Friday, October 15, 2010

HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (1973)

Our journey around the world of cult horror continues as we depart Brazil and head to Spain, land of Castilian werewolves and emo hunchbacks. And, despite Paul Naschy being most famous for his wolfman films, I've decided to acquaint myself with his work through this film, which is sort of the TWILIGHT of its day. Naschy IS the hunchback of the morgue, née Gotho, and lives the sort of life hunchbacks typically live. EVERYONE in town bullies and berates him, from stone-throwing children to medical professionals who call him a "hellish abortion". Only the lovely Ilse (Maria Elena Arpon, who got eaten by the BLIND DEAD) treats him with civility...

So, naturally, she dies! And Gotho is grief-strickened. But he meets doctor Orla, who promises to restore her to life in exchange for the hunchback's help with his mad-science experiments. Ilse sticks around for a bit as a corpse suffused with rats (Spanish JUMPING RATS, presumably the rat equivalent of running zombies). Orla also seeks help from fellow doctor Peter Tauchman, whose honey Frieda is none too pleased with the Frankensteinean goings-on.

This is not a spectacular film. Aside from Naschy's memorably emotional acting and the beauty of eventual love interest Rosanna Yanni, HUNCHBACK doesn't boast too much that isn't done better elsewhere. There's some splatter and the flow of scenes is sort of exciting and unpredictable (Gotho moping is followed by Gotho killing or kidnapping), but overall this is not a new Eurojewel in hiding. It's fine enough and professional enough and I didn't curse fate for making me watch it, but I doubt I'd ever sit through it again.

I will, however, check out additional Naschy work, since he obviously has interesting attributes as an actor. And I will also seek out additional Rosanna Yanni material, since I'm a big fan of hotness. One other thing about this disc...the subtitling is "immperfect," perhaps comparable to a fansub created by drunks ("If there are no news about Marlene when I'll be back, we call the police!"). And sometimes oddly Southern, with dropped-g endins and everythin'.
#15 of 31. I am so very tired.

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