Monday, November 22, 2010

Hunchback of the Morgue (1973)

Of all movies Paul Naschy made, Hunchback of the Morgue – in all it’s gore and blood – could be the most classic, most nostalgic, yes in a way: the most classy Naschy-movie ever made. Sure, it has some parts that feel unnecessary, but the good thing over-shadows the bad things in this tale of haunted love and a modern Frankenstein.

Naschy is Gotho, a hunchback working at the local hospital. He’s really a quite charming man, more then you are led to believe anyway – and of course more romantic than most other men. He falls in love with one of the patients, but she’s deadly ill and soon she dies, just seconds before he arrives with some fresh flowers. Stricken by sorrow he kills two of the staff and brings her body down in the catacombs under the hospital. His only real friend, one of the doctors, sees a brilliant opportunity to make his own dream come true and constructs a lab down there, trying to create new life from just the flesh of humans…

I’ve heard about Hunchback of the Morgue for many years, mostly because it’s one of the most legendary x-rentals ever released in Sweden (under the title Bårhusassistenten if I remember it correctly). But I never got around too watch the movie until now, but mostly because Naschy is one awesome actor. What strikes me the most with Hunchback is how big it is. We’re not talking about an epic here, but Javier Aguirre really uses the village, the city, to maximum. All the sets and locations look great and have a lot of atmosphere. The catacombs, a mix between real locations and carefully build sets is especially good.

This is also one of the goriest Naschy-movies I’ve seen, with some really nasty and graphic moments – from decapitations to belly’s ripped open. It’s never realistic of course, but that’s not important – as long as the blood flows. The infamous burning rats are a bad thing, but what’s done is done and what can we do now? Just close our eyes or pretend that they are advanced mechanical rats being sent to their destiny.

But it’s Paul Naschy who’s the best thing with the movie, with a quite complex character and very little of that cool overacting that he sometime can divulge himself in. I would say he’s sympathetic and well-written in the same characters that we once saw in the old Universal movies.

Hunchback of the Morgue lives up to its legendary hype, which is nice to experience for once. I great part of my little Naschy-collection.


CiNEZiLLA said...

HUrrah! yeah I love that one too.

Patrick B said...

I haven't seen it yet. I need to get it soon. The limited German release is going for sick amounts these days.