Sunday, August 5, 2012

Vengeance of the Zombies (1973)

And the winner for best "Death by small can" scene in a horror movie goes to "Vengeance of the Zombies." Not that there was a whole lot of competition outside of "Undead."

Anyways, there have been many a times in which horror movies seem to forgo anything resembling logic in their quest to scare or entertain. Sometimes this works (The films of Dario Argento and Lucio Fulci for example), sometimes it doesn't (the films of Dante Tomaselli), and then there are goes films that aren't good and make little sense, but you find yourself enjoying them anyway. Leon Klimovsky achieved this in 1973 with the Paul Naschy vehicle "Vengeance of the Zombies."

Indian Mystic Krisna (Naschy) has things going his way. He's pretty popular, the ladies love him (Yep, this is a Paul Naschy film alright!) and nothing bad seems to be happening. That is, until his girlfriend Elvire (Romy) starts having nightmares involving Satanic rites (with Naschy playing Satan), a masked killer being on the loose, and a group of vengeful female zombies roaming around. Oh, and Krisna's deformed brother (Naschy again.)

There are numerous flaws to be found here (plot holes, a completely inappropriate lounge score, mediocre direction and acting), but "Vengeance of the Zombies" manages to be pretty fun for what it is: dumb exploitation made for undemanding viewers. In a way, the ultimately silly nature of the whole thing works more than it doesn't. There's just something nice about a movie that has such a "let's put on a show" attitude, and the added nudity and gore (including a nifty decapitation) adds to the experience.

Another reason the thing works better than it should is because it basically throws in everything but the kitchen sink to entertain viewers. Satanic rituals? Check. Sexploitation? Check. Voodoo spells? Check. Zombies? Check. Black gloved killer? You get the point. It's like watching a smorgasbord/greatest hits collection of Euro exploitation from the period, and it's hard not to smile at most of it. Plus, how many times to you see someone get killed with a small can in horror movies?

"Vengeance of the Zombies" is anything but a good movie, and more serious minded genre aficionados will probably cringe through most of it. Those who love dumb exploitation and "so-bad-it's-good" movies will be more forgiving, and probably enjoy the stupid enterprise on display.

Rating: 7/10

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