THE HANGING WOMAN (1971) aka TERROR OF THE LIVING DEAD aka RETURN OF THE ZOMBIES aka ORGY OF THE DEAD
D. Jose Louis Merino
I have a special love for Paul Naschy and his films. In 2007 when the BCI releases came out I introduced his work to a very dear friend of mine that I unfortunately do not get to see often. The two of us came to love watching Naschy's movies together and over the years since it has become something we do together. Life has it's way of making things difficult and time has not allowed us to watch more of his movies since we looked at HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN near the beginning of this year. As part of my Halloween Horror Challenge I decided to look at THE HANGING WOMAN, released by Troma. I really wish my friend had been here for it.
THE HANGING WOMAN is clearly not one of Naschy's better vehicles. In fact he is only in it sporadically playing IGOR the local gravedigger with a penchant for kissing up the sleeping bosoms of maidens and touching up the corpse of his dead girl. The real plot deals with Serge (Stelvio Rosi) a count who has come to a sleepy town to claim the mansion left behind by his dead Uncle. He finds a house full of insanity with Uncle's former partner and his daughter conducting electric experiments on dead tissue in hopes of resurrection. Also living there is his Uncle's mistress who wants only to sell the mansion and get her mega-bucks.
Serge fucks his way through the female cast while trying to figure out what is going on. Along the way the Doctor's daughter is found hanging in the graveyard, but she clearly did not die by her own hand. Eventually all roads lead to the fact his Uncle is still walking around killing.
The movie has a leaden pace that only livens up during the psychedelically shot sex scenes, and the few and far between gore scenes. The climax with the living dead is thankfully very effective with some incredible make up. Naschy is in the climactic scenes the most, so fans of the man have to wait to see him in action.
The TROMA DVD is the most complete version of the movie possible, but it still looks like shit. While it is clearly cut together from several prints but not much remastering seems to have been done. Thankfully they went buck wild with the extras with a commentary, a bunch of interesting featurettes, trailers and a great spot on dubbing in Spain by Art Ettinger and Mike Maggot.
If I was going to recommend a Naschy film this would not be at the top of the list. But it quenches the Naschy thirst somewhat.
Review © Andrew Copp