Change Your Image
Upload An Image
Crop And Save
La loba y la Paloma (1974)
A good one for fans of BAD movies.
"What the hell" is a phrase you will likely find yourself uttering frequently during this film. Donald Pleasence and "little person" Michael Dunn (The Mutations, Frankenstein's Castle of Freaks) are the only non-Spanish participants in this film as far as I can tell. At least theirs are the only voices that do not seem dubbed into English.
This is not a film for the average viewer. A normal person is likely (and advised) to turn this film off in the first 5 minutes. But those who like very strange and frequently inept movies could get some laughs out of this one.
There is so much nonsensical crap in this movie that I'm not even going to try to recount it here - it wouldn't be funny anyway, for the sheer idiocy of it you must see it.
This is not a contender for one of the worst films ever (anything by Ray Dennis Steckler would probably beat this one for that title) but it IS bad. And more than just bad, it is weird. The tone shifts regularly and chaotically from being mean spirited to (an attempt at being) tender. And the characters (particularly Michael Dunn) say and do things that make you wonder what the makers of this were thinking.
In short, not the worst film I've seen nor the weirdest. But it is a unique combination of the two.
The Cell (2000)
A feast for the eyes
This film definitely dropped the ball in the story/writing department. The way things started out it could really have gotten dark, creepy, and interesting. Unfortunately, pretty shortly into the film I realized that wasn't going to happen.
HOWEVER - the film is a visual treat that is matched by few films (Titus, Sleepy Hollow) of recent years. And really that makes it worthwhile for me.
I am always a strong proponent of viewing films in their original widescreen format. With this film, though, I would say that you should only watch the film if you can see it in widescreen.
Listening to the audio commentary by the director on the DVD, one gets a better insight into what he was trying to do with this film - the visuals were deliberately emphasized, realizing that was the focus. Singh mentions some of his favorite director's and films (he saw David Cronenberg's eXistenZ 7 times in the theater) and I found his comments overall helpful in enjoying the film for what it is. It could have been a true classic if the writing had been better - but that is frequently the case with many films. Great writing is just hard to come by, especially in genre films, and even moreso in films with big budgets.
El retorno de Walpurgis (1973)
Nice atmosphere & setting, a bit slow
Actually, "a bit slow" is sort of a complement. European horror films from this era frequently cover the range from very slow to painfully slow. So a bit slow is acceptable, in my opinion.
I have only seen one other Paul Naschy film (an edited bad print of Werewolf Vs. the Vampire Women) so I can't really compare this film to his others.
Anchor Bay just released this film on DVD in widescreen with a nice looking and uncut print. I can definitely endorse the film in this version for fans of the genre. I am more familiar with British and Italian horror films, less so with Spanish ones. The quote on the DVD box from Video Watchdog hails this as one of the best Spanish horror films and I would say that sounds fair. The atmosphere and settings are both quite good and there is a fair bit of blood and gore, although don't expect it on the same level with a Romero zombie film or a cannibal film.
Worth noting is the framing of the film. Having only seen this widescreen version I would say that it is definitely worth waiting to see it in it's original aspect ratio as opposed to any pan & scan version. This is one of the better framed films I've seen of this type from this period. While it is definitely not Psycho or Touch of Evil (in my opinion, two of the best framed films I've ever seen) the compositions are very nice and I would complement the director and d.p. both for having a good eye.
In my opinion the dubbing for this film is better than average as well. Fans of foreign horror are likely familiar with frequently bad (and unintentionally funny) dubbing. While I would say that the original foreign language track with subtitles is ultimately the preferred set of circumstances, the dubbing job on this film is better than most, especially for a lower budget film such as this.
I would say that any fans of Paul Naschy who haven't seen this film should track it down right away. And any fans of Euro-horror should take a look as well.
The DVD is released under the title Curse of the Devil and based on that, the description I'd read of the film, and the opening minutes, I expected a sort of mix between Satan worshiping witches and the werewolf story. In reality, after the opening section, the bulk of the story is werewolf-related. The film has gone under other titles that give more focus to the werewolf story, which may well suit the bulk of the film better. However, don't let that turn you away from seeing the film.
Frankenstein 90 (1984)
French oddity that is rather enjoyable
Horror comedies rarely work, in my opinion. Either the humor is unsuccessful or the horror is. Or both. In this case, there is a good combination, although ultimately there is more humor than horror.
The setting is modern day (1984) France and (what we find out) is a descendent of the Frankenstein family is continuing to work on the same old experiments. However this time around he is more successful and the "creation" is rather civilized (wearing jeans and a sweatshirt for much of the film) for the most part although he does have some anger management problems.
The humor is not heavy handed and in my opinion that helps it work better.
A good example of a funny bit early on is when the doctor, stealing an arm from a laboratory, accidentally drops it while climbing over the fence only to have it picked up by a dog. This results in a brief struggle for the arm. Not hilarious, but funny. There is a lot of that in the film.
This is a more down to earth version of Frankenstein. It is without the drama and grandiose aspects many of them have. It addresses, in some manner, the real problems that might come up if one had assembled a human/creature from dead body parts.
Some of the humor is a bit dark, naturally, and there are some genuinely atmospheric moments in the form of a dream sequences.
I'm sort of surprised this film doesn't have a greater cult following, although maybe it does and I'm just not aware of it. Maybe it will now since Anchor Bay has just released a nice looking DVD of the film.
For fans of the bizarre and humorous, I suggest checking this one out.
It is worth comparing this film, in a way, to the other comedy film based around the Frankenstein story - Young Frankenstein. I enjoy that film very much but this one has a different feel to it. It has some darker moments, thematically, and some darker comedy. Simply put, this one is French and the other is a Mel Brooks film made in his prime.
The Flesh and Blood Show (1972)
Not great, but alright
This is not a great film but I liked it better than the other 2 Pete Walker films I've seen (Frightmare, House of Whipcord). If you're familiar with Pete Walker at all you more or less know what to expect. If not this is a reasonable film to start with. It has the basic exploitation elements but is not as explicit as continental European films of the same sort from this era. For a British film it has a fair bit of nudity. There is not all that much blood, despite the title's implication. A decent film for this type, but not one of the best.
I lunghi capelli della morte (1964)
Disappointing, though not bad..
Being a fan of Italian horror, particularly from the 50s and 60s, I was looking forward to this film having recently located a copy of it. However, it was somewhat disappointing. Most European horrors from this era don't move terribly fast, so a slow pace was neither surprising nor a problem in and of itself. This one, however, lacked something to keep it very interesting. The atmosphere wasn't bad; there was a castle and tomb that looked alright. The mood just didn't live up to expectations. It lacked the spooky feel of the greater films of this type such as Mario Bava's Black Sunday and Black Sabbath.
The plot, roughly, concerns a supposed witch burned at the stake in the late 1400s. She vows revenge, which it is assumed will take form in her two daughters, one of which being Barbara Steele (Black Sunday, Shivers, Castle of Blood). Barbara is as lovely as ever, particularly her long black hair. I prefer not to say more since I personally like seeing a film knowing as little as possible about it. The plot is nothing new anyway; originality in plot is rarely ever the reason fans of the macabre watch this type of film anyway.
For fans of gothic horror, and Barbara Steele, this is worth seeing though I would not say it is at the top of the list.