What better way to bring the Paul Naschy blogathon to a close than by listing some of our favorite Paul Naschy flicks. These are the ones we would recommend to the beginners as the best examples of the man's work, the films that will help you unleash your inner Naschy beast.
Thomas T. Simmons:
1. THE HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE: This was also my first Naschy movie, but unfortunately the experience was marred by the fact that I rented the butchered RUE MORGUE MASSACRES tape back in the day and walked away wondering what all the fuss was about. It wasn’t until I bought a copy of the widescreen, uncut Japanese release from a dude selling dupes with handwritten labels that I had my Nascepiphany. From Naschy’s pathos laden performance to the jaw-dropping “wtf” moment with what appears to be a monster made of poop, in my humble opinion, you can keep your wolfmen, this is his crowning achievement.
2. NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST: You know I said how you could keep your wolfmen? Ok, so I kinda lied. “Kinda” because this really doesn’t have much werewolf action in it, but it’s a great flick anyway. You have an lycanthropic explorer in the Himalayas encountering a Mongol-esque warrior king with a fatal skin condition who lives in ice caves with hot chicks who wear see-through nighties and there is a Yeti on the loose! WtF?! Find me another movie with anything close to that. See? You got nothing.
3. ULTIMO KAMIKAZE: It’s really tough to pick out three top movies, but I think this one like the neglected NIGHT OF THE EXECUTIONER, does a great job of showing Naschy’s ability to play in solid crime/action roles. The plot is really all about Naschy as an assassin that adopts a variety of disguises (including drag) to kill mobsters, but Naschy throws in subplots about his character’s Nazi past and his penchant for morose art. Honestly this is not just a highly entertaining Naschy flick, but it really is one of the great, under-appreciated ‘70s crime films. I firmly believe that if this had been dubbed and distributed like the Italian crime films, this would have a solid following with obnoxious hipster directors claiming it to be the greatest movie of all time and plagiarizing it for their most recent star-studded “homage”. Come to think of it, maybe it’s better this way.
4. Honorable Mention: BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL: Naschy did a number of “giallo” style films of which I don’t think anyone is going to argue that this isn’t the best. Even so, it’s really a great Spanish thriller that, much like A CANDLE FOR THE DEVIL, have a vibe all their own and really don’t compare to the Italian stuff. Great atmosphere, plot twists, creepy characters and nekkid chicks, this movie really succeeds on all levels. Because of this, it’s even more disappointing when movies such as SEVEN CORPSES FOR SCOTLAND YARDcome up short.
William S. Wilson:
When it comes to Paul Naschy viewing, I am a mere neophyte compared to some guys I know. Of the 99 films he has made, I have seen 21 of them. Not too shabby, but I still have a ways to go until I obtain the coveted “Naschy Scholar” moniker. If forced to give up my favorites so far (by nubile vampire wenches, of course), here is what is tops on my list of the ones I’ve seen.
1. THE HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE: Hey, Tom totally copied my no. 1! Actually, I can't make that claim as he was instrumental in me losing my Paul Naschy virginity to this movie. I had heard Tom and Naschy Scholar Jon Kitley talk of this Naschy guy for a couple of years. I finally gave in and asked Tom to hook me up with his best title with this being the one he provided. I’m not sure why, but I always imagined this Naschy guy was going to be a dull rip-off of the Universal films and I couldn’t be further from the truth. Another one infected. This film has it all – horror, gore, nudity, pathos, and a big pile o’ guts blob monster.
2. THE WEREWOLF’S SHADOW (aka THE WEREWOLF VS. THE VAMPIRE WOMEN): At the risk of being called a fanboy by Tom, I’d say this is my favorite of Naschy’s werewolf features. Again, it is another one of my earlier viewings (and first Waldemar flick), having seen it on a budget DVD label. The atmosphere is off the charts and I love director Leon Klimovsky’s use of slow-motion. Plus you have murders, rampant nudity, and a freakin’ werewolf that bites huge chunks out of folks.
3. HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB: Wow, what can I say about this one that hasn’t been said already? Two amazing performances by Naschy with his severed head Alaric being one of my favorite characters of his. In addition, you have some great country locations, awesome tombs, séances, black magic, nudity and some of the coolest zombies ever (those white eyes, so creepy!).
4. BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (aka HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN): Okay, Tom is totally copying me this time! I’ll admit that I also have a real soft spot for Naschy’s thrillers. Titles like this, A DRAGONFLY FOR EACH CORPSE and HUMAN BEASTS provide a nice spin on the popular Italian giallo genre. Naschy stars as a criminal who just happens to fall in with 3 sisters who might be crazier than him. There are some really effective kill scenes and I think the ending is a great kicker that’ll make you go “Oooooooooh” when you think back to the title.