Movie Review: Empusa / Cert: TBC / Director: Jacinto Molina / Screenplay: Paul Naschy / Starring: Paul Naschy, Antonio Mayans, Maria Jesus Solina / Release Date: Out Now (via website only)
A long time coming, this is the final feature film from Spanish horror legend Paul Naschy, which was completed several years prior to his death in 2010, but lack of distribution has held up its release. It is now available as a very affordable download on the film's official website.
Here, Naschy plays Abel, a former actor now spending his days drinking absinthe, walking the beach with his best friend, sailor Victor (Antonio Mayans) and researching the occult. On one of their walks, the pair find a severed hand, and naturally Abel wants to take it home, which he does, and discovers the symbol tattooed on the wrist has a connection to an ancient breed of vampire – the Empusa. More mutilated bodies turn up and Victor is killed (only to return Jack Goodman style to aid Abel). Abel, on the other hand, is receiving more than normal attention from a lot of young, sexy women including flame haired Christabel (Cristina Carrión) who likes nothing but frolicking nude in the ocean, and Lilith (Laura De Pedro) who teases the ageing writer about not wearing knickers. The two, however have their own agenda, and both want to use Abel to aid their pursuit of vampiric supremacy.
Naschy once again takes the directing, writing and starring credits, but sadly, this outing will not be remembered as one of his best. It isn't terrible, there's a lot of fun to be had with the bubbly dialogue and Naschy, as always, is incredibly watchable (even in an appalling wig). The plot is a mishmash of genuine Greek mythology and standard vampire tropes; it’s entertaining but runs out of steam somewhat before we get to the slaying. The effects are cheap and cheerful, but will certainly not blow anyone away. If you are unfamiliar with Naschy, it will be a letdown, but for fans, there's plenty to enjoy, even if it is not the swansong the legendary horror star deserves. He does, though, appear to be enjoying himself, being draped with naked young women and having fun with what people may expect from the genre.
The film is available to buy (as a download) for a mere $4.50 - it won't break the bank, and you never know, you may enjoy it.
Expected Rating: 5 out of 10