Monday, December 12, 2011

LA ORGIA DE LOS MUERTOS/THE ORGY OF THE DEAD (English titles: The Hanging Woman, Return of the Zombies, Beyond the Living Dead, Bracula) 1973

Cast: Stelvio Rosi/Stan Cooper (Serge), Dianik Zurakowska (Doris), Gerard Tichy (Professor Leonidas Dorjlaw), Maria-Pia Conte (Nadja), Paul Naschy (Igor), Carlos Quiney, Aurora De Alba (Mary), Isarco Ravaioli, Pasquele Basile (the inspector)
Director: Jose Luis Merino
Screenplay: Jose Luis Merino, Enrico Colombo
Photography: Modesto Rizzolo, Manuel Merino
Music: Francesco De Masi
Production Company:
Ramon Plana for Petruka Films (Madrid), Prodimex (Rome)

Running time: 94 min.
Eastmancolor; exteriors shot in the Pyrenees and Milan
U.S. theatrical release: Probably was released under various titles, including THE HANGING WOMAN from International Artists. A poster of the film (seen above) exists under the BRACULA title. Note that this poster contains an image from LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS!
Video: Various (see below); because of its reputed public domain status, this film has seen more video releases than any other Naschy film.

Review of the three main variants of LA ORGIA DE LOS MUERTOS: There is no definitive known version of LA ORGIA DE LOS MUERTOS. Three main variants exist: 1) The Spanish print, the most complete, but replacing all nudity with fully clothed scenes, 2) THE HANGING WOMAN version, which is not complete and is missing a few seconds of gore, but which is fuller than 3) The Wizard version, RETURN OF THE ZOMBIS, the best looking version which contains the all the nudity of THE HANGING WOMAN version and a few extra seconds of "gore." Surely there are more minor variants, released by various distribution and video companies. Most of these, if not all, reflect the "Hanging Woman" version of the film. To make any sense of this, the Spanish print must be used as a template, even though it disappoints in terms of nudity. Unfortunately, the two available videos of the Spanish version--the American Video Latino, and Divisa's version from Spain--are full frame, rather pale in color and not sharp. Still, they will do in terms of comparison with the English-dubbed prints. Incidentally, I've seen an Italian version of this film, and its completely butchered.

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