Movie Fan Man: Cinema Connoisseur

Traditional, Artsy, Genre-Within-Genre: A Little Something for Everyone

Hallow’s Eve Greetings

from Tony Nash

To all my Followers, those I’m Following, all Curious Onlookers


As a little treat to everyone on this Spooky Day, let me share with you my fan cast and crew for a dream Horror Anthology based on the short stories of Edgar Allan Poe that’ll never be made, but would’ve been interesting had it been. I hope you all enjoy my choice of actors, writers, and directors.

Synopsis: A trio of crooks hide out in a library where they hear tales of the macabre by Poe from the sinister caretaker. Soon they’ll prefer the safety of the police waiting outside.

Racconti di Strani e Soprannaturali

(Tales of the Strange & Supernatural)

Boris Karloff: W.H. Opel, the Librarian (Storia della Struttura)

Vincent Price: The Murderer (segment: Il Diavoletto del Perverso)

Paul Naschy: Count Egaeus (segment: Berenice)

Michael Dunn: Hop Frog (segment: Hop-Frog)

Robert Hossein: The Artist (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale)

Rosalba Neri: Countess Berenice (segment: Berenice)

Maria Perschy: The Artist’s Wife (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale)

Luigi Pistilli: Frank Donalds (Storia della Struttura)

Roberto Camardiel: The King (segment: Hop-Frog)

Vonetta McGee: Trippetta (segment: Hop-Frog)

Piero Lulli: The Inspector (segment: Il Diavoletto del Perverso)

Claudio Camaso: Dan Bonnard  (Storia della Struttura)

Nello Pazzafini: Brock Bonnard (Storia della Struttura)

Eduardo Calvo: The Doctor (segment: Berenice)

Jean-Marc Bory: The Lost Motorist (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale)

Written by: Tony Nash (Storia della Strutturra), Lucio Fulci (segment: Il Diavoletto del Perverso), Mario Bava (segment: Hop-Frog), Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina) (segment: Berenice) Robert Hossein (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale), Fabrizio De Angelis (Storia della Strutturra), Amando de Ossorio (segment: Berenice), Roberto Gianviti (segment: Il Diavoletto del Perverso), Claude Desailly (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale), Marcello Fondato (segment: Hop-Frog), & Mario Serandrei (segment: Hop-Frog)

Based on the Stories by Edgar Allan Poe

Produced by: Tony Nash & Fabrizio de Angelis

Directed by: Mario Bava (segment: Hop-Frog), Lucio Fulci (segment: Il Davioletto del Perverso), Robert Hossein (segment: Il Ritratto Ovale), Amandeo de Ossorio (segment: Berenice), & Fabrizio de Angelis (Storia della Strutturra)









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The Top Ten Mummy Kills

by Tony Nash

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Spoilers ahead)

Hello to my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors. With the Euro Witches & Madmen Halloween Special finished, I was racking my brain with what to do for Monday before the final Wednesday post, and I found something I’m sure will be fascinating. On both YouTube and WordPress I’ve seen people discussing their favorite Slasher kills, and normally I stear clear of such lists because I tend to have trouble narrowing stuff down, but here I’m making an exception because I’m sticking to the four Mummy films made by Hammer studios. While the Universal Mummy films and the Mummy films starring Brendan Frasher are cool, the death scenes are either too ordinary or too fantasique, Hammer’s scenes often being creative and/or set perfectly to the right mood or tone.


10. Joseph Whemple (Raymond Huntley) in The Mummy (1959)

While a good music cue adds to the overall effect of the scene’s scare and eerie factor, the strangulation scene happens just way too fast. Mr. Huntley doesn’t even get the opportunity to show being scarred a Mummy has come back to life and is killed too fast.

9. Stephen Banning (Felix Aylmer) in The Mummy (1959)

The head of the expedition responsible for the resurrection of a murderous Mummy should usually have a befitting death scene, and while Mr. Banning is certainly given such, nothing extra ordinary happens. While the asylum strangulation scene most likely offered inspiration for many an 80’s Slasher film, that the character forgets an important item that would’ve helped his son find his killers leaves the scene a little cold.

8. Stanley Preston (John Philips) in The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)

When the man responsible for the archeological expedition also happens to be the most unlikable jerk on screen, his death scene would certainly be one that would leave audiences actually cheering the Mummy snuffed him out. Audiences most certainly aren’t sad to see the character of Preston get killed, but that all he gets is his head bashed into the side of a wall is a little subpar and maybe a little underwhelming for the slick dirty dealings he pulled. John Philips still plays the scene well either way, and his getting spit on at the end adds a little.

7. Hashmi Bey (George Pastell) in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)

Now what makes this scene interesting is that the victim actually asks to be killed. Bey is a loyal subject of Egypt and feels so traitorous in helping the British foreigners defile the tombs of the Pharaohs that he chooses to have his family become synonymous with dirt and suffer a painful death. The Mummy gets quite unique with his style of execution by using his foot to crush Bey’s head and neck. A well done and welcome different scene.

6. Mr. Longbarrow (Michael Ripper) in The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)

What makes this kill scene a bit more tragic than the rest on the list is that the fellow getting killed was truly a victim of circumstances. Longbarrow’s only connection to the tomb is his being the secretary of the man financing the expedition. The Mummy gets really physical with Michael Ripper’s character and wraps him up in his bedsheets, then promptly throws him out of a window where his skull smashes on the ground. Ripper gives quite the good death scene ravings as he shouts for help and begs for mercy.

5. Adam Beauchamp/Prince Beal (Terence Morgan) in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)

What happens when you learn the guy you thought was the brooding anti-hero of the film turns out to be the Mummy’s evil brother who was cursed to live forever for the act of fratricide? One of the better climaxes to a well paced and generally entertaining movie. The revelation does come out of left field, but does make sense when audiences learn the whole story of The Mummy’s death. Terence Morgan’s character was the only one in the franchise to suffer death via being held down and drowned by a Mummy, which did prove to be very inventive and interesting.

4. Sir Basil Walden (Andre Morell) in The Mummy’s Shroud (1967)

Veteran British character actor Andre Morell gets to be the first victim of the third film in The Mummy franchise. His death scene is the earliest instance in the genre of the Mummy crushing someone’s head with its bare hands. The camera beginning with Morell’s head being grasped and then panning up as The Mummy slowly and methodically squeezes the head to mush is very effective as it leaves audiences wondering how terrible the end result was of such a death.

3. Sir Giles Dalrymple (Jack Gwillim) in The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb (1964)

This scene is one of the more chilling deaths within the franchise. Like with the Andre Morell, the actual kill is never seen, but the implication is just as frightening. The Sir Giles character suffers death by bludgeoning with a statue. That the film music just stops as does actor Gwillim’s cries for help after the first blow and all that’s heard for the next three strikes is the Mummy’s unearthly breathing is truly unsettling and effective.

2. (Multiple ties) Geoffrey Danbridge (Hugh Burden), Helen Dickerson (Rosalie Crutchley), Prof. Berigan (George Clourouris), and the Three Priests (Unnamed Extras) in Blood From the Mummy’s Tomb) (1971)

Whew, talk about true powers of darkness at work in this one. Director Seth Holt mixed unique editing and camera angles as he shows the members of an expedition being killed one by one by supernatural means with throat wounds similar to that of jackal bites. Probably the most eerie kills in any Mummy style film.

1. Mehemet Bey (George Pastell) in The Mummy (1959)

Yes ladies and gents, this is my all time favorite kill in Hammer’s Mummy franchise. The Religious Zealot determined to uphold the curse of his native land ends up having the tables turned on him. Not realizing the hero’s wife bears a striking resemblance to the ancient princess he is to protect, the evil Bey suffers a quite painful death of having his back broken and his spine severed. Quite an ironic ending for the man who wanted to destroy the foreign infidels who he believed had no respect for his land and culture.

I hope this list matches the quality of other lists elsewhere and that everyone found it interesting.

All images are courtesy of Images and their respective owners

Please check out my reviews in my Halloween section for more in depth looks at the films



Filed under: Film: Special Topics, Uncategorized

A Madman With Depth

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen #6 and Finale)

(all opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild to No Spoilers)

(This review is of the French language version)

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Gritos en la Noche (l’Horrible Docteur Orloff/The Awful Dr. Orloff/Screams in the Night) (1962) ***** R

Conrado San Martin: Inspector Edgar Tanner

Diana Lorys: Wanda Bronsky/Melissa Orloff

Howard Vernon: Doctor Orloff

Venancio Muro: Jean “Jeannot” Rousseau

Perla Cristal: Arne

Mara Laso: Irma Gold

Ricardo Valle: Morpho Lodner

Fernando Montes: Malou (as Fernando C. Montes)

Maria Silva: Dany (as Mary Silvers)

Felix Dafauce: The Chief Inspector

Written & Directed by: Jesus Franco (story credit as David Khune)

Synopsis: Orloff, a once promising doctor, goes mad after his daughter is horribly scarred after an accident. Using an insane killer he re-animated from the dead as his henchman, Orloff begins kidnapping and killing young women for their skin to restore his daughter’s beauty. When the investigating inspector’s actress/dancer girlfriend senses she bears a resemblance to someone Orloff finds important, she secretly assumes the identity of a street wanderer to capture him.

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Docteur Orloff was the first successful film of Jess Franco before he turned to exploitation filmmaking. While he did some fairly standard genre cinema work already, and was noticed by some studios for his work as an assistant for his friend Orson Welles, this was Franco’s first opportunity to tell a story his own way. Inspired by Georges Franju’s seminal entry in the Euro Horror genre Les Yuex Sans Visage (Eyes Without a Face), a controversial film in its own right for one of the earliest realistic looking face surgery gore scenes, Franco concocts his own interpretation of a doctor so driven by desperation to save his daughter that he forgoes rationality and humanity in order to complete his task. Franco doesn’t go to the same extremes as Franju at this period of his career, but his usage of contrasting light and shadow gives of the same uneasiness as Franju’s original. Mixing Murder Mystery, Police Procedural, Horror, and a little Science Fiction, Franco shows in his earliest major studio film effort that he was a talent that could go far if given the time, patience, and chances.

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What easily sets this apart as Franco’s earliest efforts as an auteur is the lack of hallucinatory imagery and all-around bizarreness that make up a Franco film. It’s very from the start that Franco was still getting his feet wet as a filmmaker and was still finding his style and flare. Elements like beautiful women, spontaneous nudity, sexually aggressive maniacs, and mad geniuses are already in place, but not to the degree that would become Franco’s eventual trademark.

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Howard Vernon, who became one of Franco’s favorite regular actors, gives one of his finest performances in the role of Dr. Orloff himself. What makes this incarnation of Orloff different and memorable is that he’s not entirely an evil villain. He was once a fairly dedicated doctor trying to help inmates reform at the many prisons he worked in. When a tragic accident in his lab resulted in his beautiful daughter being scarred for life, Orloff goes out of his mind with grief and dispair, leading him to commit horrid acts of violence to save her. At first he only goes after prostitutes believing no one would really miss them, but when one of the victims turns out to be a singer trying to care for her ailing mother that he goes too far and the police soon on his tail. That he has moments of regret and remorse shows he could possibly be redeemed, but because he presses forward, even the woman he loves can’t convince him his daughter can never be who she was.

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Conrado San Martin & Diana Lorys, two of Spain and Mexico’s finest in B film leads and character parts elsewhere, do fine jobs in their respective roles of Tanner and Wanda. Tanner for the most part is the generic cop hero, but hasn’t let the hurdles with the job get his spirits too down. When he meets the beautiful actress/dancer Wanda, his resolve to be a good detective heightens and goes into his new case with the utmost determination. Wanda is a highly intelligent performer, very rare for the period, and uses her talents in helping her fiancé the cop go after the killer. Diana Lorys became the first example of Franco’s independent free thinking woman, as smart as she was pretty..

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While still on a low budget scale, Franco had the kind of liberty and creative freedom he wanted and was able to film the way he saw the project looking. Having a cast of noted actors at his disposal in his early career also helped the film along, showing it wasn’t amateur by any means, that the creators could do a good project. Franco’s friends at Eurocine would keep a working relationship with the man going for over twenty years, and while his results to them were a mixed bag, he always delivered when they asked him to.

(This film, along with Docteur Z, are the two Franco films people will want to start with if they’re unsure of checking him out. While lacking a good bit of the trademark styles Franco is noted for, fans can still find stuff to enjoy, and will see Franco experiment with the styles that would later play major roles in his work. The Blu Ray from Redemption Films in conjunction with Kino is very good, though the negative has some noticeable damage that couldn’t be fixed. This in no way hinders the enjoyment of the film and actually gives it a classic feel of a theater revival or drive-in experience. Overall the film is a must in quality and extras.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Music to Soothe the Soul… Give to The Devil

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen Intermission 3)

(Mild to Major Spoilers)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(This review is of the premiere Italian language version)

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Paganini Horror (1989) ***1/2 R

Daria Nicolodi: Sylvia Hackett

Jasmine Maimone: Kate, the Singer (as Jasmine Main)

Maria Cristina Mastrangeli: Lavinia, the Producer

Donald Pleasence: Mr. Pickett

Michel Klippstein: Elena, the Lead Guitarist

Pascal Persiano: Daniel, the Drummer

Pietro Genuardi: Mark Singer, the Director

Luana Ravegnini: Rita, the Bass Guitarist

Roberto Giannini: The Ghost of Niccolò Paganini

Written by: Luigi Cozzi & Daria Nicolodi, from a story by Raimondo Del Bazo (as Raimondo Bazo)

Directed by: Luigi Cozzi

Synopsis: To save a female rock trio’s career, their temporary male drummer pays a large sum of money to a mysterious man for violinist Niccolò Paganini’s presumed lost only unpublished manuscript. The piece is believed to be the one Paganini wrote to sell his soul to Satan with, and that Paganini’s soul was cursed to remain in after death. When the trio and their producer decide to record the music with new lyrics, Paganini’s Ghost rises and begins stalking the group, also opening the Gates of Hell.

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In the late 1980’s, Italian Indie filmmaker Luigi Cozzi was looking to change up from his smaller budget efforts of the last several years and make something that harkened back to his debut effort l’Assassino e Costretto ad Uccidere Ancora (The Killer Must Kill Again).What he came up with was a story of a female rock band whose backup male drummer stumbles across a piece of music penned by the violinist Niccolò Paganini. Playing up the legend Paganini had sold his soul for the intense talent he became famous for, Paganini was to rise from the grave to torment the people stealing his creation. His initial script for Paganini Horror was much more intricate and were going to include more special effects. When the original producer took off for whatever the reason and the initial budget fell through, Fabrizio De Angelis, known himself for low budget fun schlock films, decided to give Cozzi a hand, but told him the script would have to altered and many of the effects dumped to fit the budget he was able to allocate. The result is a little clunky, but still offers many of the thrills and chills Cozzi liked using.

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What Cozzi couldn’t do in the effects and story departments, he made up for with the locations. Many of the outdoor scenes were shot on location in the city of Venice, including the house where Paganini once lived. Cozzi shows both the beauty of Venice, and the dark secrets that some of its past residents, including Paganini himself, probably still have locked away in all the old buildings and homes of the city. Cozzi wasn’t able to use many locations, the few he was able to get he could only use briefly, but he does make well use of all of them, especially the Paganini home.

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The two biggest names in the film are Daria Nicolodi and Donald Pleasence. Nicolodi was primarily famous for being the muse and live-in girlfriend of filmmaker Dario Argento and mother to controversial actress Asia Argento. Her role as Sylvia Hackett is the very standard knowledgeable, but still fairly skeptical owner of a supposedly haunted house. While she’s very familiar with the legends associated to Paganini in regards to his dealings in Satanic rituals, she seemingly regards them as just that, legends. It isn’t until bizarre things begin to plague the musicians and the film crew, that even she begins to believe the tales she told have some truth to them. Pleasence was a very well noted respected character actor from England who did major films and “B” films throughout the 1950’s to the 1970’s. After his appearance in John Carpenter’s original Halloween, Pleasence began working primarily in Horror for the remainder of his career, only getting the occasional break with a non-Horror role. His role as the mysterious Mr. Pickett harkens back to the traditional ally of the Devil, or someone under the Devil’s thumb and control, as he sets in motion the Horror that plagues the innocent rockers, their manager, and their friends.

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The majority of the cast are made up of unknowns, but the standout performance of the unknowns is Jasmine Maimone, credited in the film as Jasmine Main. While not in the film industry a long time at the time of her appearance, Maimone did display all the musts for a solid career in acting. Her character Kate is a talented artist who has hit a wall in creativity with her songs. While not desperate for a hit, her producer insists she won’t have time to get her groove back if she doesn’t come up with a hit soon. Believing resurrecting the supposed lost work of Paganini will revive not only interest in the violinist, but her and her group as well, Kate is open to trying the melody. Realizing quickly after both her bassist and the drummer who showed her the music disappear and are believed dead that Paganini’s home houses his devilish spirit, Kate must find a way to save herself and the others from a similar terrible fate.

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(Author’s Note: Just to clear things up for anyone who loves classic violin pieces, and have some knowledge of Paganini, while there really was an urban legend that still floats around that Paganini sold his soul to the Devil for his fame, there is in fact no truth whatsoever that Paganini was a madman who performed Satanic rituals, and committed any murders. Paganini was what could be called a prodigy, and was extremely gifted in violin playing and writing/reading music. Today he would be called an eccentric in regard to his crazy onstage antics and personality, but it’s easy to see why the people of his era would have said he was possessed by something otherworldly or came off as demonic in his performances. Health issues and his artistic temperament is what eventually led to his decline in the music world, and his eventual death in near destitution from internal bleeding. That a priest couldn’t be summoned quick enough for the last rites is what led to his association with the Devil, that no priest would absolve him.)

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Luigi Cozzi offers some very impressive practical effects, moody lighting, all-around uneasy atmosphere while in Paganini’s home, and a general foreboding as events unfold, but the film still has its flaws. Many story points don’t make, and the motivations of the antagonists appear to be contrived or just simply too farfetched. The film doesn’t fall into the realm of a bad film, and while it does possess elements of the so bad its good film,  it is in fact competently made and  has some really clever concepts that unfortunately couldn’t be used to their fullest because of financial difficulties and little time the producer determined to save the film had in trying to secure enough that would be needed for the most generic of shooting schedules. What Cozzi ends up with in the end is a good story that is to be taken for what it is, and should be respected for its constant attempts at coherency and interest.

Spoilers: Don’t read first half if you haven’t seen the film)

(I’m gonna give this one a solid recommendation because it has all the hallmarks of a “so bad, it’s good” type of film, and it does have more to like about it than it does to hate. The only disappointment with the film to me was the ending. Now while I can totally the truth about Daria Nicolodi’s character being a mad killer making sense, Donald Pleasence being revealed as the Devil, and his motives just seem too far fetched. If anything, it seems like he’s passing preconceived judgments on people before they can be proven sinners or not, and is being just plain greedy in order to torment more souls for his wicked amusement. Only the Drummer had any preconceived notion of the piece’s curse, and the others weren’t even trying to sell the music as their original. I would recommend for viewers to stop the film after about an hour and 5 to 10 minutes, which allows for a reasonable ending. The Blu Ray from 88 Films is solid in its visual and audio transfers, the film looking like it could’ve been made and released recently. Save for a sudden change from Italian to English for only a couple seconds near the end, there’s nothing really negative to say in the presentation of the film.)

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Filed under: Film: Analysis/Overview, Film: Special Topics

Witches, Curses, & Revenge: The Ghost Child

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen #5)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild to Major Spoilers)

(This review is of the Italian language version)

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Operazione Paura (Operation Fear/Kill Baby, Kill) (1966) ***** PG-13

Giacomo Rossi Stuart: Dr. Paul Eswai (as Giacomo Rossi-Stuart)

Erika Blanc: Monica Schuftan

Fabienne Dali: Ruth the Sorceress (as Fabienne Dali’)

Piero Lulli: Kommissar Kruger

Valerio Valeri: Melissa Graps

Luciano Catenacci: Burgomeister Karl (as Max Lawrence)

Mirella Pamphili: Irena Hollander (as Mirella Panfili)

Giovanna Galletti: Baroness Graps

Written by: Romano Migliorini, Roberto Natale, & Mario Bava

Directed by: Mario Bava

Synopsis: A doctor, a police inspector, and a witch each do their best to discover the truth about, and to protect a Carpathian village from the murderous wrath of, the spirit of a deceased little girl.

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In 1966 filmmaker Mario Bava returned to the classic Gothic Horror roots that made him famous with his most inspired film Operazione Paura. Set in early 20th century Central Europe, a trio of outsiders: a coroner, a police inspector, and a woman gone from her hometown for years try to figure out the source of a series of mysterious deaths in a small town. Soon it becomes apparent that the town is harboring a dark and unforgivable secret which they may or may not be justly suffering via a curse. Realizing innocents are suffering because of their ancestors past wrongdoings, the coroner and inspector look into every possible explanation and suspect in regards to saving the community.  Mixing superstitions from various countries, including his native Italy, and the trope of the ghostly apparition of a child bringing either the salvation of innocence regained or the horrors of revenge and death, Bava creates a masterwork that remains one of his most talked about films, and among the top 5 films in his filmography.

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Bava, still utilizing his expertise in making the best of a small budget, actually gets to work with some real cool locations. Shooting in a small village outside of Rome, Bava gets to work with and stylize a series of homes and streets that remained the same for several centuries, giving the film that nice eerie presence he was a master of creating. While he still had to make do with many sparse sets, Bava once again proved his craftsmanship with little money, and a lot creativity and ideas.

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Another interesting note to the film is that the ghostly little girl in the film is played by a little boy. Bava had auditioned quite a few aspiring child actresses for the part, but none of them could exude the menace and fear Bava wanted the character to have, so he decided to go with the son of his concierge, one Valerio Valeri. This was Valeri’s one and only foray into acting, the frustrating experience of having to wear the dress and blonde wig picked out for him to wear nixing any aspirations or inclinations of him making acting a career. In spite of the boy’s own reservations playing the part and Bava’s frequency of having to coax a performance out of him, Valeri’s final result performance in the film is quite riveting, often times inciting pure terror and unease whenever he’s shown on screen. Even more interesting, a girl did in fact dub Valeri’s voice for the eerie laughter and brief dialogue of the character.

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Giacomo Rossi Stuart, a half Italian, half Scottish actor, gives a very good performance as Dr. Paul Eswai. Stuart had a brief run of leading man roles in the 60’s and seventies, but was generally known to play supporting parts, and extended cameos. This ranks up as one of his finest roles in the leading man area. A man of science and logic initially, Dr. Eswai soon finds himself becoming a believer in the supernatural as he encounters visions and odd coincidences as he performs the autopsy of a bizarre suicide. Skeptical like most men of education in the Gothic Horror trope, Eswai doesn’t automatically dismiss something unusual in the works at the village, but also knows that certain old-world remedies and sorceries can be just as deadly as the fear and maladies themselves. Uncertain of what is real or his imagination anymore, Dr. Eswai becomes willing to give any explanation the benefit of the doubt as looks to save a woman he’s become fond of from the terror that grips the small community all too willing to keeps its shameful past in the cemeteries and crypts.

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Erika Blanc, a rare redheaded Italian actress, gives one of her earliest great performances in the role of Monica Schuftan. A prime example of the individual who leaves their small town for bigger and better things, but comes back now and then to pay her respects to loved ones, Monica is a woman aware of her town’s somewhat backwoods origins, but still feels a sense of loyalty and belonging to the small hamlet. The only technical native with an education, Monica quickly finds herself on the outs with the community for aiding the outsiders in the investigation of the most recent ghost child killing. When she starts having bizarre and frightening dreams involving the Graps villa and the ghost girl, Monica begins to fear she’s the next victim, or that something far worse is being planned for her. Blanc made the claim that this was only her second film appearance, though some film enthusiasts and the like have disputed her claim, she does give a fine performance of the frightened woman uncertain of what being a native born member of the town will mean for her in spite of having left not long into her childhood.

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Piero Lulli, a popular Italian character actor, normally known for playing villains and henchmen, gets one of his rare opportunities to play a good guy in the role of Inspector Kruger. While his appearance in the film is brief, Lulli plays Kruger as a good man simply wanting to know the truth and get justice for the deceased or wronged. He’s certain the death of Irena Hollander was no accident or suicide, and fights back when the locals try to prevent him from doing his job. The community leader is then forced to tell Kruger the whole story, and its relation to a decaying villa that everyone seems to fear. Kruger decides to investigate, leaving audiences uncertain if his investigation will lead to his own demise.

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Fabienne Dali, a French-Belgian actress who worked a lot in Italy, gives a surprisingly effective performance as Ruth, the small hamlet’s resident Sorceress and healer. Even from her first appearance in the film, it’s clear Ruth is fully aware of the events surrounding and going on in the town, but focuses on protecting the innocent whose only crime is being descended from the elders of the community. In spite of her knowledge of the truth, she keeps what she knows to herself even with knowing the doctor and the police inspector only want to help solve a crime and give piece of mind to the little town. When someone she’s close to in the town is fast on their way to becoming a victim of the ghost girl, she finally decides to do all she can to put an end to the terror and fear.

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A nice touch that Bava knowingly or inadvertently included within the film is what is known in religious history, or religion in general, as the Mark of Cain. It’s revealed right in the middle of the film that the little girl died twenty years back during a festival when a bunch of the men, while intoxicated, accidentally ran her over with their carriage and horses, and the town failed to get her aid out of fear of being accused of intentionally harming her. With an unforgivable sin now on their shoulders, the town literally shuns the church within it, and allows the building to slowly decay, believing they’ve lost the protection of the Higher Power. With this loss of faith and hope, Bava brings audiences back to what superstition and lack of education/knowledge can do to an entire culture or community.

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Haunting visuals, unique & psychedelic lighting, stunning & inventive camera angles/cinematography, and of course the overall atmosphere/mood of the film, makes this one Bava’s highest achievements in filmmaking, as well as a milestone in the classic style of Horror in both the States and Europe. It’s short, but sweet, and Bava dazzles thre viewers with creative imagery and camera technique, all while spinning an intriguing tale of mystery, intrigue, and vengeance from the beyond.

(This is another Bava film I would highly recommend, and is certainly worthy of any film fan, Horror or otherwise, to give it a look at. In terms of Gothic Style Horror, Bava hits the mark ten times over, and equals the effort he put into segments two and three of his Anthology masterpiece I Tre Volti della Paura, sometimes even going a little above it. The visuals alone is enough to see why the film influenced some of the great filmmakers like Federico Fellini, Martin Scorsese, and Francis Ford Coppola, in how Bava made style just as important as storytelling. The Blu Ray from Arrow Video offers spectacular visual and audio transfers, everything looking and sounding nice and crisp. As always, Tim Lucas gives great commentary via his personal research on Bava and everyone involved in his productions.)

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Scientific Based Revenge, Franco Style

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen #4)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the French language version of the film)

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Miss Muerte (Le Diabolique Docteur Z/Miss Death/The Diabolical Doctor Z) (1966) **** PG-13

Estella Blain: Nadia, “Miss Death”

Mabel Karr: Dr. Irma Zimmer

Fernando Montes: Dr. Philippe Brighthouse

Howard Vernon: Dr. Vicas

Antonio Jiménez Escribano: Doctor Zimmer

Guy Mairesse: Hans Bergen

Lucia Prado: Barbara Albert

Jesus Franco: Inspector Tanner

Daniel White: Inspector Green

Marcelo Arriota-Jauregul: Dr. Moroni (as Marcelo Arriota)

Cris Huerta: Dr. Kallman

Written by: Jesus Franco (as David Kuhne) & Jean-Claude Carriere (loosely inspired by the novel The Bride Wore Black by Cornell Woolrich)

Directed by: Jesus Franco (as J. Franco)

Synopsis: Three doctors are marked for death after their insults and harsh criticism cause a brilliant but slightly insane scientist to die of a heart attack. His daughter vows revenge and fakes her death so as to not come under suspicion. With the aid of an escaped killer, she kidnaps an old boyfriend’s current girlfriend to help in killing her targets.

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Before he was known as a master of exploitation cinema, Jess Franco had done some pretty good standard linier style cinema efforts. His early interest was in Sci-Fi style Horror, usually involving a mad scientist looking for revenge for some past wrong. Taking cues from his mentor and friend Orson Welles, Franco mixes standard genre narrative with unique editing, cinematography, lighting, and locations. Miss Muerte was one of the earliest films in Franco’s resume to feature many of the tropes, themes, and style he would later become renowned for, used in what was one of his earliest well made films with a known and well financed studio.  This film’s plot would also be reused by Franco for a span of a fifteen years, maintaining the generic concept of a scientist looking to kill his enemies, but constantly changing the motivation of the character or characters, depending on what Franco was in the mood with.

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Shot between France, Spain, Italy, and Germany, Franco showed early on how he made locations work really well in his films, sometimes making where he shot more important than the story at hand. While the locations aren’t as prevalent as in his later work, the few scenes shot on location are used very well and even this early on get the mixture of traditional cinematography and Franco’s noted unique camera angles and movements, creating something visually impressive, unique and beautiful.

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Image result for miss muerte 1966

Also on display is Franco’s penchant for international casts. Included are French actress and actor Estella Blain & Howard Vernon, Argentinian actress and actor Mabel Karr & Cris Huerta, and Spanish actors Fernando Montes, Antonio Jiménez Escribano, & Marcelo Arriota. Jesus Franco himself even appears in an uncredited role as one of the detectives investigating the murders. Howard Vernon would later become one of Franco’s favorite and most utilized actors from the 60’s until the actor’s death in 2000. His performance as Vicas is well done, showing a mix of hostile integrity, but also a type of romantic compassion. Estella Blain was a noted model and leading lady type, whose fame increased when she married actor/comedian Gerard Blain. Sadly, her career went unfinished when she took her own life in 1982, most likely due to personal problems. Her performance as Nadia is also well done, audiences perfectly able to sympathize with her when she is captured and forced to play along in the evil acts of the title character. Mabel Karr dons the guise of one of Franco’s first fiercely independent women in Irma Zimmer. Average in personality, but extremely loyal and dedicated, she then becomes a fiery Angel of Vengeance, deciding to kill al those she deems responsible for her father’s ridicule in the medical community, and then his fatal heart attack. Killing a young woman without flinching to make it look like she died in an auto accident, Irma soon delves deeper into madness when she pays for her action after her face is burned in attempt to get her purse from the burning car. As she gets creative in dispatching her father’s “murderers” her humanity fades faster and faster.

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The Franco of the early to mid-60’s is a lot different to the Franco of the 70’s and onward whose style was erratic, sublime, and creative, but the 60’s Franco is still as interesting in what he did with more money and time. The 60’s films of Franco offer an interesting comparison to the later work his fans and admirers are more familiar with, and shows Franco’s multi style as a filmmaker in being able to create with either a lot of very little. While Franco did use the main basis of this story several times over in the years to come, Miss Muerte proves to be one of the more creative outings of the tale in acting, cinematography, and story. e in acting, cinematography, and story.

(For those uncertain if they should check out Jess Franco Films, this mid sixties’ effort is a good one to start with, and one I do recommend. Many of Franco’s signatures are on display here, showing an artist in his early stages before he became a name in cult films. Sometimes the film’s a little slow, but it’s never boring, and would’ve definitely been a lot better had Franco picked up the pace some. The Blu Ray from Redemption in conjunction with Kino offers an excellent visual and audio transfer, which looks and sounds great. The only extra on hand is an audio commentary from historian Tim Lucas, but is definitely worth listening to as Lucas was excited to finally give Franco the props he earned as a filmmaker.)

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Horrors of the Mummy’s Curse: Spanish Style

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches and Madmen Intermission 2)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the uncut Spanish language version)

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La Venganza de la Momia (Vengeance of the Mummy/The Mummy’s Revenge) (1975) **** R

Paul Naschy: Pharaoh Amenhotep/Assad Bey

Jack Taylor: Prof. Nathan Stark

Maria Silva: Abigail Stark

Helga Line: Zenoed

Luis Davila: Inspector Taylor

Rina Ottolina: Helen Carter/Amarna the Concubine

Eduardo Calvo: Prof. Sir Douglas Carter

Fernando Sanchez Polack: The High Priest (as Fernando S. Polack)

Written by Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina)

Directed by: Carlos Aured

Synopsis: After being overthrown and cursed by his High Priest, the evil Pharaoh Amenhotep vows to return one day to claim his throne. His look-alike descendant Assad Bey goes to London to ensure the Pharaoh’s return happens, and soon a string of murders and sacrifices begin occurring to appease both the Pharaoh and his evil cohorts.

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By the mid 1970’s, the Mummy based Horror films were pretty much at an end, only some small indie productions here and there. Paul Naschy, the Spanish equivalent to Horror icons like Lon Chaney Jr. and John Carradine, who had played vampires and wolfmen, decided to see if he could rejuvenate the Mummy back into the fray. Naschy, who wrote the screenplay under his birth name Jacinto Molina, decided to dispense with the traditional element of the Mummy being under the control of a mad religious zealot and, like with Hammer’s Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb four years earlier, have the Mummy itself be the primary antagonist. The dedicated followers’ motif is still used, this time the loyalists being the Mummy’s present look-alike descendant and his loyal girlfriend, keen to have the power the Pharaoh can offer them once he is fully risen. Also taken out of the equation is the curse for disturbing the tomb of a mummy and the deaths that will follow of the desecrators, and is replaced with a bizarre love story and a desire of the risen Pharaoh to rule the world once again. Naschy, a fan in his own right of classic Horror, does keep the traditional bandaged Mummy theme going in his film, and in fact has one of the better bandaged mummies since the Hammer’s original Mummy film in 1959. The final result is an interesting new take on the Mummy.

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Naschy and director Carlos Aured, normally known for their fondness for blood, violence and gore, actually tone it down quite a bit for this particular outing. While there are numerous killings, the scenes are relatively quick, and don’t linger on the carnage. The single gore effect in the film is two brief shots of smashed heads, the result of the Pharaoh’s displeasure at none of the selected virgins being an acceptable vessel for the spirit of his lover.

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Naschy gets his first chance to sink his teeth into a dual role as both the Pharaoh and his loyal descendent. The Pharaoh is a despot in every sense of the word, loving to inflict pain and suffering on not just his enemies, but his own people as well. Not satisfied with simply ruling the Upper & Lower Kingdoms, and the neighboring Nubians, he’s looking to rule the known world. When his and his loyal Concubine’s blood lust becomes too much, The High Priest to Ra drugs Amenhotep’s wine and orders the despot mummified alive and his Concubine executed. Before the process is finished, the Pharaoh vows his descendants will avenge him and bring him back to life. His sole blood descendant, Assad Bey, is as power hungry as his ancestor and plans to serve his Pharaoh unquestionably. Using the guise of a noted Egyptologist chronicling his country’s history through the various exhibits and museum displays throughout the world, Assad Bey makes sure to use the opportunity at hand. Both Amenhotep and Assad look for the most beautiful women to sacrifice, and soon have both the archelogists who discovered the tomb and the police looking into their actions.

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Image result for La Venganza de la Momia 1975

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Spanish cinema genre actors Jack Taylor, Helga Line, Eduardo Calvo, Luis Davila, and Rina Ottolina all play their roles well, in spite of the characters being fairly one dimensional. Taylor, Line. And Calvo offer fairly unique distinctions within their parts and have their concerns, loves, and hates when it comes to the events surrounding them. Line is one of the more emotional players who quickly realizes she can’t go through Assad Bey’s plans to aid the Pharaoh in his mission for world domination.

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Now the film does take liberties when it comes to historical figures. There were four Pharaoh’s in ancient Egypt that bore the name Amenhotep, the last one most noted as being the father of Tutankhamen, famously known as Tut, and for having changed his name to Akhenaten mid reign. The film seems to go with the inaugural Pharaoh to hold the name, and while he engaged in many military campaigns, he was nowhere as bloodthirsty as the film claims, though it does accurately depict his having made the Nubian people a part of Egypt. His three namesakes all made monumental contributions to Egypt’s culture in the military, architecture, the arts, and early literature, though the one who self-proclaimed himself Akhenaten would become vilified when he attempted to introduce monotheism as the sole religion of the area.

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While he includes deviations in character motivations and story arc, Paul Naschy’s take on the Mummy franchise still retains many of the trademarks associated with the character, but does in fact put his style into the film. The mix of mystery and mayhem is done very well, and offers a new interpretation the classic story. The acting is very standard for the most of the cast, save for Naschy and Line, but with the wish to do a throwback to the old school style of Horror the use of one-dimensional characters seems appropriate. Surprisingly void of the gore the majority of Naschy’s films, this film’s lack of it works great and adds to the throwback feel, even harkening a little of the Hammer Films.

(I do recommend giving this one a look as it does make some interesting changes to the norm of the Mummy film genre that give it a boost. While it teeters between being low-budget and a “B” Film, Naschy’s script and the acting do add to the intrigue of the film and give it a nice amount of body that keeps the audience interested in the story and action. A good chunk of Naschy, as well as 70’s, Horror fans in general prefer gore in these types of films, this go around that element is absent, and for the better in my opinion. There’s certainly plenty of killing and one disgusting scene, but it’s all quick, and neither Naschy or director Aured go for the shock effect, keeping with the moody and suspenseful atmosphere mummy flicks are known for.  The Blu Ray from Scorpion Releasing offers a fine visual transfer of the film that looks amazing, like it was just made. One scene couldn’t be restored as well as the remainder of the film, but it doesn’t affect the viewing pleasure. The Spanish audio is very crisp, with only minuscule pops here and there. The only flaw is in the subtitle translation of the Spanish track. While the majority of it is fine, there are many errors and misspelling in the first 45 minutes or so, sometimes making it hard to follow. Given that this is Scorpion’s first Spanish language film, they didn’t do too bad, but some improvement wouldn’t be a bad thing.)

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Cold Grimm Fairy-Tale: Witchcraft in Lapland (Finland)

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen #3)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

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Valkoinen Peura (Den Vitan Renen/Noidan Rakkaus/The White Reindeer) (1952) ***** PG

Mirjami Kuosmanen: Pirita, the Daughter/Maarita, the Mother

Kalervo Nissila: Aslak, Pirita’s Husband, a Hunter

Ake Lindman: The Forest Ranger

Jouni Tapiola: A Reindeer Shepard

Arvo Lehesmaa: Tsalkku-Nilla, the Shaman

Written by: Mirjami Kuosmanen & Erik Blomberg (inspired by Finnish Folklore)

Photographed & Directed by: Erik Blomberg

Synopsis: A young newlywed from the Hill People of Finland goes to the local Shaman for help in keeping her hunter husband at home. Unbeknownst to her, her late mother was a powerful witch and the imbalance of white and dark magic make the Shaman’s spell turn her into a being that takes the form of a pure White Reindeer.

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Finnish cinematographer Erik Blomberg got his directorial debut with this dark fairytale inspired by the many folklore legends of the Lapland. Having knowledge, respect, and interest in the lives of Reindeer Farmers and Herders in the mountains and hills of his native land, Blomberg uses the harshness and beauty of the landscape to weave his tale of love, hate, and repression at a time when the world was changing, and the once unmovable ways of certain groups began to crumble Intermixing classic elements of Fantasy and Horror, as well as social issues such as male-female relationships, Blomberg and star Mirjami Kuosmanen crafted an entertaining, poignant, and sad film that blends both genre filmmaking art house cinema verité into a fine mixture.

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One interesting thing that cowriters Blomberg and Kuosmanen pull off with the script is the usage of witchcraft, curses, and animals as metaphors for gender relationships and repressed sexuality. Because so many countries in Europe, and even good parts of the United States, were viewed as very much patriarchal in how things were done, anyone, especially a woman, defy the conventions and normalcy of the times would’ve been chaotic and controversial, upsetting what was thought of as the status quo. The lead female character is very different from others in her society and because she begins to want her husband at home, and not be away all the time hunting, neglecting the vows they took, she seems to be going against what her people have done for centuries. That witchcraft symbolizes female empowerment and wiles is no surprise, and in the film used to show the protagonist trying to fix things with her husband. Her turning into a creature that drinks the blood of men, using the form of a reindeer to lure the victims to her, is the price and revenge for her being unique, and also for her wanting to flaunt her sexuality to make her husband jealous.

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Religion also plays a small role in these events. While it’s never stated specifically what year the film is set in, the majority of the reindeer herding community seem to practice a form of Christianity, while some like the Shaman still cling to the Pagan belief of a deer god. Even with the idea that Pirita turns her back on Christianity in favor of Old World spells and incantations existing as part of the film’s structure, that it makes up a good chunk of her suffering is going a little too far. The locals still believe in a good bit of the old legends, so the new religion hasn’t completely obliterated their old ways, or that even before the Christian faith came along witches were already seen as people to avoid and be wary of.

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Image result for the white reindeer 1952

Mirjami Kousmenen gives probably the most unique performance in the film, partially due to her co-authoring the screenplay. Pirita is by all accounts a typical Finnish woman of the period, who can ride, hunt, and do most things her male counterparts can do. When she finally gets to marry her childhood sweetheart, it looks like she finally has everything she could ask for. Soon, she realizes her husband cares more for the excitement of the life of a reindeer herder and hunter than being at home with her. Desperate for the affection she needs as a wife and partner, Pirita seeks out the local Shaman for help. The Shaman soon becomes terrified of her, realizing her family has witchcraft heritage. This regression of both her sexuality and place in society leads to horrible consequences for Pirita as she finds herself slowly turning into a bloodthirsty monster who lures to their deaths in the form of a white reindeer, and slowly causes her to lose her mind. Clearly not wanting, or even expecting the results the ultimately occur, Pirita can only hope for a miracle of deliverance from her hellish existence.

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Moody, charming, fantastical, and tragic, Valkoinen Peura is a well made throwback to the kind of tales written by the Brothers Grimm. The characters come off as real people, and even the fantastical events seem like they could happen. The parallels between real life issues and the fantasy it was always intended to be seen as are weaved well together, creating a homogenous mixture that works well. Basic and to the point, the film tells quite a bit in its short run time and packs a fine wallop and surprise.

(I highly, highly recommend this as essential viewing for both film buffs and Horror buffs. While many elements are allegorical for what was happening at the time it was made, Blomberg flawlessly melds them together with traditional narrative cinema that general film viewers and serious cinema lovers will both enjoy. I would also recommend reading up a little on the folklore and legends of Finland as there are some elements to the film that only those from Finland or those who study the culture would recognize. Little of the cinema of Finland is readily available in the States and in some other places of Europe, and this film shows a prime example of the many things Finland and its culture are famous for, and introduces them to new people. So far the film is only available on Blu ray from its native land and the very recent UK Blu Ray from Eureka!’s Masters of Cinema line. The UK Blu Ray offers an exquisite transfer both in the visuals and sound, and the subtitles are finely translated to the original Finnish audio. A must for any type of film fan.)

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Hello to my followers, those I’m following, and all curious visitors,

Only a few hours ago, Comcast Xfinity 1 made the station Turner Classic Movies a subscription station, no longer a free channel. I find this completely outrageous as Ted Turner never intended the station to be something people paid to get, and I’m completely outraged and angry at Comcast for pulling this stunt. I plan to write Xfinity a few choice words e-mail, and hope any and all classic film fans will write as well to convince Xfinity to let TCM be a free station again, or at most give them an earful that they can’t pull this stuff and not expect angry customers.

I try to refrain from ranting about anything on this Blog, but Xfinity has gone too far this time and this is something I think needs rectifying. TCM has been a station I’ve loved for years and I don’t think its fair for Xfinity to hold it hostage via subscription to get people to give them more money.



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Frankenstein’s Monster as the Father of a Superhuman Race

by Tony Nash

(Euro Witches & Madmen #2)

(All opinions are of the author alone)

(Mild Spoilers)

(This review is of the French language, Erotic version)

(Author’s Note: Due to the French language version being abundant with nudity, some of the stills will be of the alternate Spanish clothed version)

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La Maldicion de Frankenstein (Les Experiences Erotiques de Frankenstein/Le Malediction de Frankenstein/The Erotic Rites of Frankenstein/The Erotic Experiences of Frankenstein/The Rites of Frankenstein/The Curse of Frankenstein) **** (1973) R

Howard Vernon: Count Cagliostro

Alberto Dalbes: Dr. Jonathan Seward

Beatriz Savon: Dr. Vera Frankenstein

Anne Libert: Melisa, the Blind Bird Woman

Dennis Price: Dr. Rainer Frankenstein (as Denis Price)

Daniel White: Inspector Tanner

Fernando Bilbao: The Monster

Lina Romay: Esmerelda the Gypsy (in Spanish language version only)

Luis Barboo: Caronte

Carmen Yazalde: Madame Orloff/The Female Mate (as Britt Nichols)

Written & Directed by Jesus Franco (as Jess Franco) (loosely inspired by the work of Mary Shelley)

Synopsis: The evil Hypnotist Magician Cagliostro has Dr. Frankenstein and his henchman killed by his Bird Woman assassin and steals his newly risen Creature for his own nefarious purposes. The doctor’s estranged daughter Vera teams with Dr. Seward to stop Cagliostro from creating a second monster, a woman, so it and the Frankenstein Creature can create a new power race dedicated to a deity called Pantos.

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In a pseudo in name only sequel for Dracula Contra Frankenstein, Jess Franco presents the “Not-so-Good” doctor getting killed off by his immortal rival Cagliostro so the sorcerer can command a new race of superhumans spawned from the Monster and a Mate still to be created. Taking cues from both the old Gothic style of films made by Universal Films, and the recent trend of bizarre Pop Art (laced with Erotica and violence) comics called Fumetti that was popular throughout Continental Europe in the 60’s and 70’, Franco once again takes his audience on a delirious journey that will see living corpses, unconventional science, and black magic. Much like its predecessor, the film is a kind of throw back to the old school Horror movies, but with more emphasis on originality, including an ageless wizard looking to rule the world.

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Franco does a complete 180 degree turn here, and instead of using his traditional locations and atmosphere, instead goes for trippy camera angles and lighting, mimicking the style of the Fumetti. Now the Fumetti was a bizarre comic strip in Europe that focused either on intense sexual scenes or extreme violence, a few even choosing to combine both. Many of the drawings today are considered pieces of art as some well recognized artists got their start with that subgenre of comics.

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Howard Vernon, one of the most underrated character actors of the 40’s to the 80’s, gets the role of a lifetime with the character of Cagliostro. A true harkening back of the super evil genius of 1940’s serials, Cagliostro is an uber powerful wizard and hypnotist with ambitions to make the world his plaything. Vernon gets to deliver very eloquent and occasional philosophical dialogue, all while hamming it up when his adversaries go through his inventive methods of torture. Even when he is hamming it up, Vernon isn’t going to a level that would border on the laughable taking audiences out of the moments he’s on screen, and in fact evokes a true kind of menace and evil. Anne Libert, a French actress who went between serious films, genre films, and even softcore films, also delivers an exceptional, even if a little on the laughable hammy side, as Melisa the Blind Bird Woman. One of Cagliostro’s early efforts at a superhuman race by means of injecting human DNA into a bird’s egg, Melisa was the only result as he discovered she was blind upon coming to life. Like Vernon, Libert gets to deliver some pretty eloquent and philosophical dialogue, acting as a messenger and voice for the creator she’s absolutely devoted to, all while bobbing back and forth to feel the vibrations of the world around her. She also acts as an assassin of sorts, biting the necks of those who would attempt to go against her creator, and has an equal sexual appetite, enjoying both pain and pleasure.

(Author’s Note: In the original French version, Cagliostro created Melisa specifically as his servant to aid him, while the English dub presents her as his aborted attempt at a daughter who, because she was blind, became his servant. The French version makes more sense in this regard because Cagliostro has a certain affection and respect for Melisa, something he wouldn’t have if he disowned her as a daughter.)

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While Alberto Dalbes, Beatriz Savon, and Dennis Price, do offer some pretty interesting performances, they’re not as exceptional or unique as Howard Vernon and Anne Libert. Dalbes and Savon particularly look like they’re going through the motions just to complete the project, and offer little in the way of changing facial expressions, though Savon shows off some genuine fear as she and one of Cagliostro’s defrocked aids are chained together and whipped by the Monster.

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Looking more like a Tajuana Bible (a fancy term for Hispanic porn comics) come to life than a traditional Horror/Sci-Fi hybrid, this take on Frankenstein and other Horror tales still offers the chills and thrills one would expect from the genre. While low on budget, the acting and use of locations and cinematography make the film more enjoyable. Along with La Comtessa Noire, Maldicion de Frankenstein is one of Franco’s better efforts in the wake of the death of Muse Soledad Miranda, and showed he still could do a fine feature film when he was in the right frame of mind, and liked the subject matter at hand.

(Believe it or not, this one of Franco’s crazier works that I actually can recommend to people. While there is an abundance of nudity, it’s really just mainly women, and a single man, standing, laying, or reclining in the all-together, no sex whatsoever are present, save for two sequences in which Anne Libert’s Bird Woman is shown eating two victims in a fashion that borders on sex. Done on improvisation like many of his 70’s films, this one has the most coherent and continuity sound structure of any of what to be Franco’s more audience friendly fare. If anything Howard Vernon’s performance alone is worth checking it out. The Blu Rays of Redemption/Kino and Nucleus Films both offer sound restorations and audio quality of the film, the Nucleus Films edition being the slightly preferable one as it contains both the French original and the alternate Spanish version, offering viewers the chance to compare the versions.)

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