|Vengeance of the Zombies |
1972 / B&W / 1:33 flat full frame / 90 min. / La rebelión de las muertas Street Date October 10, 2006 / 19.98
Starring Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina), Romy, Mirta Miller, María Kosty, Aurora de Alba, Luis Ciges, Pierre Besari, Vic Winner.
Cinematography Francisco Sánchez Muñoz
Film Editor Antonio Ramírez de Loaysa
Original Music Juan Carlos Calderon
Written by Jacinto Molina
Produced by Ricardo Muñoz Suay, José Antonio Pérez Giner
Directed by León Klimovsky
The stout, burly Naschy comes off reasonably well in a uniformly wooden cast. His Indian guru contrasts well with the scarred fanatic Kantaka, and by the time the resurrected Horned One arrives to briefly molest a female sacrifice, we welcome his fairly creative makeup. The film's so-called mystery fails to gel and instead resolves itself in a flurry of last-minute stabbings. Even the blood looks wrong, like too-thick house paint.
Spanish horror films of this period are often noted for their conservative themes, and Vengeance of the Zombies is one of the most offensive. The supposedly benign Krisna's Indian origin makes him a target for suspicion, and the rationale for the killings eventually boils down to a fanatic's revenge for colonial injustices. Why natives of India are using European witchcraft and Haitian voodoo rituals can only be explained as rampant xenophobia. Even more pronounced is a broad misogynistic theme. Not only are the zombies all women (las muertas), many of the film's sinful acts are the fault of perfidious females that urge men to commit adultery and defile tombs. Wicked female jealousy enters the picture as well when Krisna's exotic lover Kala (Mirta Miller) tries to rid herself of Elvira's dull heroine. As the villains more or less eliminate each other, the presence of Scotland Yard and the handsome hero is mostly a formality.
Deimos Entertainment presents Vengeance of the Zombies in an excellent transfer obviously taken from original film elements. The image is full frame, when enhanced widescreen might have focused attention on the actors instead of the poor sets and lighting. Audio tracks are provided in both Spanish and English; menus and artwork are polished and professional. Also included is the Spanish title sequence and several censored alternate scenes for the film's initial Spanish release. Still and artwork galleries detail the film's many foreign versions, including three separate titles for three different German releases. Paul Naschy appears in person for a new introduction, giving a generic warm-up for the film's Satanism and voodoo content. Much more appealing and informative are excellent liner notes by writer Mirek Lipinsky, whose knowledgeable essay on Naschy and Klimovsky's film work is far more interesting than Vengeance of the Zombies itself.