Retro-review: Newly released in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.1 from The Shout Factory!
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB (1973)
aka HORROR RAISES FROM THE TOMB, HORROR FROM THE TOMB, MARK OF THE DEVIL 4, EL ESPANTO SURGE DE LA TUMBA
Directed by Carlos Aured
Written by Paul Naschy
Starring Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen, Víctor Alcázar, Helga Liné, Cristina Suriani, Betsabé Ruiz, Luis Ciges, Julio Peña, María José Cantudo, Juan Cazalilla, Francisco Llinás, Ramón Centenero, Montserrat Julió, Elsa Zabala, Esther Santana, Francisco Nieto
A warlock named Alaric de Marnac (Paul Naschy) and his witch bride Mabille De Lancre (Helga Line) for practicing arcane arts. Alaric is beheaded while Mabille is hung. Years later, their descendants are taking a trip through the country and compelled to return to the castle the spellcasters once lived. Immediately, dark happeninigs begin in and around the castle. Alaric’s talking head is unburied and reunited with its body and the group begin killing all who cross their paths. But that’s not all. Once killed, the dead rise and the warlock and witch creep into the homes of residents of the adjacent village, seducing them and killing them in their bedrooms. It all culminates with a battle between the living and the undead at the castle steps!
Vampires, zombies, werewolves, and witches are tosses around with reckless abandon in HORROR RISES FROM THE GRAVE. While there is a lot of supernatural stuff is tossed around in this film, the rules are played fast and loose with many things just explained as “It’s just magic!” and we are supposed to just buy it. It’s fun to see all of these supernatural elements tossed at the viewer with such heft and dedication, but someone who needs for things to make some sort of sense is going to have an aneurism trying to make heads or tails of this film.
That said, the schlock is gloriously thick throughout this entire film. From over the top werewolf howls punctuating beats just at the right ominous time to gratuitous gore sequences where the evil literally rip the hearts out of the innocent with their bare hands. While this film predates DAWN OF THE DEAD, much of the attacks reminded me of the visceral attacks seen in Romero’s film. The addition of spaced out zombies definitely reflects NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD and it’s interesting to see Naschy as a disembodied head again after seeing him as a head transferred to another body in CRIMSON (also written by Naschy). Still, Naschy is doing a full on Dracula act with a flapping cape and all, though he is not identified as a vampire in the film itself, but has similar powers and weaknesses, including an aversion to a particular antique necklace. All of these are played with a lot of monster movie flair, though subtlety is not on the menu here.
As usual, Naschy is great, commanding every scene he is in either as the warlock or his modern day relative. Seeing him karate chop his foes will never get old despite how hokey it is. While HORROR RISES FROM THE GRAVE is not the scariest of films, it does pack a powerful triple punch of fantastic moos, awesome performance by Naschy, and nice amount of sloshy gore to indulge in.