Rojo Sangre (2004)

rojo sangreFor those not in the know, Paul Naschy (screen name of actor Jacinto Molina) is a veritable icon of horror movies. Referred to affectionately as “The Wolfman of Spain” by his legion of fans, Naschy has appeared in more films than I can count (a ton of which I still haven’t seen). He is best known, however, for his recurring character of Waldemar Daninsky, a Spanish werewolf who manages to die at the end of every film yet somehow come back for another outing (kinda like our own slasher icons). Naschy was a king from the late ’60s to the mid 1980s, and then his advancing age, the fickle tastes of filmgoers, and a relative downturn in the popularity of the genre in general left him looking for work.

Rojo Sangre, which Naschy wrote under his real name, is a loosely autobiographical tale about the actor, once so famous and loved, who finds himself ignored, forgotten, and unappreciated by modern audiences. He ends up finding a job outside a high end brothel. Mr. Reficul (the man who owns the brothel) needs an actor to act as a human statue in the guise of famous historical villains such as Jack the Ripper, Rasputin, Ivan the Terrible, etc. From here on he has trouble understanding what is real and imaginary. This is probably one of the better foreign horror films I have seen in a while. Both Karen and I got drawn in fairly quickly and it had us the rest of the film.

rojo sangre 2The story reveals each twist and turn one by one, leading the viewer deeper and deeper into the story and each of the characters. The director, Christian Molina, does a wonderful job as setting up an unsettling atmosphere and building suspense throughout the story. The film itself is beautifully shot. The colorful interiors contrast with the dull, grey city streets, giving the film a sense of containing two different worlds. The lighting is wonderful and the colors evoke a sense of earlier Dario Argento films. Red is used very effectively throughout the film. The script is very well written by Paul Naschy himself, under his real name, Jacinto Molina. It seems that he has an ax to grind with the film industry! There is some clever and hilarious dialogue throughout, such as the opening scene showing Pablo talking to a fellow older actor about a strange stress reliever he uses.rojo sangre 4

The gore is adequate, but not over the top. This is more a film about focusing on the character of Pablo than anything else, though, so gore isn’t a big focus here. There is one scene in particular were we see the aftermath of one of Pablo’s attacks that is pretty grisly! In addition, we get stabbings, throat slashings, a torture scene in which a girl is strung up and beaten on film, shootings and the handy use of some Japanese blades.

Rojo Sangre is a stylish film, different from the typical hack and slash horror films and it entertained me through and through. While it wasn’t scary, it was still suspenseful and it was very interesting to see where the story went. I was impressed with Rojo Sangre’s gorgeous style, the performances of the actors and the original story. After viewing this film, I am looking forward to checking out more films from Naschy’s repertoire and more horror films from Spain.

Rojo Sangre – Trailer

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2 Responses to “Rojo Sangre (2004)”

  1. RIP – Paul Naschy, 75, who drank blood, howled at the moon, swathed himself in bandages, and didn’t let a hunched back deter his dreams. But the “Boris Karloff of Spain” was no match for an even more horrific monster: pancreatic cancer. http://urdead2me.wordpress.com/2009/12/01/rip-paul-naschy/

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