Monday, 3 October 2011



You'd think from the reviews on the IMDb that this was a full-on tits and gore extravaganza, with much nudity and senseless splatter. Not that the reviews section of the IMDb are a particular beacon of intelligence - check out their dimwitted bleatings against Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and its lack of machine gun battles and exploding speedboats - but it would appear that this Spanish sleaze offering is available in two versions: one with hooters and blood, one without. Guess which one I ended up with? Not that padding out the running time with around eight minutes of naked women and heart-ripping would have helped much, but given that it's pretty much all the film's got going for it, it's not fair either to the film or the audience to remove it.

Horror Rises From The Tomb (El Espanto Surge De La Tumba) is, at least in its cut version, a pretty dull piece of trash in which the legendary Paul Naschy stars as a warlock, executed in 1454 but vowing revenge. In present day (1970s) Paris, his descendant, also played by Naschy, goes off to his ancestral home with an artist and their respective lady friends. Forced off the road by bandits (who are promptly hung by the locals!) and conned into the extortionate purchase of a crappy old wartime Citroen, they hole up at the mansion with the intention of looking for treasure in the catacombs. What they find is the severed head of the old warlock, which immediately starts possessing people so he can be reunited with his body and brought back to life.

There are zombies, several scythe murders, and a handy magical talisman than can convert the possessed. Mostly, however, there's a lot of badly pan-and-scanned dullness accompanied by a tiresome organ soundtrack. It is entirely possible that the longer version with the nude women and more violence shown in the correct ratio is a better viewing experience, but that's sadly not the version I saw, and the mystery as to how Jacinto Molina Alvarez, aka Paul Naschy, became of the legendary names of European horror remains unsolved.


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