Saturday, July 7, 2012
The People Who Own the Dark (1976)
From the deranged mind of León Klimovsky comes this oddity, The People Who Own the Dark, a doomsday-vision starring Alberto de Mendoza (the crazy priest in Horror Express!) and our beloved Paul Naschy, here on each side of the morality - Naschy being the baddie of course. I've never seen it before but Jocke has talked about it so many times that I've started to question my own sanity! Can Jocke be right? Well, usually he's right - and I'm happy I bought this one directly from Code Red! Why? Let's see...
A troupe of rich bastards - politicians, doctors, businessmen etc - goes to a villa out on the countryside for a weekend of sinful lust á la de Sade, complete with role playing in the cellar and gluttony like it was their last day alive. But when they're just gonna start the orgy a terrible explosion shakes the land and not long after they hear that it's a nuclear war out there. The next morning they goes outside and takes the cars to the next village to try to get some supplies. But what awaits them is hell, all people has gone blind and they're very aggressive! After some scuffle a couple of the blind people are dead and our heroes head back to the villa - but during the night they're attacked, the blind people wants their revenge and they do anything to get inside!
It's starts off like a simpler version of Pasolini's Saló, then becomes a post-apocalyptic thriller and finally enters the horror world with the nightly invasion. The atmosphere is more similar to George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead, but much of the interaction reminded me more of Boris Sagal's The Omega Man. This is of course very good, but Klimovsky sets his own stamp on the movie and in the end it's an original take on the world after a nuclear-tomorrow. The characters are cynical and the story itself is bleak, both visually and thematic. This is a tale of the corrupt bourgeois and how they're punished for being soulless people. But we all know that the bourgeois is just the middle man, and there's also a government that shouldn't be trusted in the background, which makes this movie even more dark and interesting.
The cast, lead by de Mendoza and Naschy is excellent. They do a perfect walk on a line between totally fucked-up and quite human. One of the characters suffers a nervous breakdown for example, believing he's a pig and can only walk on all four for the rest of the movie. Isn't that wonderful and bizarre detail! A young Antonio Mayans, seen in many Jess Franco movies, makes a good performance also - and don't forget the always stunning Maria Perschy in another part.
The scariest thing with the antagonists, the blind people, is that they seem very sane. You can talk with them, discuss, they almost seem friendly - but still, the only thing they want is revenge. Their lack of sight has suddenly gotten them extra sensitive hearing, and maybe even sensory, making them to killing machines when they feel that someone is in the room trying to get away. How they find the house I have no idea, but when watching the movie it's nothing you react to. They're just the enemy and they're obviously very good at it.
It's not a graphic movie, but people die and the overall feeling is that it's a violent and dangerous world and it's easy to die - from the blind people or from someone inside the house. Everyone is dangerous in situation like this.
If you like your movies from the 70's with bleak endings and Paul Naschy doing one of this best performances, this is the movie for you. It's on a nice DVD from Code Red and it's a must buy!