Panic Beats (1983)

EDITOR’S NOTE: R. D Francis first covered this for our site on June 26, 2019. I think it may have actually been the first thing he contributed. I’m excited to watch the new Mondo Macabro release of this, which is a great reason to cover this film for the site. 

In case you didn’t guess from all the films of his we’ve covered, we kind of love Paul Naschy around here.

Sort of a sequel and a remake of 1973’s Horror Rises from the Tomb, this Naschy effort was written and directed under his real name, Jacinto Molina. Naschy also brings back the same role he played in that movie, Alaric de Marnac.

Within moments of the film starting, Alaric is already chasing women down while in horseback and caving in their skulls with a mace. Fast-forward a few hundred years and we meet Paul Marnac (also Naschy), who brings his infirm wife Geneviève (Night of the WerewolfThe People Who Own the Dark) to his family’s ancestral home. Of course, you know that this home was built above the ruins of Alaric’s castle and that Marnac’s ancestor comes back every hundred years or so to ruin his relatives’ lives, starting with scaring Marnac’s wife literally to death.

Or was it all a ruse? Did Paul really just want to get with his younger lover Mireille all along? Is Paul also sleeping with the maid’s niece Julie? Is Alaric real and coming for everyone? Yes, yes, yes and oh yes, just wait until the absolutely gore-drenched last ten minutes,

Somehow, this movie goes from a twist and turn tale of lovers getting people out of the way to a Fulci-level splatterfest by the end of the film. Bravo!

Also, if you love the body of Naschy — and I know who you are and I think you do — he’s nude in a bathtub for your viewing enjoyment.

Naschy also played Marnac in The Devil’s Possessed. Most people would worry about typecasting. Not Naschy — he also played the werewolf by night Count Waldemar Daninsky twelve times in his career.

Mondo Macabro’s blu ray release has a new 4k transfer from a film negative, making this movie sparkle. I’m used to seeing Naschy in the grainiest of quality. This is really something else. It also includes two interviews with Paul Naschy and audio commentary from The Naschycast (Troy Guinn & Rod Barnett).

You better believe that this movie has my absolute recommendation. If I came to your house and it wasn’t in your collection, I would silently judge you.

You can now order the all-region Blu-ray of Panic Beats from Mondo Macabro or through Diabolik DVD.

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