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LAS RATAS NO DUERMEN DE NOCHE/RATS DO NOT SLEEP AT NIGHT - 1973

 

Director: Juan Fortuny
Screenplay: Juan Fortuny, Marius Lesoeur, HL Rostaine
Photography: Francisco Fraile
Music: Daniel J. White
Cast: Paul Naschy, Richard Palmer (Ricardo Palmerola), Carlos Otero, Olivier Mathot, Silvia Solar, Victor Israel, Evelyn Scott, Richard Kolin, Gilda Anderson (Gilda Arancio), Yul Sanders (Claude Boisson)

Time: 89 minutes, French "nude" version: 98 min.

DVD Availability: Various, including GB and America.

Blu-Ray: Kino-Lorber/Redemption

 

 

 

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Above:

Poster art.
A scene for publicity.
The Black House DVD.
The Wizard video.

REVIEW: Popularly known as CRIMSON, this film marks the only time that Paul Naschy did a Eurocine film, Eurocine being the French film company, founded in 1937, known for exploitative and usually cheap productions arising from the European continent. As CRIMSON, it has been released on video, DVD and, now Blu-Ray, from many countries, usually because the Eurocine rights for those countries are not expensive.

For Naschy, the film expanded his acting to France, though he admits that he did the film for work only. After all, he mostly made Spanish films only or co-financed with Spain, and in rare circumstances made a film for another company outside of Spain. His usual films had a script he was responsible for, at least partial. The film being from Eurocine, it was bound to have scenes that were helmed for more of an adult audience, in this case one featuring almost explicit nudity. Naschy did not partake of these scenes, but he did participate in R-rated scenes that were taboo in certain countries. The current DVDs and now Blu-Ray feature the near hardcore scenes as a supplement, allowing the viewer to watch everything.

The plot of the film has Naschy as a criminal leader, Jack Surnett, making an escape by car, but wounded in the brain as he and his gang make their getaway. As Surnett, Naschy lies comatose from his wound. The realization by his gang is that he has to have an operation that involves the severing of another head, one that has been alive not too soon before the fatal cut. The trouble really starts then because the brain chosen is a rival of the Surnett gang, the Sadist (Roberto Mari, who was also a director). So we are confronted with a gang-war, and when the operation is a success, a painful mental adjustment for Surnett, because now a portion of his rival's brain is in his skull! This situation, which almost seems parody, but isn't, allows Naschy to become at times sadist-like, but also to have emotional scenes where he doesn't know what is really happening to him.

With partial funding from Spain, the film also contains Spanish actors, aside from Naschy. So there are Silvia Solar, Ricardo Palmerola, Victor Israel, and others. And, importantly, the film is directed by a Spaniard, Juan Fortuny.

The musical score by Daniel White, a frequent composer for Jess Franco, must be mentioned as it is quite good (and possibly not original to this film). Some parts are relaxed loungey with a female voice accompanying the music.

For the American Blu-Ray, there is a commentary track by Richard Harland Smith, a thankless job as there is not much to say about this film, but Smith does the best he can and offers up interesting tidbits about the actors and the film. It is the first audio commentary for a Naschy film.

It is not too big of a surprise that the film was never released theatrically in the States, and it didn't make an appearance on television. But there are all those videos, DVDs, and now a Blu-Ray to make sure the film is not missed.

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Facts:

In Great Britain, the film is also known as THE MAN WITH THE SEVERED HEAD.

The French pressbook implies that the distributor of this film was MGM in France.

From the Angel Agudo book, PAUL NASCHY, LA MASCARA DE JACINTO MOLINA, translation mine:: "I think it happened at a festival. A couple of people approached me saying 'Fuck, Paul Naschy' and making obscene gestures that I did not understand. Feeling that something was rotten, I went to see the movie and saw that they had used doubles to stimulate hard sex. I knew that these things were done, but it had never happened to me."

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Screen captures from Arrow's DVD of THE MAN WITH THE SEVERED HEAD.

From the Erotic Scenes featurette:

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Contact info: Mirek Lipinski at eurosin@aol.com