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Author Topic: Vengeance of the Zombies / La Rebelion de Las Muertas (Leon Klimovsky, 1972)  (Read 4152 times)

IL COMMISSARIO

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VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES 1972 aka LA REBELION DE LAS MUERTAS

Paul Naschy, Romy, Mirta Miller, Vic Winner, Maria Kosti

Directed by Leon Klimovsky

Bodies turn up missing from a morgue and murders baffle detectives. It all leads to a Satanist plot to gain immortality by an evil witch doctor using voodoo as well Thugee Indian ritualistic style slayings to accomplish his goal.

Delirious, confusing, hallucinatory and irrational describe this nutty Naschy movie. It's simultaneously awful but strangely alluring in it's complete disregard for logic and inability to focus on one idea for longer than a few minutes at the time before plopping another plot contrivance into your lap. The above synopsis is the best I could make out for this one as there are is always something going on on screen and even Naschy himself says in his excellent memoirs that he wasn't quite sure what he was thinking when he did this one. It is never boring, however. The character of Elvira played by Romy sums it up best with this dialog exchange at an 1:02 minutes into the film, "What's happening here?!! What's this all about?!!"

Naschy is the reason to watch though playing three roles here. One as the Indian guru Krishna(!), another as his scarred brother Kantaka and also as the Devil in a nightmare sequence that is unintentionally funny. In addition to the totally wacky storyline, the acting is pretty bad for the most part but again, the film is all over the place so this does not hamper the film at all only adding to the campiness of the whole affair. The music almost sinks the film though sounding like it was taken from a spy or detective movie. It's all jazz and seems woefully out of place especially in some of the murder scenes. But this too, adds unwittingly to the enjoyment to this unconventional zombie flick. There are some very nice moments as well. Mostly involving the make up.

One scene recalls Ossorio's TOMBS OF THE BLIND DEAD (1970) in a morgue in which a zombie rises from a slab covered in a sheet to kill an unsuspecting attendant with a soda can(!) no less. A very eerie decapitation scene is the highlight of the film in which Elvira (the dubber pronounces the name Elvira, but the subtitles say Elvire) encounters an old woman in a basement standing up smiling. As she approaches her, she nudges her shoulder then her head falls to the side!

Another scene recalls RETURN OF COUNT YORGA (1971) where two bumbling cops are beset upon by three zombie women in a graveyard. The zombies are controlled by a strange guy who wears an assortment of Halloween masks before each voodoo murder or Thugee styled murder scene. It's almost like there were two different movies being made at once-one the voodoo angle and the other a crime story which appear to be slapped together rather haphazardly. Apparently animal rights didn't exist in Spain either as there is a rather unsettling chicken decapitation during a Baron Samedi-zombie resurrection ritual.

Towards the end, Naschy attempts to explain the entire plot to Elvira but by then you're so numb by all the out-of-left-field shenanigans that making sense of the storyline at this point no longer matters. Then, to throw further kinks into the mix, a final revelation is revealed that seems tacked on at the last minute. The final credits are a hoot as well with pics of the cast matched to their names in big, bold red titles with an even more weird and psychedelic end credit music playing.

This may not be a very GOOD movie, but it is a very ENJOYABLE one and I'd watch it again before I'd sit through the recycled gothic horror of NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1980). Although WEREWOLF is the better movie, it's not quite as fun nor is it as original as VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES (1972). I highly recommend it to Naschy fans only as it probably won't appeal to casual horror fans nor will it appeal to fans of Romero or Italo zombie gut munchers. Fans of zombie cinema may get a kick out of it as well just don't expect any flesh eating zombies here. Naschy appeared in another zombie flick the following year entitled BEYOND THE LIVING DEAD.
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Stephen Grimes

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Another great release from BCI/Demios,lovely transfer and some cool extras.Always liked this film though it's an aquired taste,the similar but better RETURN OF THE ZOMBIES(La Orgia de Los Muertos) is also worth a look.
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Jonny

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    • lovelockandload

Just watched this one last night via the BCI DVD. Wonderful film, absolutely nuts and I feel I need to watch it again.

What struck me the the most was the amazing score! Where can I get this? Is it on CD at all?
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ecc

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The score is not available on CD unfortunately.  The same montage of London exteriors that opens the film is also seen in DR. JEKYLL AND THE WEREWOLF and WEREWOLF AND THE YETI.

Jonny

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I couldn't resist uploading the opening sequence and the end titles to youtube...

Got to love that music!

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=ci1yoi3YS24

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=eTMtOMl5oqU
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Jonny

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Awesome sleeve D!  ;)
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unclefred

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That's an excellent review Ill Commissario, and it sums the film up perfectly. I thought the music was a great change of pace and I think it worked in well with the British detective film angle. No Naschy fan should miss this one.
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