Sunday, August 29, 2021

Beyond Naschy #34 - REFUGE OF FEAR (1974)

Post-apocalyptic stories don’t turn up in the Golden Age of Spanish Horror as frequently as I would like and until a listener asked us about REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) neither of us were aware of it being part of that sub-genre. Of course, once we learned about the cast, we immediately tracked down a copy and here we are! 

Also known as CREATION OF THE DAMNED the film tells the story of a small group of survivors of a possible nuclear war. These five people live in a cramped underground complex while trying to wait out the effects of radiation on the world above. The teenage son of one couple is obsessed with trying to stay in contact with the outside by shortwave radio. He lives in the hope that his girlfriend is somehow still alive but is becoming less sure of that possibility while the pair of married couples are having problems of their own. The husbands are ex-military so are using their training to maintain order but as the film begins tensions are in evidence. One wife drinks and knits while the other tries to sleep away as many hours as she can. Soon, the cracks that begin to appear in the walls of their concrete bunker aren’t the most dangerous breaks in their lives as mentally fragile people start to fracture.


REFUGE OF FEAR (1974) has a generally bad reputation which both Troy and I feel is a shame. We were drawn to see this film because it stars the wonderful Patty Shepard who, along with Craig Hill, appeared in a couple of Paul Naschy’s films. She and Hill have he most screentime and are good in their roles with the script giving them some juicy dramatic meat to chew on. The interesting script comes under discussion even as we try to not spoil the turns things take in the final act. We both feel that the director lets the film down a bit and we dig into the possible reasons for that. And we once again find a film that is richly deserving of a quality Blu-Ray release. I think this could be considered a much better film if a good print was made available.
 
If you have any comments on the film or anything else naschycast@gmail.com is the address. Or we can be found lurking over at the show’s FaceBook page as well. Thanks for listening! 





Sunday, July 4, 2021

Beyond Naschy #33 - THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974)

The Naschycast returns to the films of Amando De Ossorio for a romp through the jungle!

THE NIGHT OF THE SORCERERS (1974) a.k.a. The Night of the Witches follows a small group of researchers seeking to document the endangered species of a fictional country in Africa. They make camp near a (miniature) village and then learn from a native about the supernatural history of the area. Of course, we have been made aware of the odd rituals of ‘Bumbasa’ in a prologue showing the kidnapping, rape and beheading of a British lady in 1910 on an altar that seemingly transforms her into a leopard demon! Or, at least, a fanged disembodied head that can turn and snarl at the camera! It’s a wild ride.

Troy and I hack our way through the jungle foliage to get a good look at this strange little film. As he had done with his Blind Dead movies Ossorio is clearly trying to create a new monster of his own design. But the leopard demons offer some technical hurdles that the writer/director’s usual low budget is often unable to jump. We discuss the various forms in which we see the creatures onscreen trying to decide which of them is most effective. Since these three forms are simply leopard stock footage, fake leopard heads partially hidden by leaves and female members of the cast running in slow motion through the jungle night it can be difficult to make a conclusive choice. And Ossorio throws in enough sex and blood to keep an exploitation audience distracted from the inherent silliness of the pieces of his narrative that don’t always work. But where does this film fall in the legacy of this legendary Spanish horror filmmaker? We share our opinions and hope to hear yours.

The podcast can be reached at naschycast@gmail.com where you can send your thoughts on this episode’s film or Amando De Ossorio’s career as a whole. We’d love to hear from you! We end the show with a song from Nashville band Peachy - check them out on BandCamp. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon with more from the Golden Age of Spanish Horror.

Peachy on BandCamp

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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Naschycast #67 - TODOS LOS GRITOS DEL SILENCIO (1975)

The busiest years of Paul Naschy’s career were the early 1970’s. Moving from one project to the next at incredible speed he often finished one film while still writing the final draft of another and negotiating a deal for a third. During this period, he produced some of his best work including a large percentage of the movies that still define his image as a Spanish horror icon. But a few of his films from the 1970’s were thrillers that, for various reasons, were rarely distributed outside of Spain or even dubbed into English. This has made it very difficult to see these movies and for non-Spanish speakers to comprehend them in the rare instances of locating a copy to watch. Thank the stars for the fun-subbing community out there on the internet! 


Troy and I finally get a chance to see TODOS LOS GRITOS DEL SILENCIO (1975) and we are so happy that not even the crappy VHS sourced print can dull our enthusiasm. Yes, there are a few scenes that are a little too dark to be sure of what we’re supposed to be seeing but the fact that solid subtitles are onscreen means that we can follow the story anyway. And that turns out to be very important with this film because it is a twisty murder mystery that falls easily within the giallo genre even if it doesn’t have a few of the usual elements you might expect. ALL THE SCREAMS OF SILENCE has very little blood since the killer’s preferred method of dealing death is a silenced gun (hence the title) and the amount of flesh on display is low which might factor into this thriller being so underseen for the past forty plus years. No gore or nudity? What were they thinking? But the film does have a great performance from Naschy as a journalist chasing the bullet-slinging murderer while at the same time trying to locate his missing girlfriend. Are the two mysteries connected? With a script by Jacinto Molina you can bet some surprises are coming in the third act. 

We begin the episode with some news about the upcoming Blu-Ray release of TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD and hint at a few more commentary tracks from the Naschycast down the road. Also, we mention a new podcast project coming soon from our buddy Adrian Smith that will be of interest to fans of European Cult cinema. And we end the show with several letters from listeners that put some fresh ideas in our head for possible YouTube projects too. If you have any comments on the podcast naschycast@gmail.com is the address and we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for listening to the show! 







Friday, February 26, 2021

Naschycast #66 - SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988)

Years ago I decided that, because I did not want to watch SHADOWS OF BLOOD (1988), we would not cover it on the Naschycast. I could simply see no upside to wallowing in what we knew was commonly considered the star’s worst film. I suspected that it would be a painful and depressing experience so I opted to avoid it and instead seek out less reviled fodder for the show. But then a friend pointed Troy and I toward a humorous Australian podcast called Finding Desperado. In that show the hosts conduct a hunt for a lost film that eventually finds them bemusedly watching SOB as part of their research. After listening to the eight hilarious episodes of this podcast I realized that these two funny men with their puzzled confusion had pointed the way toward covering this movie. So, we decided to finally dive into what I’ll forever refer to as Naschy’s Nadir.

We dig into the genesis of this film starting with some details about the low point that Paul Naschy's career had reached by the mid-1980’s. We doubt that he would have participated in this shot on video ‘production’ if he'd had anything better as an alternative but chance often leads the dance in movie making. We discuss Lord Sidney Ling who is the writer/director responsible for this film including his bizarre history as a fabulist of the highest order. Finding Desperado relates much more detail about this strange man and his self-aggrandizing nature but we concentrate on what might have influenced the poorly thought out ‘story’ he concocted for SHADOWS OF BLOOD. We trudge through the film trying to understand what might have been intended, occasionally getting lost in the dull sameness of the events onscreen. The sloppy narrative follows two escaped lunatics as they walk (and walk) around Amsterdam murdering random people in a competition to see who can kill the most victims. It is a mostly embarrassing exercise in senseless tedium that, even with its short running time, will test the most devoted Naschy fan. I’m just glad we finally have this one behind us!

We have a couple of emails at the end of the show including an amazing tale from listener Kurt that reads like a possible future noir film. His brief life story is well worth knowing. If you want to add your story to the podcast naschycast@gmail.com is the address where we can be reached. Let us know what’s on your mind! And thanks for listening to the show.

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

NaschyCast #65 - Satanic Naschy with Samm!


We begin our eleventh year of the show by having a Satanic discussion!

Author and podcaster Samm Deighan returns to dig into two specific Paul Naschy films. In both EXORCISM (1975) and INQUISITION (1977) Naschy plays a man of God working to help his flock overcome the influence of The Evil One. In one he is a paragon of virtue and in the other he is definitely not. Both films feature women placed in horrible positions by outside forces that seem to be Satanic in origin. But in each case the question of the how or even if these terrible things are happening is central to story. Are these people possessed by the Devil or is there a more human quality to the awful events depicted?

Samm, Troy and I engage in a freewheeling discussion of these movies jumping from topic to topic as one point leads to another. The conversation assumes that you are familiar with both films and spoilers are certainly in the air. Religion is the main part of our talk but we also look at the obvious class commentary layered into the scripts. We talk about the movies that influenced these Naschy classics and how some later movies may have taken some ideas from them for sleazier effect. We drag in everything from HIGH PLAINS DRIFTER (1973), MALIBIMBA (1979) and ANGEL HEART (1987) as we look at different ways of portraying the Dark One onscreen. Of course, as with any such chat, we end up ranging off the main topic which is how we somehow end up in nipple territory again! I’m not sure how this happens but I’m going to blame Samm. Yeah! It’s her fault. I also make time for a short anecdote about subjecting my unsuspecting beloved to a Jess Franco directed Fu Manchu film. Give her your sympathy.

We end the show with an email that was sent to naschycast@gmail.com in which we are asked to make a terrible purchasing choice. It takes us a while to decide! You can ask similar question or tell us your favorite onscreen Satan at that same address. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 

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Monday, October 19, 2020

Beyond Naschy #32 - SLEEP TIGHT (2011)

 

Filmmaker Jaume Balagueró made the big time when he co-directed 2007’s REC but he is a much more accomplished than a found footage zombie film would imply. His feature film debut THE NAMELESS (1999) managed to both brilliantly adapt a Ramsey Campbell horror novel and find a smart way to darken the wrenching finale of the tale. Over the last twenty years he has become one of Spain’s hidden masters of taut thrillers and smart horror tales. The only complaint I have with his career is that I wish he had more completed films released but I continue to hope for more excellent cinema from him in the future. 

SLEEP TIGHT (2011) is both a thriller and a character study of a deeply unhappy man named Cesar. As the concierge of a Barcelona apartment building, he presents a pleasant face to the upper middle-class residents but behind this mask he seethes with rage at their contented lives. Since he is incapable of being happy, he staves off his suicidal ideation by finding ways to make the people he serves in the building miserable. In both small ways and large he wages a one-man war to make them uncomfortable, embarrassed or inconvenienced in any way he can imagine. But he reserves his most vicious attention for Clara, a beautiful single woman of such sunny disposition as to seem angelic. She is the focal point of Cesar’s most persistent activities aimed at making her life unbearable. His repeated failures to change her optimistic outlook seem to only enrage him further until he finally resolves to escalate things to violence. But will circumstances allow his plans to succeed? 

Troy and I dig into this film and its themes but we do our best not to spoil the final act’s shocks and surprises. Indeed, we begin the show with a discussion of several recent viewings to get the Halloween season off to the right start. We touch on THE GHOST AND MISTER CHICKEN, THE OPEN HOUSE, THE CHANGLING, the remake of THE BLOB and our plans for 2020’s indoor October 31st. It’s been a strange year, folks. We end the show with a listener email that prompts a series of interesting horror icon mash-ups. 

We hope you enjoy the episode and if you have any comments naschycast@gmail.com is the show’s address. Thank you for listening and we’ll be back soon. 

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Saturday, August 22, 2020

NaschyCast #64 - Samm Deighan Visits!


As 2020 rolls on we continue to bring new voices onto the show! This time Troy and I sit down with the amazing Samm Deighan to talk about the joys of Spanish horror. Miss Deighan is an associate editor of Diabolique Magazine and co-host of the Daughters of Darkness Podcast. She is also the editor of Lost Girls: The Phantasmagorical Cinema of Jean Rollin and her book on Fritz Lang’s M (1931) is a must read for those interested in movie serial killers. We are very lucky to have her on the show!

While the main subject of this episode is the brilliant and underseen A BELL FROM HELL (1973) there is no way to be a guest on the Naschycast without talking a (long) while about the hirsute icon of the genre – Paul Naschy! That means that at some point chest hair is brought up and hairpieces are discussed. It cannot be avoided.

Samm comes with a list of her favorite Naschy films and manages to gives us a fresh perspective on a couple of them. The repressed Spanish society is a major topic with the country’s rigid genre roles playing into the ways that these stories are told. A BELL FORM HELL is especially interesting when examining the skewed power dynamics of the story with the wheelchair bound aunt exerting her control over the only male in the family. Also, we dig into the often bizarre 1970’s film attitude toward rape as a plot point or harmless joke with the women sometimes seeming to long for the act or even encourage it. Repressive cultures shape psyches into twisted forms! The genre’s common scenes of animal cruelty get into the mix with Samm’s take on modern sensibilities bringing some unexpected laughs to Troy and I. 


But nothing can prepare you for the out-of-left-field discussion of Yeti nipples! You’ll just have to listen to understand. Plus, Troy and Samm briefly talk about their mutual love for the severely neglected folk horror film EYES OF FIRE (1983) and their wonder that it has yet to appear on any form of digital media. What is up with that?

If you have any comments or questions the show can be reached at naschycast@gmail.com or over on the podcast’s FaceBook page. Thank you for listening!