Thursday, December 03, 2009

RIP Paul Naschy

I've slowed on posting death notices of late, but I really should say goodbye to the "Spanish Lon Chaney,", a beloved figure in horror movie circles, and one of the handful of performers who might still be considered genuine stars of the genre. But Naschy didn't just act; he was a one-man band, enthusiastically reviving all the classic monsters in uneven but distinctive pictures that kept many a TV-watching insomniac entertained when edited, cropped, and subtitled prints turned up. (Frankenstein's Bloody Terror, which introduced his best-known werewolf character, the cursed Waldemar Daninsky, and Count Dracula's Great Love were in a seeming loop of syndication in the early days of cable.) The psycho thriller Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll and the witchcraft film Horror Rises from the Tomb, with Naschy in a dual role, are worth seeking out on DVD, as is Bloody Terror, a Frankenstein-less werewolf and vampire saga, which U.S. distributor Sam Sherman sorts out in a marvelous commentary track. Naschy clearly enjoyed his rediscovery on disc and was himself a welcome contributor to the medium.

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