Thursday, February 5, 2009

La Carnivale de la Bestia

I love the Spanish titles for movies. I love them more than the English titles, that's for sure. So this particular title in English is Human Beasts. Sounds okay, but doesn't quite have the allure of La Carnivale de la Bestia, you know. I like to translate all the titles of movies into my elementary Spanish. It's a fun activity for me. I know, I don't have a whole lot going on.
Anyway, Human Beasts. I'll admit, I only recently began my adoration of Paul Naschy. It was nary a few months ago that I saw Frankenstein's Bloody Terror for the first time. The pitting of movie monster against movie monster, the absurdity of the title, and Naschy's beautiful werewolf makeup, I was smitten. So I've slowly been making my way through all of Paul's (yes, we're on a first name basis now) Daninsky movies. So when I rented Human Beasts, knowing it wasn't a Daninsky, I was still expecting goodness in pretty much the same vein. What I got was a convoluted plot involving a diamond heist, a jilted Japanese lover, a scheming veternarian, and a strange doctor living in a chateau in the woods with his equally strange, but quite lovely, daughters. Yes, of course I expect a certain amount of convolusion from a Nasch movie. But this one was a definite head scratcher, although not so much so that I wasn't able to follow it.
For instance, the movie begins so abruptly, you think the dvd started on the wrong chapter. We are instantly met with Meiko who has sought out Bruno's (Naschy) services to help her 'organization' obtain diamonds, illegally of course. It seems Meiko and her 'organization' (basically herself and her brother) abhor physical violence, but they don't mind employing someone else to perpetrate that violence for their own means. No info is given on the background of the characters, how Meiko sought out Bruno, how Bruno has come to be the best of the best in the diamond heisting game, nada. Next thing you know, Meiko is knocked up and totally in love with Bruno (well, duh, it's Paul Naschy) and Meiko's brother wants Bruno to marry her and settle down, after the robbery, natch. Of course, since Bruno is played by Naschy and is undoubtedly a ladykiller, this info doesn't sit well, and during the crime, Bruno guns everyone down except Meiko and makes off with the diamonds.
Meiko, loosing her abhorrence of weapons, shoots Bruno and wounds him terribly, but he escapes, buries the diamonds for safekeeping, and passes out, after thwarting a scorpion attack. An inordinate amount of time passes and Bruno awakens in a chalet surrounded by two beautiful ladies and their father, Don Simon. The trio has been caring for Bruno, being as how Simon is a (conveniently) a doctor, and he has been slowly regaining his strength. So much so in fact, that he's able to be both daughters, natch again, one before he even is supposed to get out of bed. The man can't walk, but he can sure get it on!
Because anyone that has carnal relations with Naschy falls in love with him, one of the daughters stakes him as her claim. Oh, and Don Simon has an S&M flared affair with the maid. And the vet that tends to Simon's pigs, who is also conspiring with Meiko, because you see, she's still hot on Bruno's trail after shooting him in revenge for her brother's killing, gets eaten by the very pigs he is supposed to innoculate, in a very strange scene interspliced with Bruno and the daughter making sweet, sweet love. It's the only real 'horror' scene in the movie and the intersplice is a weird editorial choice, but hey, we like our horror and we like our sex, we can have them together, surewhynot?
Oh, and there's a feast Don Simon's hosts for the local yokels of the town that is perhaps some sort of social commentary? And there's another sister that has remained to be seen until the final, final act of the movie. And the Japanese people in the movie speak perfect Spanish. Perfect. And in the end, we find out who the real beasts are, which you can discern from the title, are, yes, HUMAN! The twist! The irony!
Now I have a class and can't properly finish discussing this right now. But let's leave it at that this wasn't a total waste of my time, in fact, quite the opposite. While more boring than a Daninsky movie, Human Beasts had enough goofy moments and WTF moments to keep this watcher entertained. And the ladies love Paul Naschy. That is for sure. And he looks rather dapper dressed as Napolean for the feast, of which he did not intend because Meiko's presence is likely stressing him out. I probably won't add Human Beasts to my permanent archives, but as I strive to be a completist, this wasn't an entirely wasted effort. I've been completist about other director's work and been sorely disappointed. Romero's There's Always Vanilla? Anyone?

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