Retro-review: New this week as part of The Paul Naschy Collection from The Shout Factory!
BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL (1974)
aka THE HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN, HOUSE OF DOOM
Directed by Carlos Aured
Written by Paul Naschy
Starring Paul Naschy, Diana Lorys, Eduardo Calvo, Eva León, Inés Morales, Antonio Pica, Luis Ciges, Pilar Bardem, Maria Perschy
Though this is the last Naschy film in The Shout Factory’s PAUL NASCHY COLLECTION, don’t be sad. I just got The Shout Factory’s PAUL NASCHY COLLECTION Vol.2 and plan on covering all the Naschy necessary to feed your jones for the iconic horror powerhouse. In BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL, Naschy goes Giallo in this whodunnit that is heavy on psychological terror and real life murder.
They just don’t name movies like they used to. I mean, how awesome is a title like BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL? It doesn’t really reveal much of the story, but it does simply ooze an overall sense of unease that cannot be denied. And this feeling permeates pretty much the entire film as well, as it plays off Giallo tropes such as the gloved killer, witness to murder, bright red gore, complex deaths, and even more complex plot threads. BLUW EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL does Giallo well, and even incorporates some film noir in there as there is a lot of femme fatalle-ing going on along with some fantastically lit scenes contrasting black and white, alluding to the black and white aspects of each character.
Naschy plays an ex-con outcast Rambo-type (FIRST BLOOD, not the sequels) named Gilles who wanders into a small town looking for work. Though he is encouraged by the locals to move on, a woman with a maimed arm named Claude (Diana Lorys) picks him up and offers him work at her mansion where she introduces him to her two sisters; the wheelchair bound Ivette (Maria Perschy) and the lusty Nicole (Eva León) who immediately takes a liking to Gilles. Immediately, Gilles begins having visions and nightmares about strangling a woman, reminding him of sins he would rather leave in the past. When a series of bloody murders occur, the authorities believe it’s the new guy. But as more bodies pile up, all missing their blue eyes, dark secrets begin to be unearthed and the killer may not be the most obvious suspect.
BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL has all kinds of twists and turns going on, making sure to keep the viewer on their toes and on the edge of their seat. Naschy plays a burly brute, but a sensitive one and while he surely can’t be the killer, the true identity of the murderer is kept until the last second. And even then things aren’t completely wrapped up in a nice bow. The cops are a little less bumbling in this one with some actual forensics being used to figure distinguish who the real murderer is and the ensuing manhunt with Naschy in the sights is indeed quite thrilling and ends in a truly bloody fashion.
One warning; Though I never like to see real animals hurt in films, I know that is a deal breaker for some folks, so I feel the need to warn you all that there is a scene of a pig being slaughtered that is pretty graphic. This was tough for me to watch and I’m sure there are those who will feel the same.
On top of all of the Giallo going on, there’s some fantastic cinematography going on with scenes shown in silhouette against a bright red background and the killings drenched in bright red blood. While Naschy is great as the villain and the tortured soul in horror films, it’s not often that he plays a hero. Even then, this hero role is textured in past sins. Naschy plays the hero/victim here, an unwitting pawn of the murderer and a rat trapped in a cage with all of these women. In many ways, this film feels like an Italian Giallo version of THE BEGUILED where a man arrives at a home full of women and brings out the worst in them and disrupts a fragile mechanism simply be being a male. BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL not only has an awesome name, but it turned out to be a pretty amazing little Giallo with another memorable performance by Naschy.
Other films in the Paul Naschy Collection Vol.1!
NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF
HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB
VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES
Other Paul Naschy Films!
A WEREWOLF IN THE AMAZON