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NOVEMBER 29th to DECEMBER 3rd, 2010

"I would write that Paul Naschy had at least done his best and that he cared about what he was doing.
I was capable of mistakes - to do it well or to do it poorly -
but I assure you is that I did it with feeling and affection.  I love the fantastic cinema."
Paul Naschy on himself

On November 30th in 2009, horror fans lost one of the last true icons of fantastic cinema, Jacinto Molina, better known to us as Paul Naschy.  With a film career spanning over 40 years, and being a huge horror fan himself, he was one that I have always admired.  He worked in this genre not because it was popular or to make money, but because he loved it.  He was one of us.  And it showed in his work.
    His passing really hit hard with me.  So when I heard about this Blogathon idea a few years ago, I thought it was a great way for his fans to show that his memory and his legacy will not die, will not be forgotten, and that he really has become immortal to us fans.  And how knows, maybe we’ll even get a few new fans to join the celebration of a horror icon that was…sorry…that IS Paul Naschy.

To check out more entries from other bloggers, head over to Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Movies by clicking HERE.

 

One of the things I planned for my Week of Naschy, is to post a review of sorts of one of my favorites of his each night this week.  But before I get to the first movie, I wanted to show off a couple posters that I had gotten this year, one of which was one that I had been looking for years.  I’d seen it a couple of times, but was way too expensive for my blood.  But I finally was able to score one in a trade.  Oddly enough, it was for a VHS tape of Naschy’s FURY OF THE WOLFMAN.  Go figure.  As you can see in this photo, it is the posters for WEREWOLF VS THE VAMPIRE WOMEN on the left, and then the very special 3-D release poster for FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR (aka MARK OF THE WOLFMAN) on the right.  That poster was immediately framed when I got it and has stayed there on the wall since then.  It’s one of my favorites.  Just love the old fashion artwork and ad campaign that was used for films like this.  Definitely one of my favorites in my collection.

Okay…enough about that.  Let’s get to the movies.  I am never one to have an all time favorite film or even list.  There are just too many to even think of something like that.  Even getting it down to a Top Ten is impossible for me.  So why I decided to name my Top Five Favorite Naschy Films is beyond me.  Granted, these just might change over the years, but this is what I could come up with right now.  I figured that during this Naschy Blogathon, I will post my thoughts on one of these movies each day, from Monday the 29th to Friday the 3rd.  Granted, this are in no particular order, other than by the date they were made.  So please read and enjoy, and most of all, please get to know this master of the macabre, this true fan of fantastic cinema who made it his life’s work to continue to do what he loved.  While he may be gone from this world, his work lives on and he will never be forgotten.

Our first pick is LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE-LOBO, more commonly known in the states as either MARK OF THE WOLFMAN or FRANENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR.  As the story goes, our young Jacinto Molina was trying to make it in the film industry and had written a screenplay, based on one his favorite monster characters, the cursed wolfman.  The screenplay was sold, the movie was going to be made, but they just couldn’t find the right person to play the lead role of Waldemar Daninsky.  Molina was suggested by one of the producers, but would have to change his name to a more “sellable” one.  So a legend was born that day.  And his name was Paul Naschy.

The film did really well in the outlying areas of Spain, enough so for them to continue the story of this cursed soul.  A few years later, when Independent International was looking for a Frankenstein film that they had already pre-sold, Sam Sherman bought the US distribution rights for it, but added a little animated intro about a creature called Wolf-stein, and re-titled it FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR!  Pure promotional genius, something that we don’t see much anymore.

 Anyway, our young hero, who is actually kind of a jerk in the beginning, makes a play for a young countess, who is already involved with another man.  But it doesn’t stop them from falling in love.  While out hunting for a wild animal that has been responsible for some slaughtered animals, Daninsky is attacked by this creature, which turns out to be a werewolf.  Once he realizes he has been cursed and will turn into a beast during the next full moon, his friends try to get him help.  They contact a doctor who says he has a cure for Waldemar, but as it turns out, this doctor and his wife are not what they seem, but definitely have other plans.

The great thing about this movie is that it is a monster movie.  No way around it.  You have 2 werewolves and 2 vampires running around in one movie!  How could you lose?  Besides, one of the best things that I’ve always loved about Naschy and his werewolf films is his interpretation is much more physical than we’d seen before, except maybe Oliver Reed’s amazing performance in Hammer’s CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF.  His werewolf was running around, jumping onto and off of things, and when he grabbed his victims, we knew it was going to hurt!  The other thing is that Naschy always played up the tragic pathos with his werewolf films.  He made you feel sorry for this man that is struggling with this immortal curse.

Of course, filling his films with blood, gore, and a bountiful stream of naked young women sure didn’t hurt either.  But that is just me.  Naschy always gave his fans a great, good old fashion monster movie.  And for that, we are still grateful for it, even to this day.


DAY 2 - Naschy Blogathon - Tuesday

For Day Two of our entry in the Naschy Blogathon, before we get to our next movie, we have another photo of some of our collection.  Up until recently, we had a dedicated corner of our movie room to the Blind Dead movies of Amando de Ossorio.  But now, we have changed that to highlight our favorite hombre lobo.  Here's a photo of said corner, that features poster art for MARK OF THE WOLFMAN, CURSE OF THE DEVIL, a lobby card for NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF, and Naschy artwork from Putrid and Chris Kuchta.

Now onto the next film in our Top Five Naschy flicks  This time we are going with the 1972 film HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE.  Continuing his use of creating a very sympathetic character, Naschy gave us a poor hunchback character named Gotho, who works at the hospital, but is mistreated by most of the people in town.  Children throw rocks at him while adults look at him with either disgust or hatred.  He is in love with a young woman in the hospital who is dying.  Once she dies, he attacks two morgue attendants that are trying to steal from her body, not to mention making fun of her dead corpse.  He brutally murders both men, and steals her body and keeps it in a hidden cavern underneath the city.  It is his deep love he has for this dying girl that a mad doctor uses to get Gotho to do his dirty work for him.  This doctor is trying to continue his experiments that are against the law, not to mention good ethics.  But like all good mad scientists, that is of little heed to him.

With a false promise to bring his dead friend back to life, Gotho is made to steal bodies, and other such evil things.  But all the way, we know he is doing it to bring his love back to life.  So there is not a moment in this movie where we don’t feel his pain and anguish and just plain heartbreak.  Added to the way he is treated by society, we are all behind him when he has to kill.

The beauty of this movie is that we have this tragic character that has found himself working for his scientist who we soon realize is your classic mad doctor, wanting to achieve his goals at any cost.  We have gore, we have nudity, and we have a screaming mad giant turd monster that unfortunately we only get to see at the very end.

     

Though, we will give a little warning to those die hard animal lovers.  There is a sequence were some sewer rats were actually set on fire in the film.  As the story goes, they needed rats for a scene where Gotho comes down to his hidden cavern, to find his dead girlfriend covered in live rats.  He starts yelling at them, knocking them off of her body.  They start to fight back, which included what looked like Naschy getting pelted from rats being thrown at him from off camera.  According to his recollection, they could jump that high.  But none the less, he then sets said rats on fire, where you see them running away, completely engulfed in flames.  Naschy suffered a few bites from these creatures, which would have been worse had he not been wearing protection.

None the less, this is one of Naschy’s best performances.  In fact, at the International Festival of Paris, he won the Georges Méliès Award for best actor at the International Festival of Paris.  The movie was released on video years ago, but under the title RUE MORGUE MASSACRES, and much like the corpses in the movie, it was cut severely.  But thankfully, a couple of years ago, it was released here in the states on a beautiful looking DVD.


DAY 3 - Naschy Blogathon - Wednesday

For Day Three, I’ll be discussing the very first Naschy film that I seen…..the one that sucked me right into this amazing world of Paul Naschy.  And I have never stopped watching, searching, and definitely enjoying.  I will also be reminiscing over making the long trip to New York to meet this icon.

Many years ago, in my early days of becoming a serious student of the genre, I was always looking to discover new sub-genres to discover.  Through my researches, I had come across the name Paul Naschy a few times.  A very good friend of mine that I traded movies with was a huge fan of this guy.  So I asked him to send me what he thought was his best movie.  Of course, like all good movie fans, it’s hard to pick just one, and he sent me two of his movies.  One of them, which happened to be the first one I watched, was the 1973 film HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB.

In this film, Naschy plays modern day guy who contacts an ancient dead relative in a séance, and discovers where his body…and his head are buried.  See, this is no ordinary ancestor, but that of infamous Alaric de Marnac, an evil, devil-worshipping, murderer who was executed for his crimes.  And to make sure that he didn’t return from the grave, his head and body were buried separately.  But thanks to his future ancestor, it looks like his time will come once again.

With this movie, Naschy brought together so many different elements.  From evil warlocks, to zombies, headless corpses (not to mention a corpse-less head!), we get a tons of horror fun.  Alaric de Marnac’s undead companion, who also is revived from the dead, is played by the gorgeous Helga Liné, who started in a few Naschy movies, as well as plenty of other Spanish horror films.  As her and de Marnac get stronger and more powerful, can anybody stop this ancient evil?

With this film, I was immediately a fan of this Naschy guy.  Such a good old fashion horror film that gives us fans what they want: gore, nudity, fun and interesting plot, great locations, and definitely something you were not going to see in your typical American films.  After seeing this, I made it a top priority to see as many of his films as I could and to learn more and more about this guy who really should have been a huge star by then.  I started to look for any and all of his movies that I could come across, in whatever quality I could get a hold of.  So many great ones out there just waiting to be discovered.

 

  

In 1998, Fangoria’s Weekend of Horrors was going to have Naschy as a guest at their New York show.  I knew that I was going to make the trip out there for that, no matter what.  So making the 18+ hour van ride from Chicago to New York, just to meet this icon, was more than worth the sleep deprivation.  I remember sitting during the Q&A session that he was doing with an interrupter, and just couldn’t believe that the man that had made (and still was making) all those incredible movies was right there.  There are very few horror celebrities that I have met over the years that I would really consider an icon.  Naschy is one of them.  So below are some photos from the convention that I took.

   

  

     

Also, while at the show, I stumbled upon a magazine that while in the lobby.  I started to page through it and noticed it wasn’t in English.  I almost set it back down before a page caught my eye.  Believe it or not, but there was an article on Paul Naschy in it!  And the best part, there was a page of photos of Naschy and his films, in many different characters that he had played over the years.  Of course, the magazine came with me.  So I have scanned in the photo collage and have posted it below.  ENJOY!


DAY 4 - Naschy Blogathon - Thursday

Once again, today I’m going to talk about another one of my Top Five Favorite Naschy flicks.  This film is best known here in the states as NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST.  For the longest time, this one was my favorite of Naschy’s werewolf films.  You’ll have to wait until Friday to discover what has replaced it.  But before we get to today’s film coverage, I want to talk a little about a couple of things that I have done over the last year to honor this great man.

Besides running this site, I also write for HorrorHound magazine, and have been since issue #16.  But before my official column started, I had pitched them an idea of writing an article on Naschy, sort of an introduction to the man and his work to the general public, and fill it with artwork from his posters and other memorabilia.  This was early in 2009.  They loved the idea, since they were going to be working on a Wolfman issue to tie in with the release of the new remake with Benicio Del Toro that was due out in the fall.  So I wrote the article, got photos of the poster art and every done.  Ready to go.  Then the remake got pushed back from October 2009 until February of 2010.  Okay…no worries.  We can wait a little longer.  Then it got pushed back again, until the fall of 2010.  But when it was finally going to happen, a very short time before it was going to press, I got the phone call from a friend with the news that Naschy had passed away.  I had been so excited to have this article published, so I could send him a copy to show him that his legacy is still going strong, only to hear this terrible news.

I still had time to add a little memorial tribute to him to add to the article before it did go to press.  I can still remember sitting at my computer writing that extra piece, while outside in the clear night sky, a huge full moon shined brightly.  Ironic?  Or just a little nod to show me and the world that no matter what, this man’s legend, his legacy, will be as immortal has his character Waldemar Daninsky.  Because of his movies, and because of fans like us, he will never be forgotten.

And because I wanted to help keep that memory alive, I came up with another idea.  I’ve been going to horror conventions for over 20 years.  During that time, I’ve picked up tons of different horror T-shirts.  But I had never seen one that had Naschy on there.  So I was determined to correct that.  I commissioned an original piece of artwork from the amazingly talented artist Putrid to come up with a design of Naschy and his most beloved hairy character, the werewolf.  And the below artwork is what came out of that discussion.  But alas, before I could get the shirts printed, the fine folks at Fright-Rags unveiled their own Naschy design.  Was I upset they beat me to the punch?  HELL NO!  I was so tickled they had wanted the same thing I did, I quickly ordered one of them.  Eventually my shirt came to be, and I wear it proudly.  Once again, whatever we can do as fans, to not only make sure that Naschy’s legend lives on, but also to pass on that love his work to new fans.  That will definitely keep it going.

Okay…onto our film review.  Yesterday, I mentioned that my buddy had sent me two Naschy films to help introduce me to his work.  The first one was HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB.  The other film was NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST.  This was another one of his many films where Naschy plays Waldemar Daninsky, who is cursed by the mark of the werewolf.  This film has plenty of different titles, which made it harder to figure out which movie you had seen or looking for.  The original Spanish title is LA MALDICION DE LA BESTIA.  But one of the more common other titles was THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI.  Yes, there is a Yeti in the film, so it’s not that far-fetched.

This was Naschy 8th outing as Daninsky, each time reinventing his character and how he becomes cursed.  That was the beauty of his werewolf movies.  You didn’t have to watch them in any certain sequence since they all stood on their own.  But this one was a little different, especially the way it ends, but we don’t want to give anything away in case you haven’t seen it.  Up until recently, this was my favorite of Naschy’s werewolf films.  It had everything!  As always, Naschy’s performance as the beast is action packed and filled with snarling looks and jumping attacks.  Naschy actually won Best Actor Award for his performance in this film at the 1975 Sitges Film Festival.  But the plot around our hairy friend is even better.

While in the mountains of Tibet, his with a team of researchers that are looking for the Yeti.  Naschy ends up getting lost in the snowy mountains and wanders around aimlessly.  He soon finds a cave to take shelter, only to find two lovely women that are more than welcome to keep him warm.  He soon finds out that they are not ordinary women, especially when one of them bites him.  He eventually escapes, but the damage has been done from the bite.  And the coming full moon, he will find out just how much.

Like a lot of Naschy’s movies, this is packed full of everything.  Not only do you have the werewolf running around, but you also have the pair of cannibalistic witches living in the mounting.  You have the demented Khan, who kidnaps women to skin alive to help with a skin condition that he has!  And yes, eventually, you have the fight between the Yeti and the werewolf.

Unfortunately, this movie has never gotten a DVD release yet here in the states, and the best print you can find is from the Super Video VHS release.  But good luck finding one of those.  So we can all hope that one day soon, we’ll get the news that there will be a cleaned up pristine print coming out on Blu-ray.  We can all hope, right?


DAY 5 - Naschy Blogathon - Friday

Before we get into our last review for this Nashcy Blogathan, we just wanted to say how great it was to not only be a part of this, but also for the huge outpouring of posts and input from Naschy fans out there.  I think everyone was pretty amazed at how many people were sending in stuff on a daily basis.  Really gives me hope that Naschy’s legend will live on and on and that each day another person will discover his work and become a fan.  And a huge thanks to the Vicar and Mad Mad Mad Mad Movies for running this Naschy Blogathan.  It was a great idea and was thrilled to see it be so successful.  Okay…on to our review.

One of the fun and sometimes frustrating thing about Naschy’s films is that they have often been re-titled over and over again.  So trying to find a certain movie, sometimes you’re not sure which version you need to look for.  This one is a prime example of that.  The original title of the film is EL RETORNO DEL HOMBRE-LOBO.  When it was released in theaters and on video here in the states, it had been re-titled as THE CRAVING.  But it has also been released as RETURN OF THE WOLFMAN, and more recently on DVD, and even on blu-ray, as NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF.

In 1971, Naschy wrote and starred in LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS (aka WEREWOLF SHADOW, BLOOD MOON, and WEREWOLF VS THE VAMPIRE WOMEN).  It was the story of a some young women looking of the tomb of the Countess Wandessa, thought to be a murderous vampire/devil worshipper in medieval times.  Along the way, they meet up with our favorite werewolf, Waldemar Daninsky.  While the film was a big success, Naschy wasn’t entirely happy with the end product.  So ten years later, he wrote, starred, and this time even directed EL RETORNO DEL HOMBRE-LOBO himself.

It is pretty much the same story, thought this one has a prolog that explains a little bit more about the characters of the Countess and Daninsky.  But we have three young women that are searching for the tomb of the Countess, though this time, one of the women has a very darker and more personal reason behind their quest.  Along the way, they are helped by a strange and mysterious man, who calls himself Waldemar.  Before too long, the screen is filled with plenty of blood, nudity, vampires, a Blind Dead-ish servant, and of course, everyone’s favorite werewolf.

The make up for this one was done by Angel Luis de Diego, and I think is the best out of the series.  The look is incredible….fierce, terrifying, and very realistic.  As usual, Naschy throws himself into the role and gives an amazing performance.  Julia Saly portrays the undead Countess and is perfect for the role.  Her eyes alone help bring out the evil in her character.

This was the film that took over the spot of my favorite Naschy werewolf film, pushing NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST down to number 2.  The look of the film, the many different characters, everything, just came together just right this time out and made an incredibly fun film to watch.

Long Live Waldemar Daninsky, and Long Live Paul Naschy!