Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Horror Rises from the Tomb & Captain Kronos double header

Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter – Captain Kronos is a bleary eyed bore, a man with unparalleled skills with the blade but not much else.  He comes off as kind of a jerk.  His hunchbacked companion, the good professor Grost, is more worthy of our sympathies but even he seems kind of weak.  He ruminates and sobs over being disfigured after a group of local bar flies harass him about his ailment and meet their end at Kronos’ swift blade.  You would think a vampire killer would have a stronger back bone to stand up to verbal jabs, especially a hunchback.  What sets this movie apart is that the vampire ages its victims; turning young babes into cancerous old crows.  

They also use an unusual method to detect vampires; if a dead frog in a box comes back alive a vampire is near.  I’ve never heard of that one.  At the end it’s revealed that a short haired lesbo vampire is to blame for the accelerated ages of several virgins around town, and Kronos and his hunchback companion set out to confront her.  She tries to hypnotize Kronos but he uses his sword to reflect her hyno-magic back at her.  After a brief stint of swashbuckling the movie comes to and end and Kronos and Grost ride off to more adventures.

Horror Rises From the Tomb -   Euro-sleaze at its pinnacle; an illogical, gory, dark, and atmospheric homage to the spirit of Hammer, of monster worship, and the slow burn of gothic styled horror.   Paul Naschy delivers the goods with a shoestring budget, the heart behind the camera bleeds through the screen.  This is a love note for madmen inspired by the cinematic ghouls of yesteryear; Karloff, Lugosi.  Aged, cheap, a perfect vehicle to deliver gothic gore brewed in Spain.  

Quite appropriately it begins with a witch and warlock being led on a death march; they will pay for their crimes of lycanthropy, of witch craft, of renouncing all that is holy in kinship with Satan.  The warlock is decapitated; the witch is hung upside down and tortured in ways unique to her gender.  Flash forward a hundred years and their curse comes to fruition.  The warlock is able to possess the living, sending his mind slaves out to massacre the common folk, and bring him the flesh of the living.  Beating hearts are crudely cut from the chests of screaming nubile women.  The terror and madness stretches its dark pall across the countryside, simple village folk are made helpless victims, food for Satan.  With enough fresh blood spilt the warlock resurrects his dutiful witch seductress in a ritual that suggests nymphomania.  The film revels in sleaze with reckless abandon as the bodies pile up.  Boobs and blood are the order of the day as the witch seduces the men from the local village, ripping their throats out when they close in for a kiss with the beautiful mystery woman that suddenly appears at the end of their beds, like a wet dream made flesh.  The warlock works his magic on the women, leading to an orgy of destruction and terror.   As things seem their darkest, as friend turns upon friend, as fiend reign supreme, an old family relic comes to bear, one that can fight back the ancient evil of Satan and his newly resurrected minions of darkness.  A silver pendant decorated with the hammer of Thor turns out to be the secret weapon needed to end Naschy’s reign of terror; both the warlock and the witch meet their end because of this powerful relic that simply comes out of nowhere to end the film.  Despite the large gaps of logic and against all sense of finer taste I loved Horror Rises from the Tomb.  Naschy has a way of taking a cheap budget and set and ratchet the exploitative charm to 11.  Some Naschy movies may suffer from a plodding storyline, but any lull in the movie is quickly offset by gore and blood, even if it makes little sense.  You really got to turn your brain off for this fare and let the tidal wave Euro-sleaze whisk you away.  Horror Rises from the Tomb is great fun for the fan of gothic horror, a classic and Naschy at his pinnacle.