Sunday, November 16, 2008


Another vintage review of one of the excellent Spanish horror releases from BCI/Deimos:

Mon., 7 April, 2008

HUMAN BEASTS (1980) is the newest vintage Paul Naschy release from BCI/Deimos. Just saw it this morning, and I liked it a lot. While I thought it a relatively minor film, at first, it has grown on me as the day wore on, and as I've given it further thought. I like that a lot.

(There will probably be some spoilers, here, for those who haven't seen the film).

Naschy is a mercenary, roped into stage-managing a robbery by his girlfriend and her brother. He gets greedy, makes off with the booty, and bumps off the brother in the process. Wounded and pursued by his spurned and revenge-minded paramour, Naschy finds refuge in an old dark house populated by a cast of oddballs with more dark secrets than you can shake a stick at.

HUMAN BEASTS takes a lot of turns. It begins as a crime thriller about a diamond heist, then about a diamond heist gone wrong, then becomes a horror piece, with a voyeuristic killer, seemingly spectral appearances by a mysterious dead woman, a house full of rich wierdos, and the Man, Naschy himself, as a nightmare-plagued anti-hero thrust into the middle of it all. The odd fusion works very well, for the most part. Everyone in the film is, as the English-language title suggests, a human beast--they put up a "normal" front to those around them but, inside, they're thinking only of themselves and ruthlessly feeding on their fellow man in various ways. Naschy's Bruno comes out looking the best, but only because he at least feels remorse for the lousy things he's done. Not that this will necessarily save him in the end...

This is another great release from BCI/Deimos, who have been doing Spanish horror fans proud (and, hopefully, making some more of them, too). The plot of HUMAN BEASTS sounds awful similar to the simultaneously released BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, which I haven't yet seen, but that film is said to be essentially a Spanish version of a giallo, and, as that particular sub-genre produced virtually nothing noteworthy except mass, I suspect I'm going to prefer HUMAN BEASTS. I'll know soon enough!

As a footnote, I still seriously question the release schedule of these discs. If the two films are as similar as they sound, why not release them at least a few months apart? And the next two simultaneous releases--WEREWOLF SHADOW and CURSE OF THE DEVIL--are both re-releases of already-available movies. Wouldn't it make more sense to mix those up, too? Ultimately, I don't suppose it really matters, but I really like these movies, and I'd like to see them do as well as possible, niche items though they are, and their release schedules, with a few exceptions, have just seemed, from the beginning, like one unnecessarily bad decision after another.


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