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El Jorobado de la Morgue

Hunchback of the Morgue
Stunde der Grausamen Leichen / The Hunchback of Rue Morgue / Rue Morgue Massacres

Spain 1973
produced by
Eva Film, Janus Films
directed by Javier Aguirre
starring Paul Naschy, Alberto Dalbés, Rosanna Yanni, Víctor Alcázar, María Elena Arpón (as Helen Harp), Maria Perschy, Manuel de Blas, Antonio Pica, Joaquín Rodríguez Kinito, Adolfo Thous, Ángel Menéndez, Fernando Sotuela, Antonio Ramis, Alfonso de la Vega, Sofía Casares, Antonio Mayans, Susan Taff, José Luis Chinchilla, Richard Santis, Iris André, Ingrid Rabel, Blaki, Susana Latour, Dani Card, Saturno Cerra, Júlio Martín, Victoria Ayllón
story by Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina), screenplay by Paul Naschy (as Jacinto Molina), Javier Aguirre, Alberto S.Insúa, music by Carmelo A.Bernaola, special effects by Pablo Pérez

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Hunchback Gotho (Paul Naschy), who works at the local morgue, is basically the center of ridicule and humiliation in the small Austrian village he lives in - only Ilsa (María Elena Arkón) has always sympathized with him, but now Ilsa has died, and Gotho steals his corpse from the morgue, even if that means killing two morgue employees, and hides her in the local catacombs ... where before long, rats begin gnawing on her.

Gotho is desperate to bring Ilsa back to live though, so he turns to Doctor Horla (Alberto Dalbés) for help ... and wouldn't cou know it, Doc Horla agrees to help him, since he always wanted to bring the dead back to life, and he not only helps Gotho evade the police (after all, he is now a wanted murderer and corpse-robber), he also builds himself a lab complete with acid pit in a torture dungeon adjacent to the catacombs.

Everything seems to go into pieces though when Horla's graverobbers throw Ilsa's corpse into the acid pit because of her stench, which prompts Gotho to throw the trio after her ... ouch. Then Gotho, a kind creature at heart, wants to give himself up to the police, but Doc Horla promises him to build him a new Ilsa if he stays and helps.

Together with his assistant Tauchner (Víctor Alcázar), Horla has soon built a creature from protoplasm, and tries to feed it corpses to assume human shape ... but the corpses won't do, so he makes Gotho kidnap girls from the local women's prison, to feed the creature with live specimen. Tauchner soon opposes the doctor's move, so does Tauchner's girlfreind Frieda (Maria Perschy), head of the prison in question, but for Horla, his experiments go above everything, so he throws them in a cell conveniently attached to his torture chamber-lab.

Gotho continues to do the doctor's bidding, but then he finds love in Elke (Rosanna Yanni), the one woman who, just like Elke, is able to see him as a gentle creature, and she actually falls in love and has sex with him ... even though she's pretty sure he has killed all the people he's accused of. Then one day though, she secretly follows him into the catacombs and gets caught. But when the doctor tells Gotho to feed her to his creature as well, Gotho rebels, sets free Tauchner and Frieda and sends Elke to freedom with them before having a showdown with the doctor, one in which the doctor's creature also joins in ... and to noone's real surprise, all three end up in the acid pit.

 

Eurohorror at its trashiest best: The whole story doesn't make too much actual sense and seems to be little more than a collection of horror clichés chosen from a textbook rather by chance, but then the story is a perfect hanger for quite a bit of sex and shocks, the special effects are under-budgeted and crude, but all the more effective in their crudeness, and the authentic Austrian backdrops give the film an almost irresistible atmosphere at times.

Now of course, if you take a film like this too seriously, you will just find the film silly low budget fare, but if you're a true trash enthusiast, you'll love it for the very same reason.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD