31 Days of Halloween — Day 13: Horror Rises From the Grave (1973) — by RedCapJack

HMP RedCap 1Editor’s note: The hosts of Horror Movie Podcast are always impressed by the knowledge and insights of our listenership in the emails and voicemails that we receive, as well as in the comments here at HorrorMoviePodcast.com. Once again, we’ve asked our listeners to participate in our 31 Days of Halloween by contributing written reviews. This review was submitted by a long-time listener and friend of the show Mark Cunningham, who goes by the screen-name “Red Cap Jack” … You can read “Red Cap Jack’s Ranting Lunacy” blog at redcapjack.blogspot.com and follow him on Twitter @RedCapJack.


Title: Horror Rises From the Tomb
Original Title: El Espanto Surge de la Tumba
Country: Spain
Year: 1973
Writer: Paul Naschy
Director: Carlos Aured

Paul Naschy is the undisputed King of Spanish horror and a favored actor in the extended horror community. The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman is a horror host staple and was my first introduction to the legends of Waldimar Deninsky, Naschy’s signature character. I loved the film, and wanted to see much more. Luckily, Naschy leaves behind a legacy of character performances that include serial killers, hunchbacks, mad scientists, and all sorts of blood thirsty mad men.

Horror Rises from the Tomb introduces the evil Alaric De Marnac; a sorcerer and worshipper of dark powers. He and his lover are executed for their crimes and heresy but vow revenge on the descendants of his prosecutors. We flash forward to the modern era, the Mid 1970’s at the time of the film. The descendants of the cult perform a séance that summons the soul of the wandering du Marnac and sets into motion a series of events that will see him rise from the grave. Naschy is cast in two roles, both as the descendant of du Marnac’s brother and as the evil sorcerer himself. The film is wrapped in the European countryside, where the chill fall weather sets a perfect ambiance to the creepy atmosphere of the story. These are the gothic location movies that make horror “fun” to begin with. Creeping shadows old world architecture, sprawling hills, and that sense if dreading in the people if the region.

The blood drips, splashes, and flows from jagged wounds as de Marnac exacts his revenge. There are hints of vampirism, dark displays of sorcery, and even the rise of several zombies to do their masters’ evil bidding. Superstitious villagers, hostile weather, and a lack of modern amenities also contend to end the lives of our main characters. Damsels in distress, powerful talismans, and a convoluted solution that includes an act from “one who is pure of heart” give the protagonists a fighting chance against the evil forces around them. This is classic good versus evil, and du Marnac is as chilling and enthralling a villain as they come.

I attempted to watch the film in its native Castillian with sub-titles, but the sound quality came off with a tin quality that hurt my ears a little on the DVD release I found. I switched back to its English dub, when change had a better sound quality in my opinion. I still read the sub-titles, which were actually fairly excellent and never blended with the background like so many other movies. As with many films of the time, the voice acting is a little weak and lacks some of the passion or emphasis of dialogue going on at the time. It’s an otherwise excellent film well worth a dark evening or matinee afternoon home on the couch with your own favorite beverage and a light snack.

Rating/Recommendation:
7.5/10/ and a strong recommendation for fans of 70s style gothic horror.

– Red Cap Jack


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3 thoughts on “31 Days of Halloween — Day 13: Horror Rises From the Grave (1973) — by RedCapJack

  1. Nice review, Redford. As someone who has only heard of the name Paul Naschy over the years without seeing any of his work, which movie of his do you think would be ideal to watch first to get a fitting impression for whether or not he’ll be someone I’d want to watch more?

  2. —SPOILERS BELOW—

    Day 12 – Nekromantik

    I had only became aware of the bizarre Nekromantik last year when a friend began describing a fantastical film featuring a guy who tries to give his girlfriend the gift of a corpse for her sexual pleasure, but the girlfriend ends up preferring the corpse to the living and breathing boyfriend. With that sort of description, how could I not want to check that out? It sounded utterly insane! When I was younger, I used to enjoy trying to push my limits of what sort of extreme horror I could handle. I started easy with Wes Craven’s The Last House on the Left. That led me to checking out I Spit on Your Grave. It all built up to me making the mistake in watching Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom. To this day, Salò is still one of the most impactful movies I have ever watched. I attribute it as the reason why I’ve given up on needing to try and push myself into watching extreme movies too often. Nekromantik is certainly an extreme movie, but it’s so outlandish that it’s more gross than actually difficult to watch.

    The format of the film is pretty unique in its amatuer style. The narrative is pretty thin and it relies on a series of vignettes to string one unusual scene to the next gross out scene. There’s times when you’re not even sure why a certain scene is taking place as it doesn’t appear to have anything to do with the main story involving the fetish-based couple. Some of the vignettes are even silent short movies with just a song playing over the top of the quiet scene. There’s dream sequences and even a portion that takes place in a movie theater, showing an extended clip of a laughable slasher movie.

    Although Robert is a sick individual, I actually found myself feeling sympathetic towards him. He’s a character that doesn’t have a lot going for himself in life, but everything important to him is taken away from him in a very short manner of time. First, he’s fired from his job, a street sweeper who cleans up after deaths, which means he no longer has a means to add body parts to his fetish collection. Second, losing the job caused his awful girlfriend, Betty, to leave him, taking the new corpse with her. So there goes the love of his life and the one person on this planet that he can be his real self around. Third, with all that he lost, he became completely important, not even able to find pleasure in things that used to bring him joy. Robert is sick, but he becomes such a pathetic and depressing character that I felt for him. The final scene of the film is bittersweet as Robert no longer has realized that he no longer has a reason to live, committing violent suicide in his home. In an unique twist, thanks to Robert’s fetish for all things dead, he finds ultimate uhhh “Pleasure” in killing himself. I guess the film ends on a high note since Robert died embracing what he loved the most.

    Despite being very amateurish, there did seem to be a potential message or theme buried beneath the filth of the scenes. It all has to do with the idea that one becomes desensitized by violence if we’re exposed to too much of it. The scene in the movie theater spotlights this in both a normal and abnormal way. The way most people can relate to the desensitizing is how no one in the theater seemed to be bothered by the violence shown in the slasher, nor when the killer begins to sexually assault his victim. They’ve seen enough horror movies that a normal killer isn’t going to stand out anymore. The abnormal example of this would be Robert trying to use the horror movie as a way to feed his fetish, only to realize that after you had a threesome with your (Now former) girlfriend and a corpse, watching a slasher isn’t going to do much for you anymore. It’s comical and over the top, but it’s the same basic concept as why I can watch a film such as Hostel, and not be affected by it since I’ve already saw enough torture porn films. It’s this message that we’re becoming desensitized by watching too much violence that begins to make me wonder if Nekromantik is far more clever than I originally imagined. If you want to be shocking in an era where horror was already pushing the limits like they were in the 80s, then you sort of have to go so far in graphicness in order to shock your viewers. Buttgereit is even potentially poking fun at filmmakers need to push the boundaries by deciding to follow their lead, but go so much further than anyone else would have thought about going at the time.

    Overall, Nekromantik accomplished what it set out to be. It’s shocking for the sake of being shocking. It’s certainly unlike anything else I’ve ever watched. That final scene alone ensures that I will never be able to forget Nekromantik. It’s made for pennies, the acting isn’t good, and it’s extremely amateurish. If that wasn’t going to put off enough viewers, the graphicness is going to be too far for some horror fans. However, if you’re looking for something different to watch, a type of movie you can brag about watching when comparing bizarre movies with friends, maybe give Nekromantik a watch.

    Rating: 4/10

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