If you enjoy Paul Naschy’s movies then Horror Rises from the Tomb (El espanto surge de la tumba) has everything you could possibly desire.
It has evil sorcerers, vampires and zombies, a magical talisman, lots or gore and plenty of nudity. And it has a script that is exactly like every other movie that Paul Naschy wrote.
Naschy is Alaric de Marnac, a 15th century sorcerer, and as the movie opens he is about to be executed along with his beautiful vampire companion, Mabille De Lancré (Helga Liné). The couple curse their executioners and promise to return to take their vengeance.
Then, as in most of Nachy’s movies, we cut to the present day. A descendant of Alaric de Marnac and a group of his friends have the very unwise idea of holding a séance. naturally they summon up the evil spirit of the dead sorcerer. They then have an even more unwise idea - to go to the de Marnac country house, deep in the remote mountains where the inhabitants don’t know that the Middle Ages ever ended, to find out if the legend is true that de Marnac’s head was buried separately from his body.
Naturally the evil spirit compels our intrepid but foolish adventurers to dig up the head. They had yet another dumb idea - to hire some local cut-throats to help them with the digging. Pretty soon the evil spirit is making use of the zombie-fied bodies of the criminals to reunite his head with his body so that he can enact the rites that will restore the vampire Mabille to life. He and Mabille can then have some good times killing everybody they can find and tearing out their hearts (fresh hearts being their favourite tasty treats).
Before long just about everybody is either dead or has been turned into a zombie, or both. Luckily the painter friend of the present-day descendant of de Marnac has seen a few zombie movies and he remembers that zombies hate fire. And luckily the beautiful Elvira (Emma Cohen) remembers that her dad used to own a talisman that would protect the wearer from the spirits of evil sorcerers. But the cast is biting the dust so rapidly that we wonder if anyone will be left to destroy the evil forces. Then we remember this is a Paul Naschy movie, so somebody will survive long enough to do just that.
Carlos Aured directed this one and while he’s not one of the great horror directors he does a competent job.
Paul Naschy plays the same character (or the same pair of characters) he always played. If you enjoy Naschy’s acting that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This was apparently Helga Liné’s first foray into the horror genre and she makes a great evil sexy vampire. Víctor Alcázar as the modern de Marnac’s buddy is adequate as is the rest of the supporting cast.
Like most Spanish horror movies of that era this one was shot in both a “clothed” version for the heavily censored Spanish market and a “nude” version for other markets. BCI offers us the nude version and there’s enough nudity and gore to satisfy any horror fan.
BCI released this movie as part of a two-DVD package that also included Amando de Ossorio’s The Loreley's Grasp (which is a much better movie). Both movies are presented in absolutely superb anamorphic widescreen transfers and both look stunning. Horror Rises from the Tomb includes a commentary track by Naschy and director Carlos Aured. If you can get hold of a copy of this two-movie set buy it. It’s worth it just for The Loreley's Grasp and you can consider Horror Rises from the Tomb as a bonus.
Horror Rises from the Tomb is strictly for Naschy fans but it’s fun if you don’t take it too seriously.