Archive for the Spain Category

FACELESS (1987) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in Film, France, horror, jess franco, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2013 by goregirl

This weekend I had a serious 80s fixation! It started with Faceless than I moved to the excellent White of the Eye (1987), on to the hilarious Polyester (1981), a little hardcore porn (porn of the weirdest, funniest and most surrealistic variety possible) with Night Dreams (1981) and finished up with the wonderfully wacky Dr. Caligari (1989), It was a helluva fun weekend of movie watching! I also went to two documentaries as part of my DOXA experience; Casting By and Perverts Guide to Ideology. Wine was drank. It was a good weekend.

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Christmas in Paris; a man and two women, clearly well to do, are being driven around in a limousine. The man is a doctor named Frank Flamand. Flamand is confronted in a parking garage by an unhappy customer. Quicker than you can say The Awful Dr. Orlof the angry customer is throwing acid in the face of Ingrid Flamand. Forward to the immediate future and we meet model Barbara Hallen who decides to buy her coke from the wrong sort of people. People who in fact want to remove her face and affix it to someone else’s. Clearly it is the good Dr. Frank Flamand behind the shenanigans. Flamand along with the help of his assistant and lover Nathalie are stealing women’s faces to save Ingrid’s. Problem is Dr. Flamand is not a good enough doctor to pull it off. He seeks the aid of Dr. Orlof who hooks him up with a former Nazi doctor Dr. Karl Heinz Moser. Meanwhile Barbara Hallen’s father has hired private detective Sam Morgan to find her.

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The godawful 80s theme song played during the opening credits is played multiple times throughout the film. They repeat it so goddamn many times it got to be funny after a while. I enjoyed the hell out of Faceless but I am always going to think of that theme song when I recall it. It is featured in this trailer too; check it out…

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Faceless features a cast of familiar and talented European actors and actresses that is well worth noting. I’ll also add that this is one of the more coherent Franco films. The dialog is actually not bad, although there are a couple unintentional laughs. Nathalie is pretty gleeful about her acquisition of reluctant female face donors. Nathalie is a sadistic, horny, kleptomaniac played perfectly by Brigitte Lahaie. She is all sorts of fun! Helmut Berger is serious as cancer playing the mad doctor; that Helmut Berger guy is great. Sam Morgan the private dick takes a few good beatings and really steps up to the plate to rescue the damsel; Christopher Mitchum was well cast and looks plenty defectivey. That is one really bad-ass acid scar on poor Ingrid Flamand. Ingrid is upset a lot and is getting sick and tired of all the damn surgeries. Ingrid is not the most enviable role in the film, but Christiane Jean does just fine. The doctor’s handyman Gordon is an Igor type character Franco-style. He does whatever is asked of him but sometimes takes liberties with the face donors. He is a pretty creepy dude and Gerard Zalcberg gets that. Anton Diffring harnesses his inner-Nazi beautifully as Dr. Karl Heinz Moser the former Nazi doctor. Caroline Munro does a sweet job as the big-80s-haired coke snorting kidnapped model Barbara Hallen. Her father Terry Hallen is played by Telly Savalas who has a few brief scenes in an office. And finally, I loved the little cameo where Howard Vernon plays Dr. Orlof as he did for Franco previously in the titular role of The Awful Dr. Orlof (1962).

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Faceless is 100% pure Jess Franco and is without a doubt one of my favourite post 70s offerings. It is definitely one of Franco’s most energetically paced not to mention gorier films. Violence and action appear at regular intervals ranging from acid in the face and a drill to the head to a hilarious fist fight and an axe versus fire extinguisher battle. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their face! The story is not exactly original, Franco himself directed the aforementioned The Awful Dr. Orlof with a similar premise. But rest assured, this is clearly a product of the 1980s, the huge hair, big shoulder pads, bad music and graphic gore of the decade make this film shine.

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Faceless is screamingly 80s; sleazy, violent, funny, well-cast and a real riot! Highly recommended.

Dungeon Rating: 5/5

Directed By: Jesus Franco

Starring: Helmut Berger, Brigitte Lahaie, Telly Savalas, Christopher Mitchum, Stéphane Audran, Caroline Munro, Christiane Jean, Anton Diffring, Tilda Thamar, Howard Vernon

THE MUMMY’S REVENGE (1973) – The Dungeon Photo Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2013 by goregirl

I’ve said it before and I will say it again and again; I love Paul Naschy. As is often his shtick; he plays multiple roles in The Mummy’s Revenge. Here he plays Amenhotep (both manly and moldy mummy form) and Assad Bey a wealthy modern-day descendant. I have no complaints about any of the cast; Jack Taylor is excellent as Professor Stern, María Silva is charming as Abigail, Helga Liné gives her usual solid and sexy performance and Rina Ottolina who plays both Helen and Amarna is empathetic and gorgeous. Carlos Aured (who directed one of my other all-time favourite Naschy flicks Curse of the Devil) directs with gusto. The sets are simply superb! I loved how they went to the trouble of draping the sacrificial maidens in the same gauzy fabric as the curtains that adorned the room. Nice touch! The costumes and makeup were also a real treat. There is a significant quantity of throat-cutting and head squishing adorned with nice bright red paint-like blood. This DVD was a lovely clean print and it was a real treat to see some Naschy subtitled! There is only one way to honor a film like The Mummy’s Revenge; a picture review.

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Amenhotep rules his kingdom with a ruthless hand! Here he is with his favourite concubine Amarna enjoying some torture and death while they feast.

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The blood is a sacrifice to their god.

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Needless to say; the people are unsatisfied with Amenhotep’s rule.

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Sure Mr. Amenhotep, I would be more than happy to fetch you a drink. 

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“They’ve poisoned me!”

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“One day I will be free and I shall unleash my hatred upon the world.”

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Amenhotep in his fancy sarcophagus.

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Professor Nathan Stern and Abigail discovering Amenhotep’s sarcophagus.

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These two might be up to no good.

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Landsbury Foundation – Ancient Art Collection (they keep art there).

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“This is one of the greatest archeological discoveries…”

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Reading from the papyrus found in a box near Amenhotep’s body: “We will bury him alive so that his black spirit roams without peace or tranquility”.

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“You’ll have to forgive me, my head hurts badly.” She thinks her head hurts now! 

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“…Then when the confluence of the stars is propitious…” I felt the need to include this partial sentence.

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Three maidens walking alone at night; this one fell down. “Anne, Marie! Come here please!”

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Back to sacrificing…must bring back Amenhotep!

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“Horus, Favourite of Osiris…” Blah blah bring back Amenhotep!

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“It’s horrible, horrible Mr. Commissioner, the three have disappeared.”

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Now to give the blood to Amenhotep… Zanufer, you hold the incense.

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It’s alive!

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I’m squishing your head!

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“That’s absurd, incredible; a mummy can’t come back to life!”

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“…to free me from my millennial immobility…” I can’t deny, millennial immobility would suck.

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Holy shit! Is that a freaking mummy?!

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After millennial immobility Amenhotep sure knows how to get around!

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“There is something perverse about Assad Bey, disquieting.”

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Cool peephole shot of Professor Stern and Helen as they drop by uninvited to the Assad Bey household.

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Peephole shot from their perspective.

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Helen (who bares a striking resemblance to Amenhotep’s favourite concubine Amarna) falls under the trance of the moldy mummy who wanders nearby.

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The crippled Sir Douglas Carter alone.

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The mummy approaches…

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Assad Bey and Zanufer discuss double-crossing Amenhotep.

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Professor Stern and Abigail surprised in the dark by Amenhotep.

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The final scene…I will leave you guessing.

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Fin.

Dungeon Rating: 4/5

Directed By: Carlos Aured

Starring: Paul Naschy, Jack Taylor, María Silva, Helga Liné, Eduardo Calvo, Fernando Sánchez Polack, Luis Gaspar, José Yepes, Juan Antonio Soler

PERDITA DURANGO (1997) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 18, 2013 by goregirl

I thoroughly enjoyed Álex de la Iglesia’s Day of the Beast, so the director’s name was on my radar. When his film Perdita Durango showed up on the 1997 IMDB horror list I knew it was one I had to seek out immediately. Is there anything better than discovering a director with an already well-established resume of films?! For me it is absolutely goregasmic! Álex de la Iglesia’s Perdita Durango certainly did not disappoint but I would hardly call it a horror film.

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Perdita Durango and Romeo Dolorosa meet at the Mexican border. Romeo is attracted to Perdita at first glance and asks her if she would like to accompany him on his journey. In the back of his vehicle is a freshly dug up corpse that he plans on using in one of his rituals. Romeo introduces himself to Perdita as a scientist but is in fact a practitioner of Santeria, a syncretic religion that he believes brings him good fortune in exchange for blood sacrifice. They manage to cross the border without incident. After some energetic sweaty sex Romeo conducts his ritual as his partner Adolfo collects money. Perdita does not actually believe in this hocus pocus but Romeo does and she is happy enough to play along. Romeo is introduced to Santo through his cousin and agrees to take a job. $10,000 in cash up front and another $10,000 when the delivery is made. The task is to get a truckload of fetuses across the Mexican border to a Las Vegas cosmetic company. Romeo however is unaware he is being trailed by Willie Dumas; Special Agent for the Federal Narcotics Division. Perdita suggests he hold one more ritual before he performs the job. She suggests a gringo be sacrificed; something his followers will never forget. Faster than you can say pass the tequila; the couple kidnap a pair of blond-haired all American college students. And so begins the adventures of Perdita and Romeo!

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I had no idea there was a tie-in to David Lynch’s Wild at Heart until someone on twitter mentioned it to me. I have seen Wild at Heart at least 20 times in my life and did not make the connection. Shame on me!! In fairness Perdita Durango is a very minor character in Wild at Heart, but still I should have clued in. After seeing Rosie Perez in the role I think Isabella Rossellini was an odd choice. I am dying of curiosity to read Barry Gifford’s book 59 Degrees and Raining: The Story of Perdita Durango. Barry Gifford wrote the books on which both Wild at Heart and Perdita Durango are based. Evidently Barry Gifford also wrote the screenplay to Perdita Durango along with David Trueba, Alex de la Iglesia and Jorge Guerricaechevarría. In a way the two films are somewhat similar although there is more humour in Perdita Durango and less weirdness; but both could certainly qualify as violent love stories.

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Rape, murder, robbery, grifting, kidnapping, Perdita and Romeo do it all! Perdita and Romeo are both people who take what they want and rarely question the results of their actions. There really is something undeniably appealing to me about characters with no borders. Have you never had the urge to be naughty? I mean…really naughty? Have you never dreamt of holding up a bank with 70s-era Franco Nero or robbing an art gallery with a blond-haired and pierced Tadanobu Asano? Okay, I might be alone on those two. Most of us however weigh the consequences and don’t act on these urges. It is so much fun living precariously through fictional film characters!

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Perdita Durango

Javier Bardem and Rosie Perez have positively electric chemistry! Perdita Durango is the role Rosie Perez was born to play! She is trashy, dangerous, and unforgiving as Perdita but she is also spunky, full of life and alluring. I really loved her in this role; I really don’t think she has ever been better or more perfectly cast! Perdita has a reoccurring dream where she is in bed with a Jaguar; it speaks so perfectly to the character’s personality! Javier Bardem is psychotic, charismatic and full of sexual bravado as Romero Dolorosa. He is the perfect partner for Perdita and the two have an undeniable fiery connection. Duane and Estelle the young couple Perdita and Romeo kidnap are blindingly blond all-American types whose scrubbed clean existence is utterly rocked by the eccentric duo. They are raped, slapped, pushed around, screamed at and witness some serious violence at the hands of Perdita and Romeo. Their world will be forever changed after this experience; if of course they survive it. Harley Cross and Aimee Graham are equal parts grating and sympathetic; Duane and Estelle sort of grew on me by the end of the film. Federal agent Willie Dumas is a douchebag, and a damn durable one; James Gandolfini is perfect in the role; his character takes a serious freaking beating! Romeo’s ritual right hand man Adolfo is an absolute hoot and is played with great enthusiasm by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. Don Stroud plays Santos and is dead on as the bad-ass gangster.

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There is a ton of violence and sweaty sex in this film! What can I say? I like violence and sweaty sex! Does it have a moral lesson to teach us? Sure, if you consider live by the sword die by the sword a moral lesson. Perdita Durango is funny, violent, action-packed, sexy, salty and a crapload of energetic fun!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

Starring: Rosie Perez, Javier Bardem, Harley Cross, Aimee Graham, James Gandolfini, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, Demián Bichir, Carlos Bardem, Santiago Segura, Harry Porter, Carlos Arau, Don Stroud, Alex Cox, Miguel Galván, Regina Orozco

THE DAY OF THE BEAST (1995) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2013 by goregirl

The best thing about doing these top ten lists is discovering the hidden treasures. For all my (mostly justified) whining every year of the 1990s has had at least one previously undiscovered nugget of gold. One of my favourite new discoveries so far has been The Day of the Beast, an action/comedy/horror hybrid from Spain. The Day of the Beast is about the end times; you know, when the Antichrist will be born upon this earth and will reign supreme over all mankind. I have no idea why there are not more comedies on the subject because personally I think that shit has such enormous humorous potential!

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Angel Berriartua a Priest and Theology Professor has cracked the code and discovered the day on which the Antichrist will be born. Angel travels to Madrid committing as much sin as possible in an attempt to  invoke the devil. He has figured out the birth will take place in Madrid, but the problem is he has no idea where in Madrid. Angel meets Jose Maria a dedicated fan of heavy metal working in a small record store. Jose gives him the address of a boarding house his mother runs and recommends he check out a club called Hell. Angel is getting desperate as the time ticks away and decides a television personality calling himself Cavan can help. Angel and Jose Maria follow Cavan home where Angel knocks him out and ties him up. Cavan of course, is nothing more than a television personality and admits to Angel that he is a fraud. Angel refuses to hear it, and gives Cavan a good beating and insists he guide him through an invocation ritual. Much to Cavan’s surprise the ritual works but will they discover the location of the Antichrist’s birth before it is too late?

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Whether Angel has indeed cracked the code and discovered the true birth date of the Antichrist is left ambiguous right up to the finale. The Day of the Beast’s opening scene starts out with a monstrous sized cross falling and crushing a priest to death. A bad sign perhaps, but a sign of the impending birth of the Antichrist? Not necessarily. During the ritual performed by Angel, Cavan and Jose Maria they see some trippy weird shit, but as part of the ritual they mix acid into the blood. Could be tripping out right? Considering their mission is to locate some pregnant woman somewhere and kill her baby, one would like to be 100% sure. Of course Angel believes it completely and utterly. No one can sway Angel from his mission and he does some pretty crazy things with such utter conviction. Watching Angel sinning up a storm was hysterical. He steals money from a beggar, keys some cars, steals a book, swipes a guy’s luggage and listens to death metal among other naughtiness. Angel is a fantastic character; his actions cracked me up regularly.

Jose Maria is the last person you would expect to hook up with a priest. Jose Maria is a dedicated metal fan, part time record store clerk and a full time acid head. When we first meet Jose he is handling a shoplifter by shoving the guy’s head through a glass display case. An intimidating few seconds but Jose is really a pussycat. He lives in the boarding house with his grandfather who walks around in the nude and his mother who is one tough broad. He gives his grandpa half a hit of acid every day to give him some pep. He is also a big fan of Jesus Christ Superstar. He is not exactly the brightest light bulb but he does end up being quite helpful and even a hero by the time the film is over. Mina is the young woman he loves. Not really, but he’s been trying to bang her for a while and she just isn’t giving in. Mina helps out at the boarding house and is the only twenty-something virgin in Madrid; she becomes important.

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“I can help you achieve the impossible” Cavan

Cavan is a hugely popular television star loved by wives and mothers all over Madrid. He can tell you your future, he can perform exorcisms and he can even invoke the devil. Cavan arrives home to a message from his girlfriend saying that she is on her way over. Cavan doesn’t hesitate when the door bell rings. Unfortunately for Cavan it is Angel and he is about to give him a good whack to the head. Cavan is a rather good sport about all of it if you ask me. He takes a pretty freaking good beating from Angel. Of course no one is more surprised when the invocation appears to have worked than him. Cavan is the perfect arrogant showman, just the sort of character you would expect to be hosting an occult television show. Cavan is alright man.

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The Day of the Beast does have a few serious moments, and a few violent ones too but let’s face it, the coming of the Antichrist can’t be all fun and games! The Day of the Beast is a ton of energetic, funny, action-packed goodness. The characters are a blast and the acting is great. The Day of the Beast is seriously entertaining! Highly recommended!

Dungeon Rating: 4.5/5

Directed By: Álex de la Iglesia

Starring: Álex Angulo, Armando De Razza, Santiago Segura, José María, Terele Pávez, Nathalie Seseña, Maria Grazia Cucinotta

BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1974) – The Dungeon Review!

Posted in horror, movies, Spain with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 24, 2012 by goregirl

I know most of you will never ever enjoy Paul Naschy films like I do. Paul Naschy is a perfect fit in the world of low-budget Euro-trash. Whether he is playing good or evil Naschy always gets the ladies! Even when he is a wolf-man he gets laid! Some of Naschy’s films feel like a porn flick without the pornography. Naschy exudes macho confidence; it is not uncommon to see him strike a Captain Morgan-like pose, sometimes with his shirt off. It is a bonus when he does the cocked eyebrow thing. Boom-chicka-chicka-boom! Sure, he can pour it on thick at times but that is all part of his charm. Naschy is not just an actor, he is also a director. One of my favourite Naschy films, The Night of the Werewolf stars and was directed by Mr. Naschy. I won’t deny that some Naschy films are plagued by poor continuity, awful dubbing and logy pacing but there are definitely some seriously entertaining gems in the mix. Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll is extra special because it is a Spanish Giallo! Not only do we get a shirtless Naschy who is seducing a household of psychotic women (the film’s alternative title is House of Psychotic Women!); we get death dramatic jam-packed with red herrings! Boom-chicka-chicka-boom!

Gilles is an escaped convict hitchhiking his way across Spain in search of work. After enjoying a cheese sandwich and a glass of wine he is picked up by a local woman named Claude who offers him work at her home where she lives with her two sisters; Nicole and Yvette. Gilles arrival coincides with the grisly murders of women who have had their eyes plucked out, making him the most obvious suspect. But Gilles is not the only one with secrets in this sordid story including the trio of lovely ladies, the doctor, the suspicious new nurse, the bitter barmaid and even the police captain.

All three sisters have their eye on Gilles but it is the youngest sister Nicole who aggressively pursues him. She even has her own plucky-porny music when she is on the prowl! In one scene she just plants herself a few feet away from Gilles as he is doing some yard work. Naughty Nicole apparently doesn’t get out much and complains she is being kept at home like a prisoner by her sister Claude. Claude has a badly disfigured arm and wears an ugly prosthetic hand. She is a severe looking woman with her hair tightly pulled back and conservative clothing. She is painfully self-conscience and stand-offish but Naschy breaks down her tough facade (it is all about how you caress the prosthetic!). Before you can say boom-chicka-chicka-boom Claude is letting her hair down and donning a mini-skirt and go-go boots! Finally we have the beautiful wheelchair-bound sister Yvette. Dr. Phillipe believes her paralysis is psychological. Poor Yvette doesn’t really get to have much fun at all! Enter foxy lady number four; Michelle the replacement nurse. Michelle shows up with a letter for Dr. Phillipe allegedly explaining why she has come in place of another nurse. It’s all fun and games until someone has both of their blue eyes plucked out!

I could not help but notice Gilles only took one sip of wine from his glass before leaving the roadside cafe. Who does that? Yeesh! Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll actually has a fairly jaunty pace for a film of its ilk. Granted, it takes a little while before the first corpse shows up but there are plenty of curiosities to keep you occupied in the meantime. We are treated to Gilles spontaneous dreamy flashbacks where he strangles a woman in an empty room. I assume this was the woman he killed to land himself in prison. The interaction between Gilles and the ladies is quite entertaining, even if some of it was unintentionally funny.

I rather enjoyed the cast of Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll. The trio of sisters played by Diana Lorys, Eva León and Maria Perschy were perfectly chosen. Do I need to say anymore on Mr. Naschy? I love him! There is sex, nudity and violence, although it is relatively tamed, even for 1974. The film looked quite decent and at times is actually quite stylish. There are some well-executed moments of suspense and a particularly kooky and fabulous finale. I especially enjoyed the shots of two black gloved hands dumping two freshly-plucked eyeballs into a bowl of water! It keeps you guessing right up to the end. Some of that might be due to the ideas that are introduced and simply abandoned or the key plot points that never receive a substantial explanation; but hey! I never said the film was perfect.

I really really dug Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll! It had everything I have come to expect from Euro-trash of the 70s; sex and nudity, lovely ladies, a convoluted plot, a black-gloved killer, red herrings and a mucho macho performance from one of my favourite men of the era Paul Naschy! Despite some flaws Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll comes highly recommended. Boom-chicka-chicka-boom!

Dungeon Review: 4/5

Directed By: Carlos Aured

Starring: Paul Naschy, Diana Lorys, Eduardo Calvo, Eva Leon, Inés Morales, Antonio Pica, Luis Ciges, Pilar Bardem, Maria Perschy