My job here at Indie Horror Online is to write for my column “Cult of Personality”, the categorical word here being CULT… how can I not talk about the late great Paul Naschy?!
Now, when the term “Horror Legend” is slung around, the likes of Bela Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney, Vincent Price, and countless others are a constant; but what’s sad is the fact that Naschy’s name is seldom thrown into that legendary group.
Naschy, a Spanish genre actor, writer, producer, and director, was popular for his werewolf films, but the man didn’t just stick to wearing fangs and yak hair glued to his face, the man was in such classic, gothic horror films as Horror Rises from the Tomb (1973), Vengeance of the Zombies (1973), Exorcismo (1975), and countless others.
Although, his werewolf films are some of the best: Fury of the Wolfman (1972), Return of the Wolfman (1973), Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror (1968), and my personal favourite, Dr. Jekyll vs The Werewolf (1972). Seriously, if your eyes have never been blessed by the orgasmic cinematic picture shows listed above, then I suggest you dig them up out of your nearest graveyard and give them a spin. Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Okay, now that you are well versed in all things dirty, hairy, and Naschy, let me gab about a film that I consider to be Naschy’s masterpiece… Hunchback of the Morgue (1973). In this film, that just oozes the word gothic, Naschy plays the titular Hunchback “Gotho”…see? I told you it literally oozes with it.
Anyway, Gotho, your typical lambasted Hunchback, teams up with a seedy scientist who claims he can bring back to life the recently deceased woman with whom he was in love; but only if Gotho helps him in his experiments by supplying him with corpses. The experiments in question are a result of the scientist creating a slimy, pus-covered monster that lingers in a vat.
Realizing the mad doctor has no intention of bringing his deceased loved back from the dead; Gotho destroys the lab in a violent frenzy and goes toe to toe with the oozing turd monster. Okay, yes… the monster does kinda look like a giant turd, but I swear it’s still fucking cool.
One thing I love about this movie is the gore; more than the usual films of the era. The effects are good for the time.
There is a weird little subplot involving Gotho and a character named Elke, played by Rosanna Yanni of Count Dracula’s Great Love (1973) and Fangs of the Living Dead (1969). They fall in love and have Hunchback sex, but it never really leads anywhere, and there’s only minimal skin shown.
As for the ACTUAL plot… well, there’s not really a cohesive one; all we know is Gotho is a hunchback that is picked on, his love dies, there’s an evil scientist making experiments, and all hell breaks loose… and that’s the beauty of it! At 78 minutes, the film is packed with blood, guts, a mad scientist, and hunchback/monster brawl, and a quick glimpse at Rosanna Yanni’s assets!
What the hell else could you possibly want from a film? Well, okay, other than MORE of Yanni’s assets, but I digress; if you are new to Naschy’s legendary monster films, then not only do I suggest checking out his extensive library mentioned earlier, but I HIGHLY suggest Hunchback of the Morgue.
GORE meter: ★★★★☆
T&A meter: ★☆☆☆☆
– Matt Cloude