The Frenchman’s Garden (1978)

The Frenchman’s Garden Murders were a series of 6 murders committed by Andrés Aldije Monmejá — known as El Francés as he was from France — Hosé Muñoz Lopera in Seville, Spain at the start of the last century.

Monmejá and Lopera had set up a gambling and prostitution establishment where they would rob and even kill their guests, then bury them in — you knew it from the title — the garden behind the building. They were both executed by the garrote in 1906.

Don’t expect a Naschy horror film here. This is a historical crime drama about one of Spain’s most notorious serial killers. According to Mondo Macabro, this was a very personal project for Naschy, who wrote, directed and acted in the film. He even omitted his name as an actor from all the promotional material for this movie, instead making María José Cantudo (Horror Rises from the TombThe Killer Is Not Alone) and Agata Lys (The Return of the Musketeers) the stars. He also used his real name, Jacinto Molina, for the directing credit. Also, keep an eye out for Silvia Tortosa,  who was Countess Irina Petrovska in Horror Express.

It’s really intriguing to see the non-horror side of Naschy, even if this is a dark-themed film.

As always, you have to love Mondo Macabro. They’ve made this movie available, fully uncut and restored, for the first time on US home video. Beyond the gorgeous new 4K restoration, there’s audio commentary by The Naschycast‘s Troy Guinn and Rodney Barnett and Human Beast: The Films of Paul Naschy author Troy Howarth, as well as an archival interview with Paul Naschy. You can buy it directly from their site.

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