Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Announcing the Ultimate Gore-a-thon

The horror blogging call of duty sounds once again, and this time it’s a multi-blog event dreamt up and organized by a longtime friend of this blog, Jonny Dead of Blood Sucking Geek (BSG), titled Ultimate Gore-a-thon: A Splatterific Extravaganza! I’m thrilled to include At the Mansion of Madness to this cause along with BSG and seven additional blogs also taking part. The event will take place over a two week period (February 10-23) and will include a series of posts covering the blood-and-guts tradition in horror. To check out the diverse range of what everyone is covering, and what I’ll be writing about, click Here. The other blogs that are participating in the Gore-a-thon are as follows: 

Be sure to stop by and visit everyone! 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)

I think It’s been too long since I last covered a Paul Naschy movie, and to make up for this, I’ve chosen to cover one of the best and easiest to recommend, aside from Horror Rises from the Tomb, that you Naschy fans out there have no doubt already seen.

Vengeance of the Zombies aka La Rebelion de las Muertas is a huge slice of awesome from Naschy and director Leon Klimovsky that delivers a good deal of bloody fun to go with its heavy-handed themes of religion, betrayal, and vengeance, partly thanks to some extraordinary gore and plenty of sassy female zombies in see-thru negligees who’ve managed to maintain fabulous looking hair despite being dead and partially decayed. It’s also a Spanish horror babe-fest, complete with some of the best from the era: Aurora de Alba (Mark of the Wolfman), Maria Kosty (A Dragonfly for each Corpse), my personal favorite from the movie Mirta Miller (Count Dracula’s Great Love), and an adorable redhead lead actress that just seems to go by Romy.

This one’s notorious for having an off-kilter score, by Juan Carlos Calderon, but I rather like it. I personally don’t think it’s bad; it just has a tone that some may find mismatching. With the fearsome personality of the picture, one could say that the upbeat, jazzy score seems intrusive and misplaced at times, overthrowing suspense and possibly inciting failed restrained laughter from some of the more uninitiated audience members (as an aside I want to mention that the sounds heard during the morgue scene, as the zombies rise, are some of the most eerie and unnerving I've ever heard and fit in perfectly; listen for it). But this is part of what makes cult film so fascinating and kitsch. I was initially hooked at the beginning when a resurrected zombie lady (Norma Kastel) began running over concrete graves in slow motion. The credits roll over an up-close shot of this creepy living dead woman walking a fixed distance from the camera, as dark, reality transcending jazz music can be heard before the movie transitions into a bright and cheerful day in London with a another hip Jazzy piece and some embarrassingly catchy “dow-dow-dow” vocals that are a bigger earworm than Gangnam Style. It’s my kind of way to start a horror film. Totally off the wall!