Blu-ray Review: THE PAUL NASCHY COLLECTION II

Disc 1: HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE (EL JOROBADO DE LA MORGUE) was directed by Javier Aguirre from a screenplay by Alberto S. Insúa, Javier Aguirre and Paul Naschy who also stars alongside Alberto Dalbés, Rosanna Yanni and María Elena Arpón.

This 1972 horror feature follows Gotho (Paul Naschy), an outcast hunchback that works in a hospital morgue who ends up falling in love with Ilse (María Elena Arpón), a sick woman who shows Gotho some rare kindness. What happens is, Ilse ends up dying and Gotho gets a little crazy and ends up asking a doctor he trusts to help him bring her back to life. Dr. Orla (Alberto Dalbés) makes a promise to Gotho that he can bring Ilse back from the dead but the doctor has some ulterior motives at play. In the end, Gotho finally realizes that he’s been lied to and seeks out revenge on those who betrayed him. The hunchback’s Frankenstein-like story ultimately ends in tragedy.

Okay, this one is probably my favorite from this five film set plus we get a censored and uncensored version of the movie. It’s the Hunchback meets Frankenstein in this tragic love story that’s doomed from the very beginning. I liked the story and these characters were all fun to follow, especially the hunchback that was played by Paul Naschy. This hunchback has a little intelligence to him but he also has some extreme anger issues and if you make him mad, he’ll kill you in cold blood. The movie also has this Frankenstein element to it because of the mad scientist/doctor who is brought in to bring the woman back to life. Instead, he has his own sinister plans and manipulates the poor hunchback until he catches on and gets his revenge.

Run Time: 87 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features:

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Rod Barnett And Troy Guinn Of The Podcast, NaschyCast
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English) (06:11)
  • Spanish Title Sequence (02:11)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence (00:30)
  • Spanish Intertitles (00:19)
  • Still Gallery (03:44)

Disc 2: A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE (UNA LIBÉLULA PARA CADA MUERTO) was directed by León Klimovsky from a screenplay by Ricardo Muñoz Suay and stars Paul Naschy, Erika Blanc, María Kosti, Ángel Aranda and Eduardo Calvo.

This 1973 psychological-thriller takes place in Milan where a serial killer is on the loose. This deranged psychopath murders people he sees as deviant and leaves a bloodsoaked dragonfly on the body of each victim as his calling card. A detective (Paul Naschy) is assigned to investigate the case where he picks up clues and tracks down the killer as the movie plays out.

Okay, this movie was more of a graphic murder mystery than monster movie but make no mistake about it, this killer was a monster. The movie has a touch of slow burn to it but it was still a thrilling watch that reminded me of popular psycho-thrillers like The Silence of the Lambs and Seven. There was plenty of blood and gore to go along with the plot that’s sure to keep the blood hounds satisfied.

Run Time: 88 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features:

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Author Troy Howarth
  • Theatrical Trailer (02:56)
  • Spanish Title Sequence (00:54)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence (01:17)
  • Still Gallery (02:05)

Disc 3: THE DEVIL’S POSSESSED (EL MARISCAL DEL INFIERNO) was directed by León Klimovsky from a screenplay by Paul Naschy who also stars alongside Sandra Mozarowsky, Norma Sebre, Guillermo Bredeston, Mariano Vidal Molina, Graciela Nilson and Eduardo Calvo.

This 1974 medieval fantasy follows Barón Gilles de Lancré (Paul Naschy), an evil ruler who uses witchcraft and evil spirits to help him rule his kingdom. What happens is, his subjects begins to revolt against him where the evil ruler ultimately goes down in an epic battle between good and evil.

First of all, all of these five movies are so different from one another and I think Scream Factory did a great job picking them out for the set. This one is more of a medieval adventure with a fantasy element thrown in. The story was okay but the movie was an extreme slow burn and my least favorite from this set but still entertaining in its own right. This movie trades the horror factor for sword fights and action scenes that aren’t well choreographed at all.

Run Time: 95 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: 

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English) (06:57)
  • Spanish Title Sequence (01:10)
  • Spanish Credit Sequence (01:46)

Disc 4: EXORCISM (EXORCISMO) was directed by Juan Bosch from a screenplay by Jordi Gigó, Juan Bosch and Paul Naschy who also stars alongside María Kosti, Maria Perschy, Luis Induni and Jordi Torras.

This 1974 supernatural thriller follows this young woman who (unknowingly) gets possessed by her dead father’s spirit during a satanic ritual. She begins showing all of the terrifying signs of a possessed person so a local priest (Naschy) is brought in to perform an exorcism on her but it’s not as simple as it sounds. Once the priest begins, he realizes that he’s going up against pure evil and he’s in for the fight of his life to try and save the soul of this young woman.

Okay, I really liked this wild and crazy possession thriller. It’s kind of a slow burn through the first half but things really pick up as the evil spirit inside the young woman comes out to play. Naschy sort of plays the hero/antihero in this one as his character takes on this demonic force that dwells within the woman. The standouts here are the impressive special/makeup effects that look as good or better than anything we get today. Some of these scenes were uncomfortable and down right creepy at times and all of this makes for a pretty darn cool watch.

Run Time: 90 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullscreen (1.33:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features:

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • NEW Audio Commentary By Author Troy Howarth
  • Alternate “Clothed” Versions Of The Nude Scenes For The Original Spanish Release (05:58)
  • Theatrical Trailers (Spanish And English) (05:11)
  • Still Gallery (03:45)

Disc 5: THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (LA MALDICIÓN DE LA BESTIA) was directed by Miguel Iglesias from a screenplay by Paul Naschy who also stars alongside Grace MillsSilvia Solar, Luis Induni and Gil Vidal.

This 1975 creature feature follows Count Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) who travels to Tibet to look for proof that the infamous Yeti exists. Upon his arrival, he is captured by two female vampires that end up biting him and for some strange reason he transforms into a werewolf. Crazy, right? There’s also some violent pirates that come into play as well as the elusive Yeti that Waldemar (in werewolf form) has to battle it out with in the exciting finale.

Okay, I found out that this film was actually the eighth in Naschy’s werewolf films and according to what I’ve read, he gave the lycanthropy several weird new ways to become a werewolf. Like I stated earlier, in this film he gets bitten by two vampires and this is how he gets the legendary curse. The story was cheesy good fun and the movie is way out there. It’s as crazy as the title sounds plus there’s plenty of blood and nudity to go along with it all. All in all, I think this one was my second favorite of these five films.

Run Time: 94 Minutes

Rated: Not Rated

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Fullscreen (1.33:1)

Blu-ray Audio: Castilian DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 / English Dub DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features:

  • In Castilian With English Subtitles And English Dub
  • Still Gallery (02:41)

The packaging comes with a slipcase with a blue plastic keepcase inside. The front features the artwork you see up top and the back includes specs for each movie. The reverse sleeve features movie credits. There’s also an immersive 24-page booklet inside by author Mirek Lipinski that includes information about the movies, more images and posters. All five of the Blu-ray discs are flat black and feature the movie logos. Inserting each disc, the menu screens were simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for these high-definition upgrades varied with each disc. There’s some grain and a little hissing throughout the movies but that’s to be expected considering the age and obscurity. I really didn’t have any major issues with the video and audio. Scream Factory did an impressive job with these high-def upgrades.

Bottom line is, The Paul Naschy Collection II ended up being my first introduction to Paul Naschy who has been labeled as Spain’s answer to Lon Chaney. Naschy was a terrific actor but he was also an accomplished writer, producer and director as well. I missed out on the first series of films that Scream Factory released earlier this year but this next five span from 1972-1975 and in each film Naschy portrays completely different characters. I do think he enjoyed playing the villain more than anything else but a few of these movies feature Naschy as the hero/antihero. The stories were all interesting but some of the movies were much more entertaining than the others. They range from the strange and bizzare to fascinating and exotic. Something else that stands out about these five movies are the old school practical/makeup effects and the amount of nudity, because there’s a lot. I’m guessing whatever these movies lacked in plot and character development, they would make up for by showing lots of skin. Still, all five of these movies were fun to watch and I look forward to checking out more from Paul Naschy in the future. Horror purists and Naschy fans will really enjoy this nice home video release that’s similar to those epic Vincent Price sets (box, discs, specs, etc.) that Scream Factory cranked out a few years ago. The Paul Naschy Collection II will be available on November 14th and is definitely worth checking out.

 

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