JACINTO MOLINA (aka “Paul Naschy”)
Sorry to hear about the passing last month of one of my longtime heroes, Spain’s king of horror cinema, actor-writer-director Jacinto Molina, aka Paul Naschy. His character Waldemar Daninsky is a horror icon and will live forever. Thank you for so many decades of great work, Sr. Molina!
Fortunately, many of Paul Naschy’s classics have been issued on DVD in the USA, and over the last few years Best Buy has featured some 2-DVD bundles of his 1970’s output in editions worthy of a Criterion or a Kino. Just a few months ago, Troma (of all people!) issued a beautiful version of THE HANGING WOMAN with loads of extras, and even threw in the super-obscure B&W Sid Pink made-in-Spain feature SWEET SOUND OF DEATH, which I’d never even heard of (with a transfer so good, it looks as though it was shot yesterday). Although Naschy is not the main star of THE HANGING WOMAN, his delicious role as Igor, the necrophiliac gravedigger (he’s just misunderstood, don’t you see?), is ample evidence of what a powerful screen presence he is, how he can take a horror-based character and make him sympathetic, and especially how he truly digs into a role and has a lot of fun with it. He grew up watching Karloff, Lugosi, and Chaney Jr., and though he may resemble Lon the most of the three, he has taken the best elements from each gentleman’s work, and brought his unique Spanish cultural background and Gothic vision to each character…and his background as a weight-lifter and athlete gave him a physicality that made him unique among horror icons…and let’s not forget that Naschy wrote many of his films, and he was a masterful writer of gothic horror, the equal of anyone who worked at Universal in the 30s or 40s. As star and auteur, Jacinto Molina/Paul Naschy will always remain one of the greats of world horror. I first discovered his work in the early 70s at drive-ins and on late night UHF television, and upon getting a dozen or more of his films on DVD in recent years I was pleasantly surprised at how they held up and how much of an artist the man was/is. Truly, a master!
Why not learn more about Sr. Molina’s life and work by going to the essential “Mark of Naschy” website at www.naschy.com
Tonight would be a great time for me to dig out the film that made him an international horror sensation, FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR…pardon me while I head out to the garage and find it…