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
Time: 89 minutes, French "nude" version:
DVD Availability: Various, including GB and America.
A scene for publicity.
The Black House DVD.
The Wizard video.
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
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
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.
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."