MAD MAD MAD MAD MOVIES blog. Being huge Naschy fans ourselves, it seems like a perfect fit and we look as forward to writing about the man as much as reading others thoughts. While best know for his record-setting Waldemar Danisky werewolf series (standing tall at 12 entries; take that THE HOWLING sequels), Naschy was a true cinematic chameleon and hit every genre imaginable. Here at Video Junkie we are looking to highlight his less well-known titles during this week. And please be forewarned that our reviews will contain SPOILERS.
THE CRIMES OF PETIOT (LOS CRIMENES DE PETIOT) is set in Berlin, Germany and opens with a young man procuring the services of a working lady. He takes her to a run down building, but their session is quickly interrupted by a man in a black trench coat, black hat and black hood with only eyeholes. This mysterious maniac shoots the young man dead and places a skull & bones pin on his corpse. After a small chase, the killer chloroforms the girl and carries her to his lair. When the girl awakens, she finds herself chained up and the masked man in front of her. Her abductor plays a strange tape that admonishes one Madeline (not this girl’s name) for her past sins and states he is her executioner coming to get her. With that, the killer aims his Luger pistol and shoots her dead.
We then meet our main characters – antique dealer Boris Villowa (Naschy) and his journalist girlfriend Vera (Patricia Loran). She is covering the series of murders of young couples with the same modus operandi – the young man is always shot once in the head and the girl kidnapped only to be killed at a later unknown location – and Boris takes an interest in her subject. Together with fellow journalist Heinrich Weiss (Fernando Marin), Vera and Boris theorize on the killer and his/her motives. When Boris leaves on a business trip, they concoct a plan with other journalist Conrad Freund (Ramon Lillo) to trap the killer in a park by posing as romantic couples. The idea fails miserably as nearly everyone gets cold-cocked, a female from the group is kidnapped and they arouse the suspicion of Inspector Muller (Vicente Haro).
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dead as he exits the room. Vera runs about the house to escape Conrad and backtracks to the room he was sitting it. Strangely, he is still seated in his chair and Boris’ body is gone. She turns to escape and runs right into Boris. Ah, yes, he was the killer all along and explains his motives in the best SCOOBY DOO ending. His real name is Macel Decidre Petiot and it seems during World War II that the 9-year-old Marcel saw his family executed by the Nazis in France after his father’s duplicitous lover Madeline turned them in. Petiot feels he can’t be blamed for his crimes because they made him like this (“crime is like a handful of dust, impossible to contain” he eloquently puts it). Just in the nick of time, the cops who have been exploring the tunnels under the Petiot house arrive and shoot him dead, giving Vera one hell of a scoop.
The Zodiac Killer, the notorious serial killer who stalked Northern California. It was a sensational case at the time and there is no doubt Naschy was aware of it. In addition, Naschy also draws inspiration from 1940s French serial killer Marcel Petiot. Hell, that is even where he got the character’s name and I’m sure the filmmakers had no qualms cashing in on his exploits. The real Petiot was a rather sadistic murder-for-profit bastard who would offer escape routes during WWII for a price, only to inject his customers with cyanide after taking their cash. When discovered, he had 21 bodies laying about his home. Mixing those two stories results in the psychological portrait on display in THE CRIMES OF PETIOT, which shows that ultimately man is still the scariest monster. As Boris tells Vera when he is perusing her collection of true crime books, “It looks like you’ve taken your investigation very seriously.” It looks like you did too, Mr. Naschy.