EL CARNAVAL DE LAS BESTIAS/CARNAVAL OF THE BEASTS
(American title: Human Beasts)

1980

Cast: Paul Naschy (Bruno Rivera), Eiko Nagashima (Mieko), Silvia Aguilar (Alicia), Azucena Hernandez (Monica), Julia Saly (Teresa), Lautaro Muria, Luis Ciges, Ricardo Palacios, Rafael Hernandez, Tito Garcia, Manuel Pereiro, Kogi Moritugu 
Director: Jacinto Molina
Producer: Paul Naschy, Julia Saly, Masurao Takeda (Dalmata Films, Spain); Hori Kikaku (Japan)
Screenplay: Jacinto Molina
Photography: Alejandro Ulloa
Music: CAM
Running time: 84 min.

Eastmancolor

Filmed in Japan and Spain

 

Review: Even with certain refrains borrowed from HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN, Naschy's first co-production film with the Japanese is an oddity from him. The wonder is that Naschy, as screenwriter, takes a dim (or, shall we say, realistic) viewpoint of mankind and spiritual rebirth. Not only does Naschy start out as a betraying, cold-blooded killer, but his ethical reawakening, under a family's solicitous care, is challenged by events not of his own choosing, though perhaps set in motion by the dictates of retributional fate. Subtle images of human sacrifice (the crucifix in Naschy's room) and naive contempt for lower life forms (both Naschy and his oriental love crush insects) underline the carnivorous motifs running through the film. We also get pig slaughter and a repast where the humans act more like animals than the animals they are partaking of. Yet the characters are never despicable. Naschy is consistently sympathetic (this very fact proves what a likeable film presence he has, particularly in his mature years), and the rather odd family he stays with have a certain old-world charm about them. The ending is uncompromising and something Hollywood, with its indulgence to the ordinary tastes of preview audiences, would never allow. Naschy's direction is assured (the shootout at the ruins near the beginning of the film is handled well, with a willingness to listen to nature and recognize, in its unrestrained sounds, the currents of human loneliness and fear). The musical track, supposedly different in this English version, uses a variety of cues from some interesting sources. The title theme is actually Ennio Morricone's "Dies Irae Psichedelico" from Escalation; and though I can't identify them, some other cues seem to be taken from Morricone, too. Lusty and gusty, with a touch of unexpected ribald humor, Human Beasts is a solid entry in the Naschy canon. [Source print: All Seasons Entertainment; see The Mystery Behind All Seasons for a discussion of the variants of this tape.]