Thursday, December 30, 2010


THE FORBIDDEN SHADOW (LA SOMBRA PROHIBIDA), the second part of THE VALDEMAR LEGACY, will hit Spanish theaters January 28th. The film contains Paul Naschy's final performance. Below is the trailer.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


The first issue of my horror-mystery-fantasy film magazine, LATARNIA FANTASTIQUE INTERNATIONAL, is out now, with three features of interest to Spanish horror fans. The first is a premier review of Paul Naschy last outing as a werewolf--Ivan Cardoso's WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON; the second is a lengthy interview with actor Andres Resino, in which he discusses his career and working on such films as WEREWOLF SHADOW, JACK THE RIPPER OF LONDON, MURDER MANSION and Jess Franco's DEVIL'S ISLAND LOVERS; and, last but not least, a translation of Gustavo Adolfo Becquer's "El monte de las animas"--"Spirit Mountain"--the inspiration for Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead series.

Number 1 is a limited first edition limiting printing of 250 copies, all-color, 24 pages on 80 pound paper. Ordering info:

USA: Cost of issue is $7.50, plus $2 first class shipping/handling and bagging for a total of $9.50.

Canada: Add .50, for a total of $10.

Foreign: $11.50 total.

If you want your magazine boarded, please add $2, but that doesn't guarantee that postal delivery will not find a way to bend it.

Note: Once stock starts getting depleted, cost per issue will probably go up.

PayPal ID for payment:

Snail mail: M. Lipinski, PO Box 2398, NYC, NY 10009. Please make check/money orders payable to M. Lipinski.

There's also a Facebook page for the magazine.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

El Conde Dracula Resin Kit

It's being auctioned on eBay at a start bid of $499--an unreleased prototype resin kit of Christopher Lee as Count Dracula from the Jess Franco film. Fine work, and the perfect gift for a Franco or Chris Lee fan from a well-to-do friend.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Querido Paul

I'm away from home this week, so it is difficult to write something lengthy that would be appropriate for this one year remembrance of Paul Naschy's passing. And I don't even have my webmaster's access to the Naschy website. So for my tribute, I've dusted off something that really has almost no dust on it, for it seems fairly recent and still remains in my heart the way I wrote it after Naschy's death. Some of you may have read this before on Latarnia or elsewhere, but for those who have not or who wish to reread it, I offer it up here.

In his correspondence to me, Paul Naschy would frequently address me as "Querido amigo"--"Dear friend." To me he was more than that, however. He was part father-figure, part screen legend, part hero. I could never approach him with the familiar equalizing term of "friend." Yes, he was much more than that to me, and always will be. I believe this holds true for all of us, his fans. And it will hold true for the new fans that are coming in the years and decades ahead.

Who was Paul Naschy? He was born Jacinto Molina Alvarez in 1934, two years before the start of the devastating and brutal Spanish Civil War. He was a family man, for sure, who loved his wife, Elvira, and his sons, Sergio and Bruno. He was a graphic artist (he illustrated Elvis Presley album covers in Spain), a writer of Western paperbacks, a champion weightlifter. Regarding his cinematic career, he was most certainly a fighter. In his correspondence and conversations he would refer to attempts at setting up film deals and generating sales as battles, and would gather his troops (film people, fans, anyone possible) to join him in the war.

An admirer of Napoleon and Cortez, with the fire of a competitive sportsman, Naschy was driven by a need to express himself artistically and overcome whatever challenges stood in his way. He fought for a Spanish monster movie when Spain did not have a tradition of them; he fought to make more and more monster movies, writing dozens of scripts himself, as no one else had the knack and verve for creating something similar. When producers stopped backing Spanish horror after its golden age in the early 1970s was over, he became a producer himself, investing his own money and accruing financial risks and hardships because of that. When directors couldn't quite get his vision across the way he wanted, he became a director himself. Take away Paul Naschy from Spanish fantastique and your take away its strength and sinew. Take away Paul Naschy from international fantastique and you are left with a significant emptiness in soul and sincerity.

Except for the two times he was in Los Angeles, I would get together with Naschy whenever he would come to the United States to be a special guest at a convention. Each of those times was in a grouping of three days each. His immediate family was usually with him--Elvira, his wife, and Sergio, his son--and once, Bruno, his other son. Though my time with him was probably only nine days in total, after the first meeting in New York for a Fangoria convention I already considered the Molina family "my Spanish family." All of them were intelligent, down-to-earth people, with open arms and hearts. Treasures to meet and talk with. How I wish I could have spent more time with them, how I wished I could have visited them in Spain.

My memories of Paul Naschy were warmest in the context with his family, and the breakfasts, lunches and dinners we had together. There are a few special memories, though….

I had been invited to meet him in his hotel room on the first night he arrived in New York for the Fangoria Convention in 1998. He wasn't in his room, so I waited in the lobby, and then he showed up, with his interpreter, Angel, by his side. He was attired in a simple jacket, sweater, a hat over his head. Not richly dressed or in any vain, showy artistic way, but as an ordinary man, a "regular Joe." A short man, too, but big-boned wide with power and determination.

I approached him and, putting out my hand, said, "I'm delighted to meet Waldemar Danisky." After Angel translated this to Naschy, Naschy added immediately: "Y Alaric de Marnac." ("And Alaric de Marnac.") It was then I realized how important that wicked demonic character was as an alter-ego to Jacinto Molina. Here's an interesting man, I thought!

Another memory is one that causes me some embarrassment. We were eating lunch or dinner (I forget which) at a Chiller convention in New Jersey, and Naschy inquired which film of his I had seen the most. I knew what he was ready to hear me say--certainly one of his best films would be a splendid choice to tell the man and make him happy--but not being someone who is comfortable with lying, I quickly decided to answer truthfully, even though I knew Naschy hated this film: "La furia del hombre lobo" ("The Fury of the Wolfman"). Naschy almost choked on his food, turning a beet red. I hastily told Sergio to tell Naschy in Spanish that I could watch Furia any time because it was like fast food, but that a superior film like El Retorno del hombre lobo or El caminante, one had to savor, for it was like a main meal, full, robust, memorable. Sergio translated, but when Naschy still remained a bursting red color and appeared to have lost the ability to swallow or speak, I asked Sergio to repeat my explanation, which I thought quite good and deft under the circumstances. I think a couple of glasses of water saved the occasion, but my explanation didn't.

Naschy certainly was most proud of his later, more mature period in his work and rightfully so: El Caminante and El huerto del Frances stood out, with films like El retorno del hombre lobo, La bestia y la espada magica and El carnaval de las bestias, following behind. This is actually an amazing period in Naschy's life that deserves attention and study. Anyone who sees El Caminante and El huerto del Frances will understand immediately the significance of Paul Naschy and how his disparaging critics got it all wrong.

Naschy's sincerity in the horror genre was searing and inspirational. Everyone I have interviewed who worked with Naschy has remarked on how seriously he took the proceedings, how much he put himself into whatever role he was playing. Making horror films was not frivolous for him. It was life. This was man who would privately weep when the filming of his script was not turning out the way he had written, who could slug someone who toyed with him by dangling the creation of a Naschy film studio in Paris (using Naschy's money), a dream fell apart through that person's tall-talk but no action.

Few know that when Naschy would start a Waldemar Daninsky script, he would preface the entirety with that legendary quote from Universal's 1941 The Wolf Man, in its shortened Spanish dubbing:

"Hasta un hombre de alma serena puede volverse lobo si el acónito florece y brilla la luna llena." (The full English text: "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.")

This was Naschy's personal invocation to the cinematic legend of the werewolf, his respect and honor for the tradition. Always in his work is respect to the source, either the cinematic history of horror or real history with its angels and demons, its heroes and villains. He was also true to himself, for as his filmography grew, those attuned would pick up on special Naschy traits and repeated motifs. Naschy was revealing himself through his work. Even in those supposedly "simple" monster films, he was exposing his character and worldview.

Throughout most his cinematic life, one of Naschy's biggest regrets was that Spain did not value him as he should have been valued. He had more recognition and more fans, it seemed, in countries like the United Sates and Germany. This began to change in recent years, as younger Spaniards began to notice, appreciate and honor Naschy, even addressing him as "Maestro."

This was one of the most significant battles of his life, and he won it before he left us. Thank you, my Spanish friends (and those special ones who fought to make this happen) for honoring him in this way. It meant a lot to him to feel your love and your respect.

So here we have a man who created, fought, struggled, and won many battles and lost a few, too. That is a perpetual challenge in life, to make something out of nothing, to create and witness the realization of your dreams through will power and plain guts. Naschy didn't turn away from this challenge, almost embracing the struggle, though at low points he surrendered to despair and depression.

He was passionate about cinema, passionate about the horror genre (its traditions and history), passionate about his work. We will probably never see anyone like him again because he was of a unique disposition, born in a unique time, and someone who produced unique, personal works, generally hidden by the patina of being "monster" or "horror" films.

Obviously, his work, and in a sense "Paul Naschy"--the greatest alter-ego of Jacinto Molina--live on. I am confident that this work and his name will become better known and more respected throughout the world in the future. To those who loved him--his family, friends and numerous fans--this should give a measure of comfort and even happiness.

When I corresponded with Naschy, either in letter or e-mail form, I would always begin, "Querido Paul." ("Dear Paul.") I will never write those words to him again, but they will always be in my heart.


The Last Time Naschy Played a Werewolf

2005. In Brazil. Shooting for two months. For Ivan Cardoso's WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON (UM LOBISOMEM NA AMAZONIA). The last time Paul Naschy played a werewolf.

RIP. 1934-2009.

Monday, November 29, 2010


During this Naschy Blogathon week (Nov. 29 - Dec. 3), I will be posting some Naschy rarities. Here is the first one:

Walton, a British 8mm/Super 8mm company, released a very condensed version of Naschy's LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS (English titles: WEREWOLF SHADOW, THE WEREWOLF VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMAN). In Super 8, with sound and in widescreen! (But a murky black-and-white). I'm guessing this release occurred somewhere in the 1970s.

The catalog number was A.821. The description:

"A young detective is shocked by the sudden disappearance of his fiancee but due to many sinister rumours he decides to visit the owner of a certain lonely house."

The short film contains a dialogue scene between Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy) and Marcel (Andres Resino) and ends with the climatic battle between Daninsky as a werewolf and the vampire countess Wandesa (Patty Shepard).

Monday, November 15, 2010

Intervision Blarney

There's a new DVD company that while it may be new is not above using old ballyhoo to promote its releases. Founded by Larry Gold Sr, "one of the few true legends of the video industry," according to Jay Douglas, the Vice President of Product Development at CAV, Intervision promises the DVD release in January, 2011 of two Jess Franco titles: THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF paired with PAULA PAULA. The appearance of the latter is curious, as a DVD was released not too long ago, but the promo on SINISTER EYES is, well, if not misleading--potentially an outright lie.

"THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF, a long-thought-lost classic from 1971, was finally unearthed in a Budapest vault following an exhaustive international search," states the press release on

On Gold's own Intervision website, we get this: "A legendary lost film in the Franco canon, it had long been feared that no element simply existed. That's when Jess stepped up with a rare 1-inch master, culled from his personal vault in Malaga. It comes equipped with a cracking little featurette on the origins of Orloff, one of the great villains in 20th century horror. And I must say, William Berger just might be my favorite Orloff of all time. You owe it to yourself to check this beauty out."

Hm, aside from the curiosity of Franco having his own personal vault in Malaga but the film being found in Budapest (a long way from Malaga)--well, fine, but I have an official Spanish video of THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF laying around in my apartment--and I'm sure I'm not the only one who has this video--or a bootleg of it.

And there's even a Spanish DVD from the Vellavision label....

So who is this Gold person? I never heard of him, but I've never been involved in the behind-the-scenes movers and shakers of the video business. Gold himself informs us of his connection with Uncle Jess:

"Over the decades, Jess and I have worked together too many times to count. We've had our share of dust-ups, break-ups, and make-ups. I proudly count Jess as one of my best friends still living."

Okay, but I still haven't heard of him. But, then again, I couldn't remotely claim to know the persons who have been in and out of Uncle Jess' life.

If you check Gold's supposed old London-based distribution company--Solid Gold Films Ltd--on the IMDB, you will find it MIA.

According to the Intervision site, Gold now lives in Thailand. (!) But he has an LA address. He also states on one page that his "old compatriot," Jess Franco, made 1000 films, while on another that he made 200 films.

If one checks the video promo for the company on its Facebook page, one sees that the SINISTER EYES clips are full screen, which makes me suspect that the DVD will be sourced from...that "lost" video/DVD Spanish element.

BTW, this lost baby has already been through the torrent mill:

Now, in the beginning I said that the "lost" claim was potentially a lie. The only thing that would make it not so is if we see a version we've never seen before, either with nudity or in English dubbing. Otherwise, buyer beware as far as the claims for this release are concerned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Night of the Open Coffins

This German trailer for Franco's DRACULA CONTRA FRANKENSTEIN, with its film stills and screams in the background, reminds me of "spook show" trailers shown in American theaters in the 1950s and early 1960s. As Francesco Cesari notes on the Latarnia Forums, a still is included that shows Antonio de Cabo in Frankenstein's laboratory--a scene missing from the more widely disseminated non-nude version of the film.

As the trailer reveals, one title of the film in Germany was DIE NACHT DER OFFENEN SARGE. English translation: THE NIGHT OF THE OPEN COFFINS.

Hat tip: Francesco Cesari

Friday, November 12, 2010

Naschy Blogathon Nov. 29 - Dec. 3

In commemoration of Naschy's passing last year, the blog MAD MAD MAD MAD MOVIES is coordinating a "Naschy Blogathon" that will begin November 29 and end December 3. Fantaterror: Horror from Spain is sure to participate, as will many other blogs. Paul Naschy shall not die!

Find out more and how to participate by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Spanish Horror in MONSTER WORLD #1

It was rare for James Warren's FAMOUS MONSTERS and MONSTER WORLD to mention Spanish horror, but the first issue of MONSTER WORLD (1964) did briefly note Jess Franco's LA MANO DE UN HOMBRE MUERTO--translating it literally as THE HAND OF A DEAD MAN--and offering a tantalizing still, too. We know this film on DVD as THE SADISTIC BARON VON KLAUS, a title taken from a French one for this film, LE SADIQUE BARON VON KLAUS.

One wonders if an English print exists of THE HAND OF THE DEAD MAN, and what young readers thought about never hearing of or seeing this film again--until they grew up and forgot all about it when the Image DVD came out in 2001 with the French print, subtitled in English.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Jason Dark and the Ghosts Templar

While searching for Blind Dead graphics on the internet, I came upon something that made me immediately stop. This:

If you're like me, your jaw drops as you gaze upon this wondrous, previously unseen artwork featuring Amando de Ossorio's "Blind Dead" Templar Knights. I had to investigate what this was all about. I found out that the artwork was the cover for one of the volumes in the Jason Dark series of adventures, a newly-minted series that's an intriguing throwback to the dime-novel/pulp world of the past. The stories concern Jason Dark, a Geisterjäger (ghost hunter), who together with his assistant Siu Lin battle all sorts of macabre demons and monsters in Victorian England. The milieu is unabashedly Gothic, with inspiration taken from German pulps of the 1970s and classic horror and euro-horror cinema. The novels (or rather novelettes) are fast, captivating reads in the best page-turning tradition of the pulps, and even feature the pulp premise of including the first "hook" chapter of the next volume at the end. The project is the work of Guido Henkel, a German PC and video game developer, who was involved with REALMS OF ARKANIA and PLANESCAPE: TORMENT, among other games.

What amazed me, as I dug deeper into the Jason Dark series is the sheer, joyous brilliance of the project: A revival of the dime-novel or pulp adventure tale, available as a smaller-size hardcopy of 64 pages or an online download--and, at least now, available for reading online for free. The Jason Dark website is as professional as you can get (Henkel has years of experience with his DVD Review & High Definition), and features the latest news, a download area, a forum, a store, etc.

The Jason Dark series is clearly influenced by Germany's extraordinarily popular John Sinclair series, written by Helmut Rellergerd under the pseudonym--Jason Dark. Even the cover designs attempt to recall the John Sinclair series. The Sinclair series began in 1973 and has almost reached 2,000 novels! Unfortunately, except for an online brief attempt, the John Sinclair series has never been translated into English, but Jason Dark gives a taste of what those adventures, and others marketed in Germany during that time, may be like.

I sampled GHOSTS TEMPLAR online, but when I received three volumes of the series, instead of giving GHOSTS TEMPLAR a better read, I picked up THE BLOOD WITCH under some uncanny impulse and only sleep made me put it down. The villainess in THE BLOOD WITCH is named Asa Vajda. If that name is familiar, it should be. Asa Vajda is the witch in Mario Bava's BLACK SUNDAY.

So you see the potential here. A fun, pulp series that encompasses not only traditional demons and monsters, but those from the world of euro-horror, including Spanish horror. Do I see Morpho potentially lurking in the background? Dr. Orloff? Or perhaps Waldemar Daninsky?

Incidentally, I found out that Templar cover is the work of Gary Crump. Henkel created a general cover design, using the Blind Dead posters as inspiration, and Crump took it from there. Excellent work and, again, in the best tradition of the pulp.

I wish Guido Henkel and this project much success. It's thrilling to see someone attempt something like this--and in such a grand, entertaining style.

[I have to mention a neat item being offered from the Jason Dark website that Spanish horror fans may want near their computer--a mouse pad featuring the same Templar artwork as shown above. Proceed here for more details.]

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Eugenio Martin

Photo from Monster World.

Director Eugenio Martin was honored at the Sitges film festival with the Nosferatu Award. Known to horror film fans for HORROR EXPRESS (1972) and A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL/IT HAPPENED AT NIGHTMARE INN (1973), he also directed one of the earliest Spanish horror films, HYPNOSIS (1962), as well as a couple of other chillers, and was proficient in all genres. I must note that recent photos of Martin show him looking somewhat frail, and I wish him the best of health, if indeed he is ill. A very important person in Spanish horror.

EUGENIO MARTÍN - Premi Nosferatu from Sitges Film Festival on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Horror of the Lady of the Lake (2010) - Trailer

I've been aware of this Spanish film for several years, ever since promotion started for it around 2004. Everything I've seen has impressed me very much. The writer and director Diego Vazquez has attempted to use old fashioned methods of cinematography, including matte paintings and stop motion, to craft a fantasy that immerses one in atmosphere and visual mysteries. This is a true independent film, without much financing, but with an extraordinary amount of dedication and talent behind it. The film (Spanish title: EL HORROR DE LA DAMA DEL LAGO) is premiering at this year's Sitges film festival, and I eagerly await viewing it one day.

The film's website:

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Perverse Faces of Victor Israel

The Sitges film festival is not only premiering the Naschy documentary, THE MAN WHO SAW FRANKENSTEIN CRY, but on October 10th also a documentary on the late Victor Israel, one of the most recognized faces in Spanish cinema. Titled LOS PERVERSOS ROSTROS DE VICTOR ISRAEL (THE PERVERSE FACES OF VICTOR ISRAEL), the documentary traces his career and contains reminiscences from fellow film professionals like Javier Aguirre, Eugenio Martin, Jordi Grau, Frank Brana, and others. The project initially began as a ten-minute video tribute, but quickly blossomed into a longer format.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

BCI/Deimos 2006 Promotional Spanish Horror Collection Folder

In 2006, when BCI/Deimos was putting together the first of its Spanish horror DVDs, the company printed a promotional 4-page folder for the future of these releases. As you can see the graphics were completely different than what actually came out. The series was going to be titled "The Spanish Horror Collection," but that was dropped as it was felt that sales would be lessened by the foreign tag of "Spanish".... Also the design was changed, too. These were initially going to look like ye-olde books. And there was going to be numbering on the spine to spark that collectivitis among fans. Also, note that the idea was to put out the series in HD DVD, but that, too, didn't come through, when Blu-Ray started to win the marketing war. (BCI/Deimos eventually released a Blu-Ray combo of NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF and VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES in 2008.)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Letters from Naschy

In the course of my knowing Paul Naschy, I received several letters from him, which are obviously dear treasures now. In the letter below, dated March 15, 2005, Naschy wrote about the film he had just completed in Brazil, AMAZONIA MISTERIOSA, currently titled, in English, A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON. The scripts he wrote in longhand probably look like this.

Naschy would address me by my full first name, Miroslaw, though he would write the "w" as a "v," which is the way it sounds when spoken in Polish and Spanish. ("Mirek" is the shortened, familiar Polish version of Miroslaw, btw.)

Sunday, October 3, 2010


THE MAN WHO SAW FRANKENSTEIN CRY is a new documentary on Paul Naschy that will be premiering at the Sitges film festival, October 7 & 8. Written and directed by Naschy's biographer Angel Agudo.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Insights from the Naschy Auction

The above photo shows Paul Naschy in his Madrid apartment, pen in hand, working over (presumably) a film script of his own. Note the Naschy film posters, the cigarillo between his fingers, the fact that he's right-handed ... the small things one notices when studying a photo. The photo is being used as illustrative of an auction being offered by Marc Van De Wiele Auctions of four Naschy scripts, with three of them being in Naschy's own hand.

Like the photo above, auctions can illuminate, and these do.

First, the descriptions from the auction house:

La Bruja y el Inquisidor (release title : La Inquisición)

This is Jacinto Molina's original, entirely handwritten manuscript (297 pages, size : 31,5 x 21,5 cm) of "La Inquisición" (1976), his first film as a director/writer/actor which therefore marked an important turning point in his career. In this movie, which also starred Daniela Giordano, Monica Randall and Juan Luis Galiardo, he played the part of the diabolical Bernard de Fossy, inspired by the infamous Torquemada. In interview, Molina always stated that the Spanish censor forced him to replace Torquemada's name into that of de Fossey.

La Noche del Hombre-Lobo (release title : El Retorno del Hombre-Lobo)

Jacinto Molina's original, entirely handwritten manuscript (184 pages, size : 31,5 x 21,5 cm) of "La Noche del Hombre Lobo", which was released as "El Retorno del Hombre Lobo" in 1981. It was the first of his werewolf films which he directed, opposing the tragical Waldemar Daninsky against Countess Bathory (portrayed by Julia Saly). The picture also starred Narciso Ibanez, Beatriz Ellorrieta and Silvia Aguilar and was awarded several prizes at European film festivals. The stenciled shooting script (129 pages, size : 27,5 x 21,3 cm) with dedication on the cover, is offered together with the original manuscript.

La Tourné del Diablo (release title : El Caminante)

Jacinto Molina's original, entirely handwritten manuscript (217 pages, size : 31,5 x 21,5 cm) of "El Caminante" (1979), a philosophical fantasy tale in which Paul Naschy played the part of the devil opposite such stars as Blanca Estrada, David Rocha and Silvia Aguilar. Probably one of his best pictures as a director, the film was warmly welcomed by the critics but failed to become a major commercial success. Dedications on the title page of the script and signed by Jacinto Molina.

Walpurgis Night (release title: La Noche de Walpurgis)

Jacinto Molina's own personal shooting script of "Walpurgis-Night", directed by Spanish veteran filmmaker Leon Klimovsky which was released as "La Noche de Walpurgis" in 1970. It became an instant hit not only in Spain, but internationally as well. On the cover of his script (79 stenciled pages, size 27,5 x 21 cm), Molina wrote in his handwriting "Waldemar Daninsky - Paul Naschy". The shooting script also includes 12 pages of handwritten phonetical notes that Naschy had to memorize, so as to give the impression that he spoke his lines in English (a language he didn't know at all). The film was indeed set up as an international co-production and was shot in English.

So, of interest is that Naschy wrote his scripts in longhand, something I was aware of but many weren't. Indeed if you watch Naschy at a typewriter in LICANTROPO, you will see, as his forefinger hits this key and that, that he was not that familiar with working with the machine. His scripts in longhand would be typed up by someone else afterward.

Then of interest are the original, working titles of these four films. INQUICISION and EL CAMINANTE were initially LA BRUJA Y EL INQUISIDOR (THE WITCH AND THE INQUISITOR) and LA TOURNE DEL DIABLO (THE DEVIL'S TOUR). The auction description indicates that Naschy's script for LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS carried the title WALPURGIS NIGHT, which would make sense, if true, as this film was particularly crafted for English-speaking audiences. Regarding Naschy's phonetic script for WALPURGIS NIGHT/LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS (eventual English title: WEREWOLF SHADOW), a couple of sources indicate that he tried to make the attempt, but dropped idea when the execution proved too difficult. LA NOCHE DEL HOMBRE LOBO was released in Spanish as EL RETORNO DEL HOMBRE LOBO, but the export English title--THE NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF--was a translation of the original Spanish title.

The auction is being held 2pm, October 1st, Dutch time.

Monday, September 13, 2010

HORROR EXPRESS arriving in 2011

It's been one of the most released films from a multitude of pubic domain DVD companies and even received an official release on the Image label in 2000, but HORROR EXPRESS will be making another run, this time from Severin, which promises the addition of tasty special features, as well as an HD presentation on DVD and Blu-Ray. Here's the newly discovered English trailer for the 1972 Spanish-British horror film directed by Eugenio Martin, and starring Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Paul Naschy as Waldemar Daninsky in Jess Franco's COUNT DRACULA

No, of course not, but that didn't stop the artist of this German poster for Jess Franco's COUNT DRACULA film from using an iconic Naschy wolfman image in representing the movie.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Forthcoming from Italy's Granviale Editori is IL CASO JESUS FRANCO, edited by Franco authority Francesco Cesari. As Francesco stated in a recent post on Latarnia:

"On December 2nd 2009, I arranged a short study congress on Jess Franco, here in Venice. The proceedings of that congress became the book, but with some changes and additions. Firstly, there are two forewords by two of the greatest experts in Jess Franco: Robert Monell from USA and Alex Mendibil from Spain, as well as my 'introduction' as editor. Then, there are the essays of the Italian experts - Roberto Curti and Alessio Di Rocco - who couldn't be in Venice the day of the congress. We also preferred to interview Antonio Mayans, instead of asking him [for] an essay, and added a short interview with his daughter Flavia, the protagonist of some 80s JF films.... Everybody wrote in his language. Some essays are in Italian, some others in Spanish. And Robert's foreword is in English.

"Ferran Herranz wrote a kind of 'essay-book' (almost 50 pages) on Jess Franco and Literature. A terrific work, in my view. My Italian friends Roberto and Alessio worked on Jess Franco's (mis)fortune in Italy: the historians, the critics, the newspapers (the book includes an anthology of Italian reviews, from 1963 to 1984), the editions, the censorship (knowing the original documents, Alessio could specify cuts, versions, runtime), an Italian versions filmography based on VISA.

"My essay is in Italian even if the title - Jess the Trickster - is in English. The essay begins with a quotation from a Robert Monell's post on Latarnia forum.

"I also worked to a JF filmography as director. The book is 222 pages (including the images) + 25 pages of index (index of names and index of titles). We did it almost without money and the run is very short."

The cover image is from Franco's INCUBUS.

Below is a copy of the contents (click on photo to see enlarged version):

Friday, September 3, 2010

Iconic Images for Cover Art

During the 1960s and 70s, artists working on cover art for horror comic magazines around the world employed film stills and poster art from horror films, making their job that much more easier. A few Spanish artists emerged who used their own country's fantastique for covers they would do for the domestic DOSSIER NEGRO, and U.S. magazines like VAMPIRELLA, EERIE and PSYCHO.

The artwork above and directly below is from the artist Sanjulian. As you can see, Naschy's mummy (from THE MUMMY'S REVENGE), as well as a rotted member of Amando de Ossorio's "Blind Dead" Templars, appear on the cover of VAMPIRELLA # 38:

Naschy's mummy also makes an appearance on the cover of issue 198 of Spain's DOSSIER NEGRO, with Jack Taylor peering with a lantern into the forbidden tomb, the latter being another image taken from the Naschy film. Sebastia Boada is the artist....

The Blind Dead provided inspiration for this PSYCHO cover:

Sanjulian received two pay checks for the same cover art on different magazines, EERIE and DOSSIER NEGRO. Sanjulian worked into the cover a few iconic horror images, including Naschy's wolfman.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Dracula in Daylight

The carriage ride toward Castle Dracula in Jess Franco's COUNT DRACULA (1970). Filmed in daylight, to be converted to a night look in post-production. Here's a photo showing Dracula (Christopher Lee) in untinted daylight glory.

Friday, August 27, 2010

VHS Covers - 3

Here's the cover for Unicorn Video's clamshell big box of THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN. Typically, video companies did not credit the cover artist, but in this case credit is given: George Garcia. Excepting a release by Charter, all American videos of this film presented the cut version lacking the nudity of the export release.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Enterprising DVD companies can secure licenses to release THE BLIND DEAD COLLECTION from Atlas International. This is the company's online promo for this quartet of films directed by Amando de Ossorio:

They are called THE BLIND DEAD, heretic horsemen whose eyes were burned out to prevent them from finding their way back from Hell. Over the course of 4 unforgettable films, writer/director Amando de Ossorio created what fright fans worldwide consider to be one of the most startling series in horror history.

This unique quartet of shockers delivers a relentless onslaught of creepy atmosphere, shocking violence, forbidden sexuality, and the still-chilling icons of EuroHorror: The eyeless undead who hunt by sound in their quest for human flesh. Don’t move… don’t breathe... don’t let them hear your heart beating: THE BLIND DEAD are back!

now fully restored from original vault materials and remastered in heart-stopping High Definition


Atlas has held the international rights to these films for a while, and the first two in the series (TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD and RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD) even much earlier. The first Blind Dead films to reach DVD (on Anchor Bay) were from Atlas. Later Blue Underground released all four films in a box set, also working with Atlas and other rights owners. Though a commendable release, the transfers in the Blue Underground box set had problematic tinting (from Blue Underground), and these transfers may be the ones that are being offered from Atlas. Any new DVD releases, "in heart-stopping High Definition," should be sourced from new transfers that take into consideration the original look and dynamics of films.

A recent check of the Atlas catalog reveals that the company is NOT offering The Victory Media Library, that series of HD Spanish horror films from which BCI/Deimos received its wonderful quality Naschy and Ossorio films several years ago. I'll be investigating this further to determine who currently owns this important library, which includes the uncut MALENKA and the rare STRANGE LOVE OF THE VAMPIRES.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Mysterious Death of Director Claudio Guerin

On the last day of shooting the now-classic Spanish horror film THE BELL FROM HELL (LA CAMPANA DEL INFIERNO, 1973), director Claudio Guerin fell to his death from the bell tower of San Martin in Noya. Recently the Spanish program, CUARTO MILENIO, investigated this death and provided a dramatization of the tragedy. Was Guerin's death an accident? A suicide? Or was some other force in play?

Friday, August 20, 2010

VHS Covers - 2

This is the NTA Home Entertainment video release of AGAINST ALL ODDS, known also as FU MANCHU AND THE KISS OF DEATH and THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU. A copyright on the cover states 1985, but the copyright on the video label claims 1987. The copyright was held by Republic Pictures.

What made this release unique is not the content, but the back cover, which showed a nude scene, alerting Francophiles that there existed, at the very least, nude promo stills for the film, a film that before had been considered free of nudity beforehand. Eventually, for Blue Underground's DVD release as THE BLOOD OF FU MANCHU, nude scenes were shown for the first time. Despite the photo on the back cover, the NTA release did not contain nudity.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Dilemma of a Potential Masterpiece - THE VALDEMAR LEGACY

THE VALDEMAR LEGACY (LA HERENCIA VALDEMAR), also known in English as THE VALDEMAR INHERITANCE, was released theatrically in Spain in January 2010, with a Spanish DVD release following in June. The attention given this film was considerable, as not only it was, at over 20 million dollars, one of the most expensive films made in Spain, but it purported to be a lavish undertaking in the Lovecraft cosmos, surely the most elaborate yet offered up on the screen. As an added interest, it also contained the last on-screen performance of Paul Naschy, Spain's legendary horror man.

Unfortunately ticket sales proved lackluster and audiences grumbled about this and that, especially as they seemed unaware that the film was actually part one of a two-part project and that they would have to wait until the fall when the second part, THE FORBIDDEN SHADOW (LA SOMBRE PROHIBIDA) was going to be screened.

Having viewed the Spanish DVD (thanks, Elena), I can say I'm very hopeful that the second part will confirm what I've gotten from the first--that THE VALDEMAR LEGACY may be a masterpiece of Spanish horror cinema, a film that bravely places itself out of the current ethos of horror to luxuriate in a more old-fashioned sensibility of building up plot and suspense, nurturing both with care and consideration for the overall effect. Not that the modern style of direction, under the capable hands of Jose Luis Aleman, or the contemporary flourishes of editing and music are missing from THE VALDEMAR LEGACY. They are not. But other, older features are around and placed to the forefront many times. The result generates a feeling of an exquisite world that is part distant dream, part contemporary reality. Curiously, VALDEMAR somewhat shares this nether old-time world fantasy kinship with Universal's recent THE WOLFMAN, which likewise straddled cinematically both the past and present--and, like the VALDEMAR film, was not as well received as anticipated. (Universal is distributing THE VALDEMAR LEGACY in Spain, btw.)

The question for us in the United States becomes--is this film sell-able here? Can it be shown theatrically?

I doubt it will be possible to show this film as it has been in Spain--as part 1, and then months later, part 2. As it is, American audiences will have a hard time heading over to see a Spanish horror film (despite the successes of a few recent Spanish horror films), and they will not endure the possibility of waiting months to see a story's finish. No, to be shown theatrically, this film has to be presented in whole, as a three-hour plus epic, with an intermission coming in after the first part. Such a presentation would mean, of course, a limited theatrical distribution and more to art house theaters that can accommodate such special handling; otherwise the film will never get any theatrical release, unless at horror genre film festivals, which are limited in scope and audiences.

For DVD purposes, I think it would be well to offer the film up as a double DVD set, for the same considerations as for a possible theatrical release.

I've yet to see the second part, of course (it will be premier in Spain in October), but if the second part does live up to my expectations, then we may have a gem, or a least a diamond in the rough, to savor and contemplate. So I'm very much looking forward to part two, which, since I'm not in Spain, will have to arrive for me only when the Spanish DVD is finally released months after the film's theatrical release.

In his last on-screen appearance, Paul Naschy offers up a performance as the protective and faithful servant Jervas that must rank as one of the best in his career. Will American Naschy fans be able to see his work in a theatrical release?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

VHS Covers - 1

The days of video are gone, but the cover art endures in the memories and hearts (and sometimes collections) of Spanish horror film fans. The Bingo Video release of RETURN OF THE BLIND DEAD, titled here RETURN OF THE EVIL DEAD, to, no doubt, get in on the popularity of the then-more current Sam Raimi film, THE EVIL DEAD.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The Wolf-Monster!

It may seem odd that the 1971 American trailer for FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR (LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO) did not mention a wolfman or werewolf, but rather a "wolf-monster." Paul Naschy's werewolf was presented this way in the trailer because it was fitted to agree with the unique American introduction to the oddly-named film. (No Frankenstein shows up, after all). Distributor Sam Sherman had to invent a rationale for calling the Naschy werewolf film FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR, a title compelled upon him when he needed to contractually offer up a Frankenstein film to theaters. So an introduction "explained" the Frankenstein connection: "Now! The most frightening Frankenstein story of all, as the ancient werewolf curse brands the family of monster makers as Wolfstein! Wolfstein! The inhuman clan of blood-hungry wolf-monsters!"

So, a new monster name was invented--"The Wolf-Monster." For the trailer, other "new frightening fiends" were "The Vampire-Doctor" and "The Ghoul-Woman." Those names and the trailer have a certain Eerie Publication vibe.

I love the way the voice-over artist stretches out "Ghoul" in "Ghoul-Woman."

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Above: Howard Vernon and Maria Silvia

Rightfully called the first Spanish horror film and advertised as such in its Spanish premier release, Jess Franco's 1961 GRITOS EN LA NOCHE (SCREAMS IN THE NIGHT) did not receive popular or critical acclaim in its international exhibitions. In the United States, Franco's film was titled THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF and placed at the bottom of a double-bill under Riccardo Freda's THE HORRIBLE DR. HICHCOCK. Both films were savaged critically, but are now considered classics of euro-cult.

GRITOS EN LA NOCHE is indeed a classic and remains one of Franco's best films, despite his deprecatory stance on the film in the last couple of decades. Because of Franco's own proclivities and co-production assistance from France's sleaze-meisters Eurocine, there's a palpable essence of depravity to the film that was once upon a time attacked, but now, in more liberated times, is looked upon in a different, more natural and appreciative erotic manner. Franco gathers in influences from DEAD EYES OF LONDON, PHANTOM LADY, and EYES WITHOUT A FACE (which Franco claims he did not see beforehand, though he certainly must have known of that film's international popularity), and, for a bolder export version, inserts (literally, these are inserts) shots that would have been welcomed by the "raincoat crowd" at nudie film showings.

The nude scenes only surfaced here on DVD from Image in 2000 in its "EuroShock Collection" series. Though it was revelatory to see them, they don't add much to the film. The one that's supposed to be of actress Diana Lorys' breasts is obviously not of her but a body double, so that's temporarily distracting, too. (Later in her career and in a sexually freer Spain, Lorys would shed her clothing with bravado for director Franco.)

For Spain GRITOS was a shock, as that the country had never seen anything homegrown like it. Or rather it would have been a shock had more people filled the theaters to see the film. The country was not yet ready for accepting the work of native sons in the horror genre, nor knowledgeable or interested enough to realize that Franco was making a bold and even revolutionary statement within the context of Spanish film as it was at this time. It wasn't just the eroticism of equating sex with forced ravishment, but the youthful energy of the film, its experimental, jazzy musical score feeding the impulses of rebellion and rape. Regarding the latter, Dr. Orlof (one "f" in this film, two in future Orlof films) creates seedy scenarios to trap women in deserted places, so that he can kidnap them for experiments--yes, non-sexual violations of their faces and bodies, but violations nevertheless. His sightless and mute assistant Morpho is the younger partner in these crimes, the virile one if you will, the one with the physical power to capture and bind these attractive, bosoms-overflowing cabaret performers, who are equated as prostitutes in GRITOS.

For all his leering, Howard Vernon's Orlof is rather asexual, a cold scientist impassioned only by the love he has of his daughter. This icy heart is what makes him more dangerous when he meets his victims, as you realize he could murder any of them without relapsing into a guilty conscious.

No wonder the critics pounced with moral disgust.

The critics did not see the craftsmanship behind the film, the spot-on cinematography of Godofredo Pacheco complimenting Franco's already sharpened and inspirational directing skills. Hemmed in by traditional moral codes, they retreated even more by hurling acidic barbs at the film and its makers, as if to protect themselves from acknowledging their own dark desires.