Saturday, November 03, 2012

Muchas Gracias Senor Lobo

I am a reader. I cannot be without a book of some type near me even if that book is nowadays often incased in a Kindle. I mostly read a lot of fiction but when my attention turns to the non-fiction arena I tend to want to learn more information about the movies I find entertaining. That is why I've poured over Paul Naschy's autobiography several times and its been a frustration for me that there are so few other books that examine his life and works. When we started the NaschyCast podcast a couple of years ago one of the things Troy and I truly hoped would happen was that there might be a resurgence of DVD releases of his movies and, if we were really lucky, critical books examining them. As has been clear in these days of the imploding DVD industry the chances of major video releases of 'obscure' older horror films from Spain are increasingly slim. Indeed, only THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK has gotten a Region 1 release in the time since we started the show and although I am thrilled with that effort I can't help but feel that there is a market out there for more. Far more. Luckily I am not alone. 

German publishing company Creepy Images has just unleashed the first new book about Paul Naschy in years and it is amazing! Entitled MUCHAS GRACIAS SENOR LOBO the book focuses on the memorabilia of Naschy's movies. It's a showcase for the ad art done for all of his movies from 1968's THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN (a.k.a. FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR) through HOWL OF THE DEVIL (1988). The fine people at Creepy Images have found poster art of every size and description, lobby cards, and press kits from seemingly every country in which these films were ever released. The company's claim about the book is " more than 1.200 pictures, including more than 170 movie posters, almost 750 lobby cards, over 100 press stills, a large part of which have never been published yet, more than 100 reproductions of admats, rare sales material that was only handed out to distribution companies and much more from more than 20 different countries." That is a huge amount of material covered and, to be honest, just flipping through the book can be a bit overwhelming! Its a nearly 400 page tome and each page has at least one eye-catching picture of some sort that begs for closer examination. Paging through it is like getting lost in a museum dedicated to the history of Paul Naschy's career and each new page brings delights I had never known I would see. The alternate poster art for VENGEANCE OF THE ZOMBIES with the title WALK OF THE DEAD? Its here. The entire lobby card set for EXORCISM under the title LE NOTTI DI SATANA? Its here. There are even behind the scenes photos of Julia Saly on the set of THE PEOPLE WHO OWN THE DARK!  Surely that has to be called working above and beyond for a book of this type.

This incredible and exhaustive look at how each movie was advertised around the world is fascinating to a Naschy fan like me but I can't help thinking it would be almost as interesting to someone with only a passing knowledge of the man or his cinema. Bright and colorful, it has a smooth layout and its chronological structure allows the reader to get lost paging through its gallery of wonderful horrors. This really is a beautiful book!

If all this book offered was a chance to look at all the great ad art of these thirty films it would be a worthy addition to any film buff's library but it has more to offer. Author Thorston Benzel has done write-ups for each movie to accompany their image collections. These text pieces are presented in both German and English and I'm thrilled to report that, unlike some dual language books, the English reads as if it were written by a native speaker. The people responsible for this fact deserve an extra special thanks. I suppose the fact that Naschy has a large fan base in the UK and US means that we are being catered to with this release and I'm certainly not going to complain.  He lays out some production history, release dates for various counties, alternate titles and tidbits of information relating to the movie's distribution. These short essays for each film are an invaluable resource for fans and makes me wish we had had access to this material when we started the podcast! Every fragment of detail adds to the enjoyment of these movies- at least for me! I cannot recommend this book enough. This the most impressed I've been with a book focused on European genre cinema since the release of Tim Lucas' book about Mario Bava. Yes- I'm that impressed.

The book can be found in several places around the web starting with Creepy Images own website HERE. It is also available from the German Amazon site HERE and in the US Diabolik DVD is selling it - you can click this LINK to check it out. I can only hope that this book heralds more Naschy books and video releases in the future. In a world in which cinema so often seems to drift away from the classic monster tales of old its nice to be able to revisit these great movies in any way we can. This book increases my enjoyment of Senor Naschy's movies and that is the highest compliment I can give. 

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