Sunday, November 18, 2012
Panic Beats (1983)
The first time I saw Panic Beats I didn't like it so much. It was okay and that's it. So after a few years, and a weekend spending in front of Paul Naschy's fine autobiography "Memoirs of a Wolfman" I decided to give it a new try, hopefully with a couple of years of experience and maybe, mentally, a bit more mature. Well, who am I kidding? I will never grow up! Panic Beats on the other hand was a bit of a revelation this second time, especially after reading about how it was made in Naschy's book and I would say it's a damn fine and fun horror movie after all.
Paul Naschy is Paul who's deeply in love with his sick wife. They're travelling to his family's old villa where they're gonna spend some time so she can relax and feel better. But what she doesn't know is that Paul is one horny motherf**ker and it doesn't take long until he's after the young maid! Soon weird things starts to happen in the villa, can it be old bastard Alaric de Marnac who's back from the dead to harvest victims again!
One thing I repressed after the first time is how many twists this little film have. It's far from the typical Naschy horror, and a owes a lot more to the giallos of
including black gloves and something sinister happening somewhere in the background
of the story. There's at least two, three... maybe four, twists coming at ya
and it works and makes a movie that could have been very traditional work very
well. Naschy, who also directs, delivers a good surprising character who's
actions is very hard to predict. Italy
It takes a while for Alaric de Marnac (which also makes this an original sequel, spin-off to Horror Rises From the Tomb) to show up, but when it happens its with full power and quite surprising. Something that's been very overexaggerated over the years - probably with the help of hyperactive fan boys hugging their rare, now totally worthless, x-rentals - is the gore. Sure, it's violent, but there's actually only two really graphic kills - and both of them are more or else off-screen for the time. The effects is cheap and simple and the blood is plenty, but still... Naschy have done much gorier films through the years.
Panic Beats was shot in General Franco's old villa and Naschy have told how the whole places was filled with photos and letters, just abandoned and forgotten - like the pathetic but yet so dangerous former owner. Veteran actress Lola Gaos, who does a wonderful performance as the housekeeper Mabile, was one of those being terrorized by the fascists and that added to the tension of the acting and atmosphere of the set. Naschy himself was a socialist and it's easy to read in some of his movies - but I still haven't seen the highly political movies he made during the end of the seventies, for example the assassination thriller El Francotirador. I think it was a decision he made, both to mock the fascist regime and use them to produce something provocative and entertaining, like a good old horror movie.
My favourite Naschy film is still the gritty, sleazy and gory Seven Murders for the Scotland Yard (and Hunchback of the Morgue of course), but Panic Beats isn't far away. It's a good story, it delivers some nice kills and nudity for those who like that and foremost: it looks very good and truly prove what a good director Naschy was.