All Seasons Entertainment | Review by Dan Taylor
my Golden Age of exploitation education
we'll just call them the 1980s
I remember passing up plenty of Paul
Naschy flicks in the video store. Often
displayed in those oversized, cheap cardboard
boxes they just had that feel of promising
something they couldn't deliver.
Ah, the folly of youth.
Thanks to obsessive Eurotrash
fanatic pals, I'm knee deep in what I like
to call my Naschy-fication. And with 80+
films to his credit, it's safe to say it's
still in its early stages. Whether it's
a neo-T&A werewolf bash (THE UNLIVING
aka TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF), crazed reanimated
sorcerer tale (HORROR
RISES FROM THE TOMB), apocalyptic adventure
(PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK), the devil's gonna
get ya possession tale (EXORCISM),
or a trademark
Naschy werewolf outing, the flicks all
possess a don't-blink-or-you'll-miss-it
genre-shifting patchwork that keeps even
the lowest-budgeted flick entertaining.
HUMAN BEASTS a Spanish/Japanese
co-production written and directed by Naschy
is no exception.
Naschy stars as Bruno Rivera,
a hat-wearing mercenary hired by a gang
of Japanese militants. Brought in to teach
them all he knows, Bruno double-crosses
the members during a diamond heist, kills
a bunch of people, and finds himself on
the lam from members of the gang looking
for a little Asian-style revenge.
Tracked down by the pissed-off
members including Mieko (Eiko Nagashima),
the woman he'd been involved with prior
to the double-cross a wounded Bruno
is found and brought to the home of a doctor
and his two daughters.
And here's where HUMAN BEASTS
remarkably switches gears from an average
action/revenge flick to a gripping and sinister
thriller with a touch of horror and a dash
of ghost story.
The two daughters both want Bruno, but he
has "feelings" for Alicia (Silvia
Aguilar), whose blood courses through his
veins. The doctor whips the family's black
maid, then hops into bed with her. There's
a pig slaughter, a mysterious woman who
warns Bruno to get out of the house, flashbacks
to life with Mieko, and un-PC dialogue like:
"An Oriental woman. I'm afraid I don't
know who she was – they all look the same
Finally inspired to leave
this house of craziness behind, Bruno plots
his escape during a feast the doctor (dressed
as a Nazi) serves to his guests (including
a guy dressed as Superman). What happens
next is refreshingly untainted. Watching
it, one can't imagine how the same tale
would be treated by Hollywood circa 2004.
To give away anything more would spoil the