Vengeance of the Zombies (DVD)
Directed by León Klimovsky
Distributed by Deimos Entertainment
"When I wrote the screenplay of "La rebelion de las muertas" (Vengeance of the Zombies), I must have been under the effects of hashish or, like Bram Stoker, I'd had one hell of a nightmare." -- Paul Naschy, from his biography Memoirs of a Wolfman (order here).
Man, he wasn't kidding. Vengeance of the Zombies plays like a drug-induced nightmare. Before we get to the goodies, let's take a brief look at the storyline, shall we?
Meet Krisna (Naschy). He's just your average ordinary Indian mystic who's interested in helping others reach a heightened sense of enlightenment. Yet, this man of peace has one hell of a skeleton in his closet that comes in the form of his brother, Kantaka (also Naschy). This sibling has anything but tranquility on his mind as he uses his voodoo powers to raise half-naked hot chicks from the dead to kill those who have wronged him. That's basically the long and short of it; however, there's also a bit of a love story involved, some traditional whodunit type themes, and even an appearance by the Devil himself (Naschy pulling down triple acting duty), all set to the most curious Seventies jazz soundtrack I have ever heard! Holy shit, that's a lot of stimuli!
So much in fact that after the film's release Naschy was contacted by practitioners of the black arts because they felt as if he were sending them hidden messages via the film. These kooks were set to have Naschy become the messiah of their sect! You just can't make this stuff up, folks!
Jacinto Molina, or Paul Naschy as he is better known, is one of the last living horror icons of our time, and this film serves as a sterling example why. It's like watching an old Universal flick with some Hammer elements thrown in for good measure. Sexy, erotic, scary, and disturbing, Vengeance of the Zombies has it all! The best part? Now for the first time ever here in the States we actually get to see the entire film completely digitally remastered as opposed to the dreary edited VHS versions and bootlegs that have been floating around for the past several years. The great and mighty horror video gods have truly smiled upon us.
While not exactly packing extras, Vengeance of the Zombies still comes home to us in top form. It's all about the transfer here, people. The film has simply never looked better. Hell, I'd buy this even if it were bare bones, but thankfully we do get a bit of meat.
The film itself is introduced by Naschy bringing with him a brief synopsis of what it meant to him to have starred in and written it. After the feature we get to poke around an odd assortment of goodies such as the alternate "clothed versions" of some of the flick's racier scenes. You know killing a chicken onscreen is perfectly acceptable to some folks in Spain, but popping out a titty? That's just taboo! Also included are the original Spanish opening credit sequence, a fairly extensive still gallery, the U.S. trailer, and some rather comprehensive liner notes from author Mirek Lipinski.
Speaking of which ...
Just from the cover of the film, you can see the vibe the distributors were going for with this release was an old faded bootleg VHS look. The liner notes themselves appear pretty much the same way with tiny specks of dust and smudges. It's apparent that a lot of thought went into the look and feel of this DVD, but someone blundered. You see the art on the DVD itself is taken from a picture on the liner notes, but whoever decided to use this image forgot to rid it of the words Liner Notes. That's right! The actual title on the disc reads, "Vengeance of the Zombies Liner Notes". Sure, this is a little thing and doesn't detract from the package at all, but I just had to mention it.
Naschy fans rejoice! This is the moment you've all waited so patiently for. A true foreign horror classic has come home, and it's everything we hoped it would be. Buy it, pop it in, and bust out the hashish. It's one hell of a trip, man. Far-fuckin'-out!
Complete uncut version of the film with introduction by Paul Naschy
Spanish credit sequence
Liner notes by author Mirek Lipinski
4 out of 5
2 1/2 out of 5
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