Monday, November 29, 2010

video naschy.

The strangely hypnotic Vicar of VHS and his evil cohort in cinematic sin The Duke of DVD have graciously asked me to take part in the first ever Paul Naschy Blogathon that they've unleashed (from beyond the grave obviously) over at their frankly magnificent MMMMMovies blog.

And not only did they ask very politely but they said that if I agreed they would burn both the set of photo's and the negatives.

So dear reader how could I refuse?

But which film to pick?

Well, after a random, blindfolded grab at the shelf (which first brought forth Banda Darwaza, different country completely but still subtitled) I reckoned it was probably easier to put all the Naschy stuff together before picking (otherwise I'd be here all night).

With that done my sticky little paws found themselves drawn to...

Curse of the Devil (AKA Return of the Werewolf, El Retorno de Walpurgis. 1973).
Dir: Carlos Aured.
Cast: Paul Naschy, Fabiola Falcón, Maria Silva, Ana Farra, Fernando Sánchez Polack, Maritza Olivares, José Manuel Martín, Ines Morales and Eduardo Calvo.

Damn the Exorcist! The Devil won't let go!

Returning home after a busy night working as a Sir Lancelotagram, Irenius Daninsky (the late, great Naschy AKA Jacinto Molina Álvarez and the reason we are here) is surprised to come upon his evil rival in the kissing knight business,  Baron Barry Bathory riding toward him across a deserted field.

Furious at the thought of such a second rate snogger (and crap dancer) stealing his work Irenius has no alternative but to challenge the beastly Baron to a full on Knight Fight.

With the sound a cheap tin on plastic filling the early morning air it's not too long before our hero has bested (tho' thankfully not beasted) the vile Baron, taking his large comedy proportioned head as a souvenir.

But the smell of blood, sweat and shame has driven Irenius into a righteous fury that the life of one bad Bathory isn't enough to quell.

Raising (and rousing) his most trusted men he decides to march on Bathory Towers, where he is certain that the Baron's wife, the professional vixen and part-time bad girl Elizabeth Bathory (a behatted and narrow of hips yet still quite fit for an old bird Silva) is holding a Black Mass.


Just in case you forget what we're talking about.

Entering the castle just in time to catch mad Lizzie cutting an oil-covered naked gypsy girl's throat cut, our Christian crusaders waste no time in taking the whole coven into custody and, after the shortest (and by the looks of it the most legally dubious) trial in the history of Witch-Finding hanging them from the bridge at Daninsky's castle.

Which, admittedly is a good use of space which really adds contrast to the stark brickwork.

All that is except Elizabeth who, being the leader of the coven (and more importantly the only real actress in the scene) is tied to a stake and set alight.

Which (unfortunately for Irenius and his kin) give her just enough time to curse his family with what must be the most convoluted threat ever made by a burning witch.

With her dying breath she explains that one of his descendants will, at some point accidentally kill one of her descendants, thus setting the (most probably) vile curse in motion.

And you wonder why you're girlfriend wont invite you home to meet her folks?

Now the back story is done and dusted we can all flash forward a few years and meet the mournful and slightly melancholic Waldemar Daninsky (It's Naschy! Again!), the last of the Daninsky's, his roly-poly housemaid Malitza (Ana Farra but not the one from Scary Movie) and 'man-servant' Maurice (Cannibal Man's Polack).

Imagine Bruce Wayne with a third of the cash but twice the charisma, topped off with William Shatner's hair and you're halfway there.

Naschy: Dreamy.
Being a closeted, rich type, Waldemar spends his days moping around reading poetry and taking long walks in the woods While his servants try (in vain) to get him to take up a hobby or talk to girls.

Things seem to be turning round for our troubled hero tho' when one day, completely out of the blue he asks if he can join Maurice on a hunting trip.

You see, it appears that a wolf is loose around the forest scaring the local farmers chickens and it's Maurice's job (seeing as he's the only person with a gun license) to kill it.

Armed with a swanky new Chinese fowling piece (made in Birmingham, England naturally) and bedecked in his best tweed jodhpurs, Waldemar throws himself whole heartedly into tracking a wolf, letting out a loud "Woohoo!" when he finally bags the beast.

Imagine then his surprise when on closer inspection of the body he discovers that it wasn't a wolf at all but a man!

And he wasn't even that hairy.

He couldn't have been a Werewolf could he?

Well if he was his gypsy brethren (who aren't at all named Bathory oh no) aren't saying, seeing as they're too busy being huffy and refusing money from Waldemar whilst trying to sell pegs to all and sundry.

Whilst all this soap-like drama is going on the gypsy elders, hidden deep within a nearby cave, are busy summoning the Devil himself in order to set the second part of the Bathory curse, which seems to involve a spandex clad mime taking various busty gypsy wenches up the arse to see who has the sexiest cum face, into motion.

Which is nice work if you can get it.

Ines Morales, up the casino, Benidorm, 1973....Yesch!

Thru' all the grunting, groaning and cross-eyed lip biting it's Ilona (scrumptious Necrophagus star and another survivor of Cannibal Man, Morales) that comes out on top (albeit with slightly scuffed knees) and, posing as a helpless lady with a low cut dress, manages to worm her way into Waldemar's home.

And his king sized bed.

After on particularly heavy night of love making, Ilona, clad only in an old ladies chiffon nightie sneaks back into our unlucky chums room clutching a wolf skull and a pen knife.

Unluckily for Waldemar this isn't some kind of proto-Basic Instinct shagathon but the final rites in the dreaded Bathory curse.


Slitting her wrist and wiping the fresh blood over the skull Ilona plunges the little wolf teeth into Waldemar's ample manbreast before disappearing into the night.

But just to show that bad things do happen to bad people she's soon hacked to death by a passing axe wielding mentalist.

So that's ok then.

Waking up on the bedroom floor with a terribly itchy tit, Waldemar is helped back to bed by Maurice and an overly concerned Malitza.

It seems that last night was the eve of Walpurgis and being of good old fashion pikey folk, Malitza has an inkling of what may have been done to poor Waldemar.

There's no time for Malitza to voice her fears tho' as no sooner has Waldemar got up and gotten dressed than the local police type bloke turns up to inform him that the axe murderer that killed Ilona appears to have set up home in the woods and is intent on annoying the neighbours.

A prayer before mooth shite-in.

If all that wasn't enough to keep everyone interested then the fact that a famous Belgian industrialist, his blind wife and beautiful young(ish) daughters have moved into the house a the edge of the woods (tho' not at the edge of the park unfortunately) it at least cheers Waldemar up and he decides to go for a walk in the hope of coming across them.

The daughters that is, I mean if he came across the mum she'd probably think it's was just raining or something.

Tiptoeing thru' the tulips Waldemar hears a cry from in the distance and runs toward the noise only to find older sister Kinga (the permanently middle aged star of National Mechanics, Falcon) teetering precariously on a ledge after attempting to pick some flowers.

As our hunky hero helps the poor maiden down their eyes meet and it's love at first sight, much to the annoyance of the rabbit toothed yet incredibly bouncy breasted younger sister Maria (the pixie-like Olivares) who, quite understandably, fancies a wee bit of Naschy nookie for herself.

"Awight hen....who's first for a suckle?"

As the romance blossoms and the full moon rises so does the body count, the locals (and police) blaming these lunar head loppings on the murderer still at large in the woods.

So why is it that Waldemar keeps waking up with dirty feet?

Whatever Malitza knows she isn't telling.

Smiling for the first time since the film began and preparing to announce their engagement Waldemar receives a letter from his bride to be asking to meet at their secret love nest (a cottage at the edge of the woods) and hoping for a bit of pre-nup rumpy Waldemar quickly washes himself.

But he's in for a shock on his arrival seeing as that's where the axe man is hanging out.

And the note was sent by Maria, not Kinga.

It's like a less fantastical Eastenders isn't it?

Arriving just in time to see the killer attempting to stick his chopper in Maria Waldemar jumps into the fray, beating the badman within an inch of his acting ability before stabbing him with a letter opener and throwing him out of an open window.

Turning to Maria for an explanation he notices two quite important things.

1. she's naked.


2. Her breasts are indeed much perkier than her sisters.

Five fingers, never touched the sides.

It seems that far from being the flirty little whore we mistook her for (which is a shame) Maria just wants to be loved and is sick and tired of being treated like a child.


After pouring out her heart she turns to Waldemar and confesses "I came her a virgin and don't intend to leave one".

Waldemar, being a strong upstanding guy does the right thing and sticks it in her.

And before any of you start tutting we've all done it at some point or another if we're honest about it.

What we haven't done tho' (probably) is transformed into a Werewolf during intercourse and bitten the throat out of our partner.

Which is unfortunately, what occurs here.


With the room (and Maria) awash with blood, hair and semen Waldemar leaps from the window ready for the hunt, leaving Malitza to come out of hiding and tidy up the mess.

Bless her, I mean who wouldn't like a granny that did that for you?

The locals (being country bumpkins and therefore thick as pig shit) are still intent on blaming the escaped axe man for the crimes, until that is they find his corpse rotting away in a barn with a letter opener bearing the initials WD sticking out his chest.

This (fairly circumstantial) evidence couple with the man sized paw prints and hairballs scattered about immediately points to a Werewolf wandering around the place and by a using a complex method of elimination it's decided the real killer is none other than Waldemar Daninsky himself.

To prove this the villagers indiscriminately murder Maurice before heading into the woods with pitchforks aloft and shouting loudly.

As the rampant mob gather numbers, smashing letterboxes and upturning flower pots as they go Kinga realises that there is only one thing she can do to save Waldemar's eternal soul...

But does she have the courage and love to see it thru?

"Blood in mah big hairy mooth!"

Back in the days before t'internet (and, gulp even video) the only way you could find out about new (ok let's be honest here, any) horror movies was from local library books (usually written by Leslie Halliwell, a writer whose own ideas of good horror once noted that Night of The Living Dead had killed the genre and nothing of any worth had been made since) or one of the very few genre magazines available (stand up and be counted House of Hammer and on the rare occasions it got imported to a wee newsagent nearby Famous Monsters).

As a precocious seven year old force fed a Saturday night teevee double bill of Universal and RKO classics these greats of film literature were a godsend to me and I would spent all my spare time pouring over grainy black and white shots of  Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff and Lon Chaney Jr. as the tragic Lawrence Talbot.

Bejesus and Mary Chaney.

I'll never forget tho' (I have a good memory) that one particular issue had a photo of the Wolfman I'd never seen before, true it was labelled 'the Werewolf' and although the accompanying picture of a fraught young man had a hint of Chaney about him his name wasn't Talbot.

It was Daninsky.

Like any curious kid of that age I examined the picture for a few minutes before completely forgetting about it and turning the page to reread an article on what looked like the greatest monster movie ever.

Ah Crater Lake Monster where are you now?

The love of horror stayed with me (as did the love of Universal) and thanks to magazines like Starburst information became easier to find, the Saturday night double bills sometimes featured the films of Eddie Romero alongside the old faithfuls and movies like Dawn of The Dead and Phantasm had fuelled my geek gene, forcing me to learn more about the directors and their influences.

As a teenager you can probably tell I was never asked out on dates.

The strange sad faced man with the foreign name seemed to have disappeared without a trace tho' and whilst Coffin Joe was being photographed with Christopher Lee at swanky Parisian horror conventions it would take a controversial censorship bill of epic proportions to bring the legendary Paul Naschy to the attentions of young horror fans in dear old blighty.

Yup, I hate to admit it but it's thanks to the 1984 'video nasty' furore and the inadvertent banning of Naschy's 1975 monster mash The Werewolf and The Yeti that finally introduced me to the great man's work.

And oh boy did I hate it.

Bizarrely enough, of all the films I devoured at the time this is one of those that I have only the vaguest recollections of; something about the infamous Abominable Snowman playing the bagpipes during a fight scene and being sent out of the room to get biscuits when Naschy got involved in a wee bit of threeway action comes to mind.

But the most upsetting thing about it, and I'll admit this stayed with me for years, wasn't the gore or the sex (or even the lack of decent biscuits at my nan's).

It was because this young upstart seemed to be taking all the ideas, the drama and heartache (plus the dissolve effects) of my beloved Universal movies and trying to make them his own.

How very dare he.

The second most terrifying VHS case of all time.

So being the sensible and knowledgeable film connoisseur that I was (you know, the way you can only be when you're 14) there was only one thing I could do.

Laugh loudly at the screen and flounce back to my 'serious' horror movies, tutting audibly at anyone who even mentioned that film.

Looking back I find myself dying a wee bit inside at the thought of being such a know all little brat, so caught up in my own (movie-based) importance that I totally failed to see the irony in the situation.

The whole fact that they reminded me of the Universal series was that Naschy was a fan too.

It's just that he knew how to have fun with his 'fannishness'.

And there's no better example of that than Curse of The Devil, taking as it does it's basic storyline from the Universal Wolfman (well it was written by Curt Siodmak so you might as well steal from the best), the mad witches and mysterious castles from Poe era Corman and it's copious amounts of tit and fanny shots from early seventies Hammer before mixing the whole thing together with a continental flair usually kept for high quality Euro-porn to make something so comfortable yet so unique that you can't help but fall for it's charms.

A wee bit like the ladies round the great man himself.

And talking of the great man, it's true that it looks like most of the scant budget went on styling his hair (both as Daninsky and the Werewolf) but the lack of polish and (sometimes inappropriate) use of library music only adds to the enjoyment factor.

Yes you may have seen it all before but never quite like this.

If you've never experienced the joys and heartache of  Waldemar Daninsky them I suggest you use the Christmas holidays to catch up and to Mr. Naschy a (slightly late) but heartfelt apology.

Sorry I never got the joke sir, I was too busy trying to get my head round the exploding doorknob in Suspiria at the time.

And at least I grew out of that serious geek phase.

I hope.


The Duke of DVD said...

Ashton, you have outdone yourself! Brilliant work, my friend, and hilarious! I love your style, and your obvious Naschy worship. This remains right up there on my list of favorite Naschy films, but that is of course like saying "This stack of $100's is better than that stack of virgin slaves."

Great work!

The Vicar of VHS said...

Brilliant stuff, Ash! I laughed, I cried, I threw up a little in my mouth, and then got aroused. It's like Valentine's day all over again!

Like you, I cut my monster teeth on library books and mags in the days before the internet. I never ran across Mr. Naschy there, though--it took budget public domain dvds to ignite my fandom, but it has burned with a white hot fire ever since. Them were the days, eh?

Glad you got over your seriousness and can have fun with the fandom now. It's a good thing for all of us!

Thanks for taking part. And if you need to offload that excellent Naschy print...