Despite being 54 years old and already surviving one heart attack, Paul Naschy took on the heavy burden of playing multiple monsters in this film, as he appears as Frankenstein’s Monster, Mr. Hyde, Phantom of the Opera, Quasimodo, The Devil and the humans Hector and Alex Doriani. Oh yes — and Waldemar Daninsky, El Hombre Lobo!
For a long time, this movie was never officially released. Before the death of one of its producers, it was to have a lavish budget. It’s better than Naschy usually got, which gives him ample time to get into makeup and play multiple roles. It also got better talent, including Howard Vernon (Dr. Orloff!) and Caroline Munro (Starcrash).
Mostly, Naschy plays Hector, a horror actor devoted to living a carnal life that he compares to de Sade, Gilles de Rais, Vlad Tepes and Jack the Ripper. Each night, Vernon brings him a new prostitute and he dresses up in complicated horror makeup. As you do.
Meanwhile, he’s raising his brother’s son Alex (or Adrian, depending on the translation, played by Naschy’s son Sergio Molina) ever since his sibling killed himself. He may have been helped by the fact that his wife was cheating on him with his own brother. And since he overdosed on heroin, Alex is with Hector, yet lost in his own world of monsters, which is where we get to see Daninsky.
Oh and meanwhile again, there’s a priest in love with a servant girl (Munro) who left him in the past. He pays a homeless man to spy on her and bring him back under penalty of her death. And while all that’s going on, a giallo-style killer is offing people on the grounds of Hector’s estate. And beyond all that — so much is happening! — Alex is trying to bring his father back from the dead.
Imagine Godzilla’s Revenge about Universal Monsters but with the budget and insanity of a Naschy movie and you’ll see why I loved this so much.
The end of this movie — I don’t want to give anything away — somehow has an actor known for Jess Franco movies getting treated like a Lucio Fulci character in a conclusion that somehow makes this an Omen ripoff by way of The Beyond‘s running to nowhere conclusion. It is truly the Dagwood sandwich of sleazy horror scum and I — pun intended — wolfed down every bite.
You can watch this on YouTube.