TV Party Tonight! #31

TV Party Tonight! #31

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Monday, 26 June 2017
COLUMN

The Paul Naschy Collection
Shout! Factory

Every now and then, a movie falls on your lap that charms the pants off you. This time it was five movies. Not having known a single thing about Paul Naschy, I really didn’t know what I was getting into when checking out this collection. But boy, am I glad I did. What you’re getting with Paul Naschy movies are visceral, low budget, and very interesting horror flicks. It’s not for nothing that he’s known as the Spanish Lon Chaney, whoever he is.

What I found important to enjoy this collection is to really use your first movie as a primer for the rest of the stuff in the collection. Yes, they are very different styles of horror that Naschy plays with here, but the general spirit and look is prominent through all of them. These are classic horrors in the vein of demon worshipping and killers-on-the-loose, over the top gore, beautiful women, and sometimes pretty hilarious dialogue (and music). It’s quite surprising how enjoyable these films are and how great the acting and production value are for movies that are considered low-budget even for their day. The stories themselves although formulaic at times often throw us for a loop in ways that we never saw coming. Naschy himself completely commands the scene and as a viewer you grow to like him and look forward to seeing him as much as possible. The man has a captivating style, what can I say, and I would highly recommend these movies to anyone.

Naschy has been in dozens of movies and one can only hope that this blu-ray collection is one of many to come. These particular films run the gamut of werewolves, the undead, vampires, killers and the occult and it’s easy to believe they just scratch the surface of themes Naschy worked with.

Shout Factory has really stepped up to the plate and transferred these movies to high definition discs for this collection. These films were hard to find to begin with with all the different names they were known as and let alone finding a good print that offers both original and dubbed tracks. In addition there are commentary tracks (sadly only 3) with Naschycast contributors Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn who give their commentary as an informative conversation instead of making it sound like they’re lecturing. These guys are as funny and charming as Naschy himself and really know their stuff. It would have been nice to have some more bonus content like some interviews with Naschy himself or some featurettes, but considering how juice this offering is, we should count our lucky stars. A home run.

Get it from Shout!

Some observations on the commentary:

  • Horror Rises from the Tomb seems to be the golden child in this collection and according to Barnett and Guinn, Naschy wrote it over a weekend, locked in a room hopped up on psychedelics.
  • Horror Rises from the Tomb seems to be a rip off of sorts on the Thing that Wouldn’t Die, but Naschy never commented on whether that’s the case.
    That extended scene before the credits in Night of The Werewolf is clearly a production error and was supposed to be supplemented with an additional sequence. Instead it’s just strikingly weird.
  • Naschy had to make his characters non-Spanish in his films because the Fracoist censorship wouldn’t allow Spaniards to be portrayed as grotesque in any way. Hence the polish characters.
  • Speaking of Francoist censorship, the clothed sequences were filmed so the films could air in Spain. The rest of the world got nudity to enjoy.
  • Naschy’s name comes from a German wrestler he liked. So in many of his movie’s he’s a Spaniard with a German nickname playing a foreigner from another country.

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