6.0/10
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16 user 26 critic

La mano de un hombre muerto (1962)

Approved | | Horror | 1962 (Spain)
When violent crime strikes a tiny hamlet, the townsfolk suspect the distant relative of a sadistic 17th century baron who cursed the village.

Director:

Jesús Franco (as Jess Frank)

Writers:

Jesús Franco (screenplay) (as Jess Frank), Jesús Franco (story: "La Main d'un Homme Mort") (as David Khune) | 2 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Ana Castor Ana Castor ... Lida (as Anna Astor)
Howard Vernon ... Baron Max von Klaus
Paula Martel ... Karine
Georges Rollin ... Inspector Borowski
Hugo Blanco ... Ludwig von Klaus
Gogó Rojo ... Margaret (as Gogo Robins)
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Storyline

When violent crime strikes a tiny hamlet, the townsfolk suspect the distant relative of a sadistic 17th century baron who cursed the village.

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Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Connections

Referenced in Kika (1993) See more »

User Reviews

 
THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS (Jesus Franco, 1962) **1/2
7 May 2011 | by Bunuel1976See all my reviews

My last-viewed Jess Franco movie had been the supremely silly CELESTINE, AN ALL-ROUND MAID (1974); I was therefore relieved to catch something from his initial black-and-white phase, not that the end result proved exactly satisfying (especially since, at 95 minutes, it tends to drag somewhat). Incidentally, since I missed out on celebrating the notorious Spanish director's 80th birthday last year, I was ready to make amends now with as many as 15 Franco titles scheduled for this month (10 of them will even be first-time viewings) and 5 more that are in a way related or somewhat similar in theme and approach!

This pretty much evokes the same mood as the superior THE DIABOLICAL DOCTOR Z (1965): in fact, I think his style kept improving or, if you like, gradually became more polished and reached its zenith in that film before he turned his attention to color and, with the new-found permissiveness, his erotic concern also came to the fore (which, in my book, was not a good thing but that argument is better left for another day and another film). By the way, even if these early efforts were officially Spanish productions, they are easier to come by in their slightly-altered (emphasizing the nudity quotient, sometimes gratuitously so, which on its home ground would have been repressed by the State Censorship Board!) French versions via the Eurocine company; thankfully, this copy retains the French dialogue which is (by far) superior to the English dubs…though the original Spanish title, which translates to THE HAND OF A DEAD MAN, is decidedly classier than the one it got stuck with here!

The narrative is quite typical and, in fact, his later Dracula'S DAUGHTER (1972; no relation to the 1936 Universal horror classic) makes for a direct remake of it: if anything, Franco frequently ingeniously (or is that ingenuously) revamped a plot that he felt a particular affinity with or, perhaps to put it more crudely, a formula that seemed to work – personally, I find his most interesting double-feature in this vein to be the blood-sucking combo of COUNT Dracula (1969; which I will be revisiting presently since I have only caught it thus far in the slightly extended but unsubtitled Spanish-language version) and VAMPYROS LESBOS (1970). Anyway, this is not bad but it does not reach any great heights either: we have a series of murders which seem to be tied to one particular family and, apparently, are a reprise of a killing spree perpetrated by an ancestor. The obvious suspect is the new head of the family (played by the sinister-looking and Franco regular Howard Vernon) but, as it turns out, it is someone else who had so far been depicted as reasonably sympathetic and virtuous – that said, there are clues to his true nature when he barely bats an eyelid over the death of his mother…unless this was a combination of bad direction and listless acting (with Franco, you are never really sure)! In the end, he voluntarily joins his progenitor into the swamps (again, foreshadowing a subsequent picture by the director, namely A VIRGIN AMONG THE LIVING DEAD {1971}).

The film contains elements which would soon become trademarks such as the dysfunctional family unit, the cabaret act and the Police procedural, yet Franco is most inspired when he tries to emulate his idol Orson Welles – particularly a night-time chase through the streets marked by tilted camera angles! As I said, on the other hand, the would-be titillating inserts do not really add anything to the proceedings or the film's overall assessment: indeed, these so-called "Continental Versions" were never more than sensation-seeking exploitation ploys and, at this juncture, come across as mere curiosities!


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Details

Country:

Spain

Language:

Spanish

Release Date:

1962 (Spain) See more »

Also Known As:

The Sadistic Baron Von Klaus See more »

Filming Locations:

Chevaline, France

Company Credits

Production Co:

Albatros C.P.C. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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