Friday, December 30, 2011

El Asesino Está Entre Los Trece (1973)

The Spaniards didn't to be left out of the game and produced a couple of very Giallo-esque thrillers during the seventies, a few of the involving the great Paul Naschy in bigger or smaller roles. A Dragonfly for each Corpse from 1974 is one movie, but my favourite is the violent 1971 sleaze-classic Seven Murders for Scotland Yard, where a less fit Naschy plays a drunk ex-trapeze artist like only Naschy could do it. In 1973 this little known thriller game, El Asesino Está Entre LosTrece (literary: The Murderer is among the thirteen) and gives Agatha Christie's The Little Indians a nice spin with just pretending to go that route, but then turn out quite different.

Thirteen people gathers in a remote Spanish villa, after an invitation from the widow of a rich businessman, Lisa Mandel (Patty Shepard). All of them had some connection with her dead husband and she suspects, and claims have proof, that one of them killed her husband! With the help of her mechanic/gardener (Paul Naschy) she sabotage their cars and they just can't leave (if they don't walk, but you know how lazy rich fuckers are!). After intrigues, affairs and lots of talking one after another of them is getting killed by a murderer in black gloves...

El Asesino Está Entre Los Trece might not revolutionize the mystery-genre, but if you ignore the negative reviews out on the web this is a surprisingly effective little thriller. The main bulk of the movie is a talky, soapy story about a bunch of rich people sitting around in a big house, drinking, smoking and fucking. But believe it or not, this makes the last half hour even stronger and when the murders set in they are gory and bloody and very effective. Violent stuff, but without being to much (which of course is sad, we all want "to much" in a giallo) and with a nice, semi-ironic ending that actually lives up to one of the most used jokes about mystery-stories ever. 'Nuff said!

Paul Naschy as a quite small part, but makes a good performance of the little time he has. The rest of the cast is really good, and it's always to such veterans as Jack Taylor and Simón Andreu sleazing around in an obscure Spanish genre movie (something Taylor is good at, but this is the first time I've seen Andreu do that). The characters are well-written and has personality, so much of the entertainment comes from the actors and the charisma they have.

While the gore isn't overly graphic, it's well-made and hidden with clever editing. One of the cast gets and axe in his head and the clip where he get's it is SO short that it's almost too short. The other stabbings and throat-slits are nicely done, but we're not talking Carlo Rambaldi or Gianetto De Rossi exactly.

A slow-moving but still entertaining Spanish "giallo".

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Are you going to do any reviews of
the films by Larry Cohen soon?

I love to see that....