Sunday, August 9, 2009

Shadows of Blood (1988)

Directed by:
Sydney Ling

By the late 80s, Paul Naschy's career had certainly seen better days. After making his name as Spain's top horror star of the 70s, he'd had a huge financial flop at the turn of the next decade (1981's THE CRAVING aka NIGHTS OF THE WEREWOLF), then was forced to seek funding in Japan for future projects (1983's THE BEAST WITH THE MAGIC SWORD) and finally hit rock bottom when he ended up in the Netherlands speaking phonetic English in this very amateurish and very obscure shot-with-a-camcorder production. How obscure is it? It's so obscure it's not even listed on IMDb, there's only one other online review for it (on The Mark of Naschy) and there's no VHS box or poster anywhere to be found. I'm not even sure if this title ever officially left its country of origin. Fortunately, there's a silver lining on this particular cloud as the whole thing is hysterically funny from beginning to end. Of course it wasn't intended to be funny, but I'll take what I can get!

The extremely stupid premise involves two serial killers ("They're known as super sadists!") named Pancho Aguila (Naschy) and Jim Habouf (Barry Fleming) who've just escaped from a French nuthouse in Normandy and now want to "have some fun" in Amsterdam. Pancho is supposedly a former Spanish horror star and champion weight lifter (just like the actor playing him), while Jim is some deranged artist. Together both men have killed 40 people and are about to kill many more unless local police detectives Peter (James Malkovich), Anna (Judith Hirsch) and Hank, as well as imported Interpol agent George Lewis, can stop them. During one hilarious scene, our heroes stand around looking clueless as Jim heckles them and runs right past them on the streets in broad daylight. Knowing this person has already killed quite a few people since his escape, no one even really tries to shoot or apprehend him so he's free to just run away and keep on killing. He also gets to romance a single mom. He tells her his favorite hobby is painting with blood. She agrees to go on a second date with him (?) so they visit the Anne Frank house (!)

Naschy's grasp of the English language is poor, so he's mostly handed one-liners here. Thankfully what the actor lacks in dialogue he makes up for during the hilarious murder scenes. One of the first has him jumping on a boat and suddenly strangling the elderly captain to death. He rents a hotel room and breaks a maid's neck, drills another woman (and licks the blood) and sneaks into a diner and drowns a girl in her soup in full view of some guy who just sits there and watches. In an alleyway, he strangles a woman, puts his cigar out on her face and then turns to his buddy, does a thumbs up and says "Professional!" The absolute funniest scene, though, is an actual blooper left in the film where Naschy grabs a woman walking down the street and then suddenly the two of them slip and fall down some concrete stairs backwards! Ouch. An eyewitness describes Naschy's character as "short and fat." Double ouch.

Speaking of short and fat, our pudgy middle-aged heroine (a producer of this project) also gets her own hilarious stunt-gone-wrong blooper when she attempts to jump over something and falls down on the sidewalk! Even better, she gets to sing the hilarious Shadows of Blood theme song:

Shadows of blood
Over Amsterdam
Means dealing with DEATH
Where do I start to begin?
Where do I start to end?
Ending the killing spree
In. My. Town.

To make things even weirder, there's some awful special effect thrown in at the very end of some red hand superimposed over repeat footage of the killings while the heroine says "He gets away, and there's nothing I can do to stop him. Perhaps it's better this way. Some people never change." (?!?) It only runs 70 minutes (fast-forward the slowww credits and it's an hour) so if you can find a copy I highly recommend it to fans of super-cheap super-crap about super-sadists starring slumming Spanish superstars.

1 comment:

CavedogRob said...

I'll be looking for this one!

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