Director: Javier Aguirre
Screenplay: Javier Aguirre, Alberto S. Insua
Photography: Francisco Fraile
Music: Alfonso Santisteban
Cast: Patty Shepard, Simon Andreu, Jose Maria Prada, Trini Alonso,
Dianik Zurakowska, Jack Taylor, Eduardo Calvo, May Heatherly,
Ramiro Oliveros, Paul Naschy
Time: 93 minutes.
DVD Availability: Legally, only in Spain.
A page from the sales brochure.
The Spanish DVD from Filmax.
A TV page listing for the film.
The soundtrack by Alfonso Santisteban was recently released.
A cast of Spain's "who's who" is one of the features
of this 1976 film by director Javier Aguirre. Assembled at a villa
are the guests, including, playing their roles, Simon Andreu,
Dianik Zurakowska, Jack Taylor, May Heatherly, Eduardo Calvo,
and others. The hostess is owner Lisa Mondel (Patty Shepard).
We soon find out that each of the assembled group has some secret
in their personal lives that is revealed in their stay, though
initially all are superficial in their smiles and charms.
For director Aguirre, this film follows
THE HUNCHBACK OF MORGUE and COUNT DRACULA'S GREAT LOVE. Both films
were directed by Aguirre and starred Paul Naschy, who appears
here in a smaller role, mainly, as he states, for the money.
This is clearly a change of pace
for Aguirre, as this is no nudity or unwholesome atmosphere. A
murder mystery without the requisite, continual exploitative elements
that would make it better known outside of Spain, it remains unreleased
in the DVD or Blu-Ray format in the United States, despite being
directed by Aguirre, with a mostly recognizable cast (by now)
of Spanish horror greats, and the legendary Paul Naschy in a guest
The film never had English dubbing
that we are aware of, nor a theatrical exhibition catering to
an English-speaking audience. It did play, however, on local Spanish
programming here in the States. A Spanish-speaking showing theatrically
is not confirmed, but may have happened. It's only legitimate
DVD release was in Spain, but nothing so far in the United States.
The Spanish salesbook has a synopsis in both Spanish and English,
however. The English text is highly awkward, with many
spelling and grammar mistakes. No wonder the film appears to have
no English dubbing. The money seems to have run out for that or
the use of a translator who knew what he or she was doing.
For the viewer, this film takes time and patience.
One has to pay attention to the words being said and the expressions
of the guests. Though at times the film achieves a "wake-up"
call, this mostly has to do with the various murders that take
place in the villa. A proper DVD or Blu-Ray in the United States
would have to be handled with extra care, as the film is not just
an exploitation classic that can be appreciated by visuals alone.
Is it a bad film? That depends. While hardly in
the same league as the two previous Aguirre-Naschy pairings, the
film offers something of interest to Spanish horror fans, even
though they may be disappointed by the overall impact of the film.
During the filming, Naschy received word that
he had won the Georges Melies Award for best performance in THE
HUNCHBACK OF THE MORGUE and had to immediately head to Paris to
accept the honor.
Some the filming and scenery was shot in the outskirts
English synopsis from the sales
brochure, corrected for proper English and spelling mistakes--and
there were a lot! It is both amusing and disconcerting to read
just how many errors of even simple spelling occur. Awkward language
has been kept a bit to show how strange is the translation. Note:
In a luxurious villa of a European
country, the owner, Lisa Montel, has invited twelve guests to
spend a weekend with her. During the first night, at supper, Lisa
declares a sensational revelation which makes the guests astonished
and under tremendous tension. The reason for the meeting is to
discover the murderer of her husband, apparently dead in an accident
two years ago.
The murderer is one of the twelve
guests. Some of them doubt her word and even accuse her of the
crime, the motive being one of two reasons, economical and passionate.
Two of the women who have been invited have been
Carlos' lovers, Lisa's husband. Cecilian, one of Carlos' lovers,
is murdered when she is going to tell Harry, one of the guests
and her actual lover, the identity of the murderer.
Almost immediately, Harry, a playboy, is murdered.
The two crimes create an atmosphere of an unstable
tension. The presence of the murderer is certain.
The principle suspects are, Francis, Carlos' cousin,
and Guillermo, the husband of one of the Carlos' lovers. There
is also a suspicion that the crime could have been done by Celias'
husband, an old delinquent whose identity nobody knows.
Berta, Carlos' aunt and Francis' mother, tells Lisa
that she knows the identity of the murderer, but the next morning
she is found strangled in the library.
Of this last crime, the murderer leaves a clue which
seems will uncover the enigma, but Laura Guillermo's wife seems
the murderer and he runs away, after having a big fight with the
chauffer who tries to stop him in his escape. Guillermo is in
such a hurry to escape that he has an accident against a tree,
and his case reveals an important amount of heroin.
Everything seems to be resolved, the guests go away,
and Lisa apparently is alone with Henri, the butler, who is also
her lover. When they are alone and embrace, Lisa verifies with
horror that one of the silvered buttons of Henri's jacket is sewn
with a different thread than the others. She discovers also that
they are not alone. Amadeo and Marta are in the villa, and together
they discover the murderer.