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BLU RAY - Paul Naschy Collection is Upgraded
By Film Fan
As a Paul Naschy fan it is hard to pass any new releases of his material. I am basing my rating on comparisons to the old BCI DVDs and the German imports from Subkultur. Now, not all of the films in this collection are part of the Subkultur set (which is still in progress - one release at a time). If paying full price for the set ($70+) you get 5 films for the price of 1.5 imports! Easy enough to decide there. But, the transfers themselves...
Scream Factory uses the same masters for this set as the BCI DVDs, however, those were HD masters and now can fully utilize the HD format of Blu Ray. The upgrade, even though many may not see a major difference, is there. Compared to the BCI Blu Ray of Night of the Werewolf and Vengeance of the Zombies (both 1080i on that release) this is a major upgrade. Gone is the haze of that set and now in 1080p, but look at Aurora de Alba's hair in the attached captures. The first is from the new Scream Factory release and the second is from the BCI blu ray.
Keep the old BCI DVDs since the Naschy introductions are not on this new set, probably due to rights/licensing. You do get new commentaries on a few films AND the English dub for Human Beasts! This set is a must for North America!
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Cheesy but entertaining Spanish horror
To most movie fans, the works of Paul Naschy are unknown, principally because his films are in Spanish and are mostly horror. To the uninitiated, Naschy is something of a modern, Spanish equivalent of Lon Chaney, Jr. Both come as large and physically imposing, even if they sometimes have a bit of doughiness. Both also weren't very picky about the movies they would appear in. The Paul Naschy Collection is a set of five movies that illustrate these points.
In the order I watched them, the first film is also the most recent (done in the 1980s, while the others were shot in the `70s): Human Beasts. Naschy plays a mercenary who helps a Japanese group steal some diamonds and then betrays the bunch of them, including his lover. This leads to a showdown with the gang that leaves most of them dead, but Naschy wounded. He recovers in the house of a doctor and his beautiful daughters. While his Japanese ex hunts him down, he finds that the house has a sinister secret or two.
Horror Rises From the Tomb has Naschy in dual roles, both as a medieval warlock and his modern day descendant who resurrects him. It was done better in Mario Bava's Black Sunday, but what the story lacks in writing it makes up for with lots of blood and gratuitous nudity (both of which are staples in almost all these movies).
Vengeance of the Zombies has Naschy in three roles as a Hindu mystic, his evil brother and (in a dream sequence) as Satan. The evil brother is animating the dead for his own sinister purposes, principally to become immortal.
Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll is, like Human Beasts, a non-supernatural story. Naschy is a hitchhiker who becomes the handyman at an estate owned by three sisters. Haunted by a killing he once committed, Naschy becomes the prime suspect when new killings occur. The answer, however, is not that simple.
Exorcism is an obvious take-off on The Exorcist. A young woman participates in some Satanic ceremonies and is soon possessed. Then people start dying, but fortunately, Naschy, as a priest/demonologist is around to try and make things better.
All of the films look nice, but none are really great movies. Naschy himself is only okay as an actor (or a writer: he wrote much of this under his real name of Jacinto Molina). There is a decent amount of extras, and there's enough sporadic entertainment to merit a low four stars. If you like European horror, you're better off with the works of Mario Bava or Dario Argento, but Naschy's films do have some merit.