Amando de Ossorio
Born April 6th, 1918 – Died Jan. 13th, 2001
With the recent announcement that Synapse Films is working on a new restoration of the original Tombs of the Blind Dead (1970), we thought it would be a great time to pay a little tribute to the creator of our favorite undead Templars, filmmaker Amando de Ossorio.
While he started as a journalist and producing radio dramas, once he got into the film business, it was making short films and documentaries. He started making feature films but it was in 1969 when he directed his first horror film, Malenka (aka Fangs of the Living Dead) which was a little cheesy but still had some great atmosphere. But it was the following year when he created his legacy, when he wrote and directed La noche del terror ciego, better known as Tombs of the Blind Dead (1970). Keep in mind, this was only a couple of years after George Romero set loose his flesh eating zombies unto the world, before Ossorio released his undead Templars that were feasting on the blood of their victims. With a unique twist on zombies and vampires, he gave us something that is still remembered and celebrated six decades later. Continue reading
Malenka / The Feast of Satan
Released by Quartet Records
30 Tracks with a total running time of 65:39 min.
Music composed by Carlo Savina
Savina’s score for Amando de Ossorio’s 1969 film Malenka (aka Fangs of the Living Dead) is a real treat and a great way to step back in time to one of those gothic vampire pictures that we grew up with on late night television. Using primarily an organ for this score, it creates a multi-layered effects that just seeps with atmosphere. He creates this ghostly or almost other-worldly feeling, if that makes any sense, developing different sounds and melodies to enhance the gothic feel of the movie. Even as a standalone piece of music, you can’t help but be transported back to the 40 years ago, to an old run down castle, with the fog slowly covering the grounds, where you are told not to venture out at night.
Fangs of the Living Dead (1969)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Anita Ekberg, Gianni Medici, Diana Lorys, Rosanna Yanni, César Benet, Carlos Casaravilla, Adriana Ambesi, Julián Ugarte
There are times when you sit down with a movie and maybe you’re just not in the right mood, or frame of mind to really watch it. As the saying goes, you can never watch the same movie twice with the same eyes, and my experience with this title is a perfect example of this. I had seen this years ago, from a grainy old VHS tape, mainly because it was the same director as the Blind Dead series. But I didn’t remember that much of it at the time. When it came out on DVD, I course added it to the collection. I’m sure I watched it at some point, but just didn’t have a strong memory of it, meaning that if I had thought it was that great, I would have remembered it. Then the recent Blu-ray from Shout Factory came out and I was going upgrade to this new version when realized I remembered not caring for it that much. So I sat down with the DVD to refresh my memory and realized that I think I was okay with just this DVD version. Nothing really jumped out at me, so no reason to upgrade. But then I read that this new Blu-ray is actually the European cut which is a bit longer than the version I had. Then the “collector” part of me kicked in and decided I had to have this version now … I mean, it’s longer which means maybe I’m missing all the good parts! So I had to have it. Once it arrived, I sat down with it again, to see if this version was going to be another boring repeat viewing. Oh, how I was wrong.
Saly apparently is one mysterious character since it is pretty tough to find out much info about here. What we do know is that her first film she appeared in was the 1972 film La Guerrilla, and that she continued to work in films until 1985.
It was in 1975 when she made her first horror films, both with Amando de Ossorio. The first one was The Possessed, also known as Devil Witch Child, and then the last Blind Dead entry, Night of the Seagulls. It was also in that same year where she started to work with Paul Naschy. In fact, the rest of the films she appeared in where Naschy films, and the last six of them, she was even producer on them. Rumor has it that she was a flamenco dancer before getting into the film business, but not much information is available, or what happened to her once she left the business.
But no matter what, the films she did appear in, it was always a treat to watch her on screen. Her performance as the Countess Bathory in Naschy’s Night of the Werewolf is just enchanting. It must be something with those amazing eyes! So if you’re watching a Naschy flick that was made between 1975 and 1985, there’s a good chance Saly is in there somewhere.
It has been a long time coming, but finally Naschy fans will be thrilled to hear that Carmelo Bernaola’s score for the 1973 film Horror Rises from the Tomb is getting a release on CD, thanks to the fine folks at Quartet Records. Being that this is my favorite of Naschy’s films, I am shocked to see it finally getting a release. The score is not even a half hour of music, but at this point, I’ll take whatever we can get.
The Loreley’s Grasp (1974)
Directed by Amando de Ossorio
Starring Tony Kendall, Helga Liné, Silvia Tortosa, Josefina Jartin, Loreta Tovar, José Thelman, Luis Induni, Ángel Menéndez, Luis Barboo
Back in the early 80’s, I went to a midnight screening of some horror movie called When the Screaming Stopped. I had never even heard of it before, but they were passing out barf bags, so how could this not be an awesome movie! Years later, I would discover that this was the re-titling of a Spanish horror movie from Amando de Ossorio, the very man who gave us the Blind Dead series. But the feature at hand was actually Las garras de Lorelei, or The Loreley’s Grasp. Looking back, this was might have been my first introduction to Spanish horror, and probably the first time my eyes laid upon the beauty was is Helga Liné. But more on that later. Since they were passing out barf bags, the movie had to be gory, right? And at that time in my life, gore was what I was looking for. The film did deliver, on many levels. It would be years later before I truly appreciated it for what it is. And that, is one hell of a fun time.
Sex, Sadism, Spain, and Cinema: The Spanish Horror Film
by Nicholas G. Schlegel
Published by Rowman & Littlefield, 2015. 207 pages.