26 May, 2017

LES EXPLOITS EROTIQUES DE MACISTE DANS L'ATLANTIDE (1973)


Les gloutonnes



Here's an update of my review of LES GLOUTONNES, Jess Franco's Z grade Peplum from 1973. Actually this and MACISTE CONTRE LA REINE DES AMAZONES/YUKA, made with same cast, on the same locations, are good, no-budget fun. Updated from a review originally published by the wonderful Club Des Monstres!

Credited to Clifford Brown, this is a fascinating mess due to the fact that Robert de Nesle, or somebody, took a supposedly "serious" movie and made it into a delirious collage of Peplum, period adventure, comedy, erotic and Fantasy patterns. It's basically the erotic adventures of Waldemar Wohlfaart/Wal Davis as Maciste vs. Robert Woods as the evil Caronte, who, with the aid of Kali Hansa, attempts to overthrow and kill the Queen of Atlantis, played by Alice Arno. Maciste prevails with the help of "the gobblers"/the women of Atlantis. Howard Vernon makes an appearance as Cagliostro (see LA MALDICION DES FRANKENSTEIN), who watches the antics via a magic medieval television along with his horny expectant, played by the puckish Rick Deconninck / Bigotini. A very interesting, eclectic score by Robert Viger [?] is a bonus. There's even a hardcore sex scene thrown in the mix involving a young, naked stud who walks down a spiral staircase to ejaculate over a golden wrapped Alice Arno.  Peplum regular Mark Forest (LION OF THEBES) was supposed to play Maciste, according to Franco, but somehow Steve Forest was mistakenly engaged. The blond Davis ended up playing the role. He seems to in a happy daze and walks through the lush settings wearing a goofy smile. There are also other "erotic" interludes consisting of shots of Alice Arno reading an erotic text as she lounges in bed. These scenes could be outtakes form THE HOTS NIGHTS OF LINDA (1973) and seem to be there to suggest the Peplum/adventure action is a visualization of the material being read by Arno. Are they fantasies, flashbacks, or whatever? It's difficult to discern if these scenes and much of the rest were the director's intent or the result of producer meddling. 

The opening sequence of a mistyvalley and the first view of the stormy coast of "Atlantis" are outstanding images but unless you are a Franco completest you may hate this film. Franco also made YUKA, filmed back-to-back/simultaneously in 1973 with Davis / Wohlfaart and Robert Woods playing the male leads, another erotic "Peplum" set in the Middle Ages. In some versions of YUKA Davis is named Karzan. Lina Romay plays a water nymph who leads Maciste to the island. The Gobblers include Montserrat Prous, Caroline Riviere and Pamela Stanford (who are somehow teleported to an erotic encounter with Bigotini at Cagliostro's remote castel) and Chantal Broquet. As Parka, Kali Hansa is impressive as a particularly ferocious ally of the veil knight Caronte.

This is a difficult film to describe or dislike. Even in the recut version it's often visually engaging and a good time seems to be had by all. But one wonders about Franco's original "somber" version. Actually, the action does not take place in the legendary Atlantis, but on another island to which the survivors of the destruction of the island's destruction have migrated. A typical Jess Franco geographical spiral, situating the action on degree away from legend and into Jess Franco terra firma.

Released in France by American Video. At this point still no HQ DVD/HD release.

Reviewed by Robert Monell (C) 2017

11 May, 2017

GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH HORROR Debuts!

Review and Interview with Mirek Lipinski:
Publication preview
Issue #1 of the new magazine, GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH HORROR, is now available for order. The unique 32 page publication is the only English language magazine devoted exclusively to Spanish Horror cinema. The cover image is a high contrast posed shot from Jess Franco's iconic 1961 Spanish Horror classic, GRITOS EN LA NOCHE aka THE AWFUL DR. ORLOF. A colorful Jano poster for Franco's 1973 UN SILENCIO DE TUMBA graces the back cover. It's published and edited by Paul Naschy expert and Latarnia Intenational creator Mirek Lipinski. 

It opens with a quote about "tragic eroticism" and "pain and blood" from Baron Von Klaus himself. An appropriate epigraph. An editorial correctly states that Spanish Horror has been underrepresented in conversations about Euro-Horror and offers an appreciation of the dark legacies of those films, this is set  against an inside spread of Bruegel's THE TRIUMPH OF DEATH. The contents proceed with an article on the emergence of Dorado Films, who earlier this year released the first Blu-ray presentations of Jess Franco's THE SILENCE OF THE TOMB and THE SINISTER EYES OF DR. ORLOFF, followed by a thoughtful essay on Spanish horror films currently in demand and in release. There is a review of Kino Lorber's recent Blu-ray of DR. ORLOFF'S MONSTER and a note on upcoming Franco DVDs.

An informative 3 page illustrated spread on Spanish actor Julian Ugarte (FANGS OF THE LIVING DEAD, FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR) reveals his presence in some unexpected places. Equally interesting is a preview of Lipinski's upcoming book, PAUL NASCHY: A LIFE ON THE SCREEN, with information on Naschy's role in a vintage episode of the US television series I SPY.


Two articles on Ray Danton's 1973 vampire film, CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD, a review by George R. Reis of the Vinegar Syndrome Blu-ray and a well researched essay on the mystery of who actually directed the film, provide some important information on this Drive-In oddity. There's also a review of the album of Phillip Lambro's effective score for the film.

Several pages of full color adverts and promos for Naschy's HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE and Amando de Ossorio's LAS GARRAS DE LORELEI provide welcome eye candy. Also included are brief picture profiles of Spanish horror actresses Dianik Zurakowska (the heroine of Naschy's first werewolf epic, LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO ) and Patty Shepard, the US born actress who appeared as the iconic vampire woman in Leon Klimovksy's WEREWOLF SHADOW (1970), the film that sparked the Spanish Horror boom.. The magazine concludes with a very welcome inclusion of F.G. Loring's atmospheric 1900 vampire story, THE TOMB OF SARAH, the uncredited source material for CRYPT OF THE LIVING DEAD.

All this and more make this a must-have for fans of Euro-Gothic in general and Spanish Horror in particular. It's well laid out and filled with concise, intriguing articles. The magazine is lavishly illustrated with black and white and color photos, artwork, vintage posters and adverts. I had the chance to ask Mirek Lipinski a few questions about the genesis and future of the publication: 

Q: What was the inspiration for this magazine?

A: A few things--if I remember. I liked the old CASTLE OF FRANKENSTEIN magazine.

Q: What will be your publishing schedule?

A: There is no set release date for GOLDEN AGE OF SPANISH HORROR, Whenever, though I am working on the second issue and may have it ready in a couple of months.

Q: How did you start out compiling it?

A: The magazine was started when I took out of the closet all of my Naschy and Spanish Horror collections, and I realized I had a lot! I also knew I would not last forever--a point driven home to me when I had a health scare last year. For a moment I thought I was dying, but I'm alright now, of course. I wanted to get out as much as possible. I have a lot of information in my head and also a lot in my collection and this needed to see the light of day. Also, I haven't done a magazine in a long, long while and Golden Age was like a refresher course. I had to relearn stuff, like In Design, that I had forgotten. So the first issue was a challenge, even though people may not consider it that way. Also, there is a lot of Spanish Horror coming out on Blu-ray this year. That was not a deciding factor, but I was aware of it. I'm one not to judge these things harshly, even though I have my likes and dislikes. I love the genre, actually, so writing about it, and producing a magazine is easy, except for the effort involved in putting something tangible out there. 

Q: I can't think of any other magazines dealing exclusively with Spanish Horror, at least not in English.

A: I think the magazine is the only English language magazine dealing with Spanish Horror, its Golden Age. I have a lot of ideas and am looking forward to actualizing them.

Thanks to Mirek Lipinski


(C) Robert Monell, 2017