. Reeking of wolf-stink and man-sex, he sets off in search of prey. He doesn't have to go far. Three bandits have made a camp near some boulders. Using one of the boulders as a launching spot, Waldemar executes one of the most stunning leap attacks in the long, awesome history of leap attacks! Very quickly the bandits are reduced to bloody messes.


Ladies and gentlemen: The Leap Attack

We flash over to the rescue party, who seem to have made their camp in the middle of some snowless woods. The ever-changing environment in this movie brought me no end of mirth. One moment it's a blizzard, the next sunny and green. The rescue party is growing increasingly nervous, as they begin to hear howls in the distance. Sylvia thinks this would be the perfect time to go for an evening stroll. One of the other researchers tries to force himself on her, but Waldemar jumps out and rips out the dude's throat!

The campers go to investigate, and while they are away Tiger gets knifed by his own men, who are "crazy with fear" he says, dying. The researchers break camp the next day, only to be ambushed by a large party of bandits. It turns out they all answer to Sekkar Khan, a local warlord who lives high in the mountains inside a fortress. The surviving members of the rescue party are carted off to meet him.

Meanwhile, Waldemar wakes up covered in leaves wondering what the fuck he's been up to for the last 8 hours. The girl Sylvia is passed out next to him. He gathers her up and they set off looking for the rest of the party. They find one of the members that the bandits left behind, impaled on a pike. With his dying breath he lets them know that the others have been taken to Sekkar Khan's Fortress of Solitude. We cut to said fortress and see Sekkar Khan undergoing treatment for sores on his back. I'm going to assume syphilis. His head wench informs him that a doctor is among the rescue party, so hope for new treatment abounds.

Meanwhile, Waldemar and Sylvia happen upon a monastery out in the middle of nowhere. It is inhabited by an old monk-like guy and his mute friend. The old man knows Waldemar's "condition" and helps him by chaining him to a tree. This doesn't hold Waldemar, however, when the moon is bright and the wolfbane blooms. Tearing the tree apart, wolfy Naschy sets off, happening upon a bandit on horseback. Executing yet another awesome leap attack, he lands squarely on the horse, right behind the rider!

Back at the monastery, the monk informs Sylvia that she should use a rare red bloom from a flower that only grows high in the mountains if she wants to save Waldemar. Or, stab him with this handy silver dagger I just happen to have! The monk gives her the knife and wishes her well. Waldemar comes back from his beastly foray to find the monk and his mute friend dead, and Sylvia hostage. Waldemar, in his weakened state, is taken hostage as well.


"I'm... too sexy for these chains."

They are both taken back to Sekkar Khan's fortress. Waldemar is chained up in a cell, while some captive women are disrobed and beaten. Soon it becomes clear that this new medicinal remedy for Sekkar Khan's back involves the harvesting of skin off the girls to be grafted onto his back. It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again! Was she a great big fat person? At any rate, Sekkar Khan skins his humps.

Waldemar watches this happen with barely contained rage, and utters a fabulous line that I must quote: "The full moon has always filled me with fear, but now I wish it would come, so that I could destroy you!!" Meanwhile, Sylvia is put in with the other women, one of which discovers her secret silver dagger. They use this to kill the guard and escape. They find the head witch, who they also kill, but not before she utters another immortal line: "I'll have you killed, you bitches!"

Waldemar hooks back up with Sylvia, and they start to make their escape. However, Sekkar Khan has other plans! This kicks off one of the most well choreographed fights in Naschy film history! Waldemar executes several leap attacks, as well as a flying kick, all into the skull of Sekkar Khan, who finally falls into a spiked pit, which upon their inspection, also contains the corpse of the professor! The finally flee the castle, whereupon Waldemar informs Sylvia that they must go their separate ways, as it's becoming dark, and he's about to turn.


Ladies and gentlemen: The Flying Kick

And turn he does! Sylvia doesn't make it very far before Waldemar is in full wolf-out mode. Suddenly, a yeti attacks Sylvia! Her screams draw Waldemar like a siren song, and soon another epic battle is taking place. The yeti, however, is no match for Waldemar, and soon has its throat bitten out. Unlucky for Waldemar, however, the yeti gets in a final swipe, which proves to be devastating. At the last moment, Sylvia spots the fabled red bloom flower, which she takes a petal from, and, mixing it with her own blood, heals Waldemar for good! Together they walk off, hand-in-hand, into the snowy sunrise.

Friends, this movie is fan-fucking-tastic. It has everything we know and love about Paul Naschy films, and it cranks it all up to 11 and beyond. Love leap attacks? This movie is full of them! Love Paul's pecs? Pull up a chair! I can scarcely believe the amount of win this movie contains. Yeti scalps, Tibetan folk music, cannibalistic cave-dwelling bitches, I could go on and on. Suffice it to say that if you are a fan of this site at all, you should hunt down a copy of this movie post haste. Three Huge Thumbs Up.


"For great justice!!!"

MORE MADNESS...

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