Today would have been the 82nd birthday of Spanish horror icon, Jacinto Molina, better known to us horror fans as Paul Naschy. Though he has been gone for almost seven years now, his memory and legacy is still as strong now, if not more, then when he was still with us. I think that has something to do with the fact that Naschy himself was so passionate about his work that it still comes through in the countless films that he left us. And with each new year passing, younger fans become aware of him and his work and his legacy continues. Thanks to DVD and blu-ray, and companies like Demios, Vinegar Sydrome, Kino Lober, Code Red, and the rest, they are helping keeping him and his films alive and well, and available for years to come.
So to honor this great writer/actor/director/wolfman, I think we need to spend at least a few hours dedicated to his work at some point this month. But instead of just throwing in one or two of his flicks to enjoy on your own, make an event out of it. Get some friends together for it. Even better, get some friends that haven’t seen that many, or any of Naschy’s movies, so you can convert another fan! Most importantly, celebrate them!
But no matter what or how you do it, let us spend a little bit of time to show that this man, along with the hundreds of other talented people that worked very hard in the Spanish horror genre, that all of their hard work is still appreciated and still respected all these years later.
Just in case you need some suggestions for some Naschy titles to watch, here are a few that I feel are well worth your time. Or if you have any particular title that we didn’t mention that you feel is worth seeing as well, post them here in the comments.
Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror (1967) – This was the movie that started it all. Originally titled Mark of the Wolfman, and written by Naschy and then stepping into lead acting role, he gave us a tale filled with werewolves and vampires….and sadly no Frankenstein as the title suggests, though there is a great story behind that. But even without, the film still gives us a powerful start to the long running character of Waldemar Daninsky that will continue for many years to come.
Dr. Jekyll vs the Werewolf (1972) – Continuing his monster-rama themes, in this film, Daninisky is trying find a cure for his ‘carnivous lunar activies” with the help of Dr. Jekyll, using his dreaded elixir. A lot of fun here.
Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973) – This was my very first introduction to Naschy’s work and still remains my favorite to this day. Zombies, bodiless villains, witches, Helga Line, and so much more fun! Great cast, well shot, plenty of great effects, I think you’ll enjoy this one quite a bit.
Hunchback of the Morgue (1973) – In this film, we get to see Naschy going for the pathos of the traditional hunchback character. But he gives us much more than what we’re used to, throwing in a crazy scientist and a wailing gooey monster! Plenty of blood and guts in this one.
Count Dracula’s Great Love (1973) – While Naschy might not have fit the physical look of the famous immortal count, he still give us the love strickened Count with a lot of depth and a different take than we’ve seen before. Plenty of atmosphere here.
Blue Eyes of a Broken Doll (1974) – Something a little different this time out, when Naschy giving us an Italian giallo inspired film that is well worth seeing. Highly underrated.
The Mummy’s Revenge (1975) – Here we have Naschy taking on the role of another famous monster classic, but gives a much different performance than the one we’re used to. Much different. Naschy makes the character of the mummy scary once again, which is something that most in this sub-genre couldn’t do.
Night of the Howling Beast (1975) – This was my first taste of the Daninsky/werewolf film series of Naschy’s and remains one of my favorites as well. Just a good old fashion monster romp, with plenty of crazy action, bizarre cave-dwelling cannibals, and a Yeti! How could you go wrong? Might have problems finding a good copy of it, but it is well worth looking for.
People Who Own the Dark (1976) – While Naschy only has a co-starring role here, this title is still more than work seeking out. A group of people are stranded in an resort house after something happened outside the walls, causing the locals to go blind. And now they are seeking vengeance! An incredible cast make this film very memorable.
Night of the Werewolf (1981) – This is a remake of Naschy’s earlier film The Werewolf vs the Vampire Women, only this time he directs as well as wrote and acts in it. And in my opinion, is ten times better than the original. Again…my opinion. It is probably one of the best looking werewolf makeups, plenty of gore, nudity, a strong cast, and all the things that make these Spanish flicks so enjoyable.
Long Live Paul Naschy!