Sunday, November 25, 2012
Paul Naschy's Memoirs of a Wolfman (1997)
I've been enjoying several Paul Naschy movies the latest week or so, from stuff I haven't seen before to revisiting good old classics. During this time I've also been reading the
paperback of Memoirs of a Wolfman, the autobiography that was published in
1997. The version I have was release a couple of years later and includes a
bonus chapter and a signed card by Naschy himself. Very nice and it makes me
even more sad that I never hade the pleasure to meet him in real life. US
The memoirs chronicles his life from childhood and we get a detailed look at his family and relatives - and friends of the relatives, which might seem to be a bit exaggerated - but you will also notice that more or less everyone of these persons is connected to what he did later. They introduced him to things in life, they said something, they experienced things together with him - everyone means something for Naschy and without very few exceptions he gives them their full credits. Another fine thing he does - up to his 20-30's - is to write down the comics he read at the time and the movies he watched, which also gives a strong hint of what inspired him during his filmmaking career.
It's well known that Naschy had a big ego, close a to narcissistic persona. He's a very proud actor and filmmaker and never shies away from letting us know when he's done something good and brilliant and masterful - but he also, very emotional, digs deep down in his failures and depressions, how he was so weak that he couldn't take care of himself, how he did stuff for money just to be able to pay the rent. The last chapters is actually quite painful to read, and the part where he tells us about his heart attack is so sad! The bonus chapter is the worst, where his self-confidence is rock-bottom and he basically say "goodbye" at the end, to never return. Thankfully he obviously got back on the saddle again and had quite good career even after that, including his best performance ever, in Christian Molina's 2004 film Rojo Sangre. He also starred in an official Spanish Dogme-film, Once Upon Another Time - a film I need to see as soon as possible.
The bitterness overcomes the happiness, the enthusiasm, in the end, which is a damn pity. But we know better and Naschy knew better also. Memoirs of a Wolfman is packed with anecdotes - some of them extremely bizarre - and a good insight in the work of low-budget filmmaking in
and Europe during 60's, 70's and 80's. The
strangest chapter is when he tells us how he got involved in a cult of real
His enthusiasm for making horror movies, the macabre and living on the edge of society, which he seem like at the same time as he's missing the recognition from the elite, is the fuel of this book. Naschy seems to more than a good, decent guy - a person who always cared for people who cared for him. An interesting mix between a macho-man and lover of women to a supporter of gay rights, and a guilty-filled catholic and left-wing horror fan. Everything at once and probably the reason why he made such interesting and stand-out movies.