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EL ASESINO ESTA ENTRE LOS TRECE/THE KILLER IS ONE OF THIRTEEN - 1976

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Above:

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.

REVIEW: 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 role.

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.

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Facts:

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 of Madrid.

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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: Spoilers abound.

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.

 

 

Screen captures from Spain's Filmax DVD of EL ASESINO ESTA ENTRE LOS TRECE.

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