Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Panic Beats (1983)
Mondo Macabro | Buy PANIC BEATS at Amazon.com | Review by Dan Taylor

Panic BeatsMy Naschyfication continues with this 1983 thriller that's a bit of an unofficial sequel to the triumphant HORROR RISES FROM THE TOMB, one of the first Paul Naschy flicks to place me under its spell.

I say "unofficial" because while the character of Alaric de Marnac plays a bit part in this twisted little thriller, I don't want folks to get the idea that PANIC BEATS is a demented, kitchen sink horror flick on the same level. Nope, what we get here is Naschy (who wrote, directed and stars) satisfying his Hitchcockian leanings, but without abandoning the nuttiness and gore that makes his flicks such keepers.

After a strong opening featuring a bloody, naked chick running from a mace-wielding knight, some smoking skeletons and a bit of heavy bass, BEATS brings us into the present where we meet Paul (Naschy), a once poor architect who married up and landed the wealthy Genevieve (Julia Saly). With Genevieve's "condition" worsening by the day, Paul decides to take his wife to his country estate – the last part of the de Marnac estate – in the hopes that some country air will do her good.

Upon arriving at the estate and having already weathered an attack by local thugs, Genevieve takes an immediate dislike to Julie (Paquita Ondiviela, a former Miss Universe pageant contestant) the nubile niece of Mabile (Lola Gaos), the longtime housekeeper at the estate. A month goes by, Genevieve begins to regain her strength, have feelings for Paul and even begins to take a liking to the ambitious, orphaned Julie.

With Paul – now resembling a cross between John Belushi and Ed Asner – in Paris on business, things start to take a turn for the worse for Genevieve... snakes in her bed, murderous knights at her door, that kind of thing. Is Paul trying to scare his wife to death? Does Julie have designs on becoming the woman of the house? Has Alaric truly returned from the grave to seek his revenge? Or perhaps it's Maurice, Julie's cheese-eating, Playboy reading drug fiend boyfriend.

To divulge much more would spoil the fun of PANIC BEATS. Rest assured that there's plenty of blood and gore, topless babes, Eurobush, mace-wielding knights, double crosses, and excellent, unexpected jolts to satisfy any Eurotrash fan.

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