Bad Movies Beware!
Onward to Spain!
This flick from Spain circa 1966 is in black and white and got a slack-a$$ed dub job for American audiences because, let’s face it, not many audiences are into subtitles.
Guess that makes me one of THOSE weirdos.
Before we get into it, you might also note that this movie is very indicative of its time, so the ideals about gender differentiation are pretty-well present in this film. You got it: it cliché’s the HELL out of male vs. female roles in a film and situations.
The opening credits is people running, and the music isn’t terrible. It’s how we meet the cast, though, as the same shots are used later on when the group is running from the creature. Once the credits are done, we begin the story.
Three people set off a charge in a cave somewhere in the Greek mountains. We meet Uncle Andre, his niece, Maria, and his assistant, Stravos. Maria can’t stand the blast, and Stravos chides her a little.
“Try to be patient with her, Stravos,” Uncle Andre says. “She’s only an amateur. And a woman.”
Yup. Told ya.
I also feel the need to note that these three are the best-dressed cave explorers EVER. They all look like they’re wearing their church clothes.
Stravos finds a stone egg and picks it up. The group leaves, but they don’t see a second egg that ends up hatching.
The group goes back to the house to discuss their findings, and we meet Calliope, the maid. She’s fearful of their exploration in the cave because of a curse. They laugh her off, of course, and Stravos places the egg on the mantle. There is then a 30-second shot of the cave entrance.
That’s it. Nothing happens, just, “Ooh! Look! A cave entrance!”
The three explorers decide to make a second trip into the cave and, while inside, discover a mummy. When they return to the house, Calliope is horrified and warns them of the curse in the cave.
They laugh her off. Again.
Noticing a pattern yet?
A new group shows up at the house. We meet Dr. Asilov, Sophia, Dorman, and Pete. Sophia is the group blonde hottie, Dorman is the dark and debonair hero-type, Asilov is the determined scientist, and Pete is the boy next door who develops an instant attraction to Maria.
Who can blame him? Maria is played by none other than Soledad Miranda, who was also considered by some to be one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Pete and the girls spend the evening dancing and chatting while the old timers discuss the treasure hunt. That’s right. We’re now finding out that Andre’s treks to the cave are part of his lifelong search for treasure.
Might’ve been nice to know, oh I don’t know, FROM THE BEGINNING!?
So far we’re twenty minutes into the film and there has been NO real action. We’ve had some back and forth between the house and the cave and people carrying on the most mundane conversations EVER.
The Old Timers leave Pete and the girls at the house and head back to the cave. They find bones, and Stravos decides to take a closer look at the mummy while the old timers head back to the house. Meanwhile, Pete and the girls continue their exposition. I mean conversation.
Ah, screw it. Call it what it is.
Stravos hears noises in the cave. A shrieking invisible monster attacks him. Yes, I said “invisible.” He’s torn to shreds, and the Old Timers return with Pete in tow to find Stravos’s body drained of blood.
So…it’s a vampire dinosaur? Vampisaurus? Dracula Rex?
The others find him, but the creature chases them back to the house. They determine that it uses a chameleon-like trait to render itself invisible.
Because, you know, it TOTALLY had nothing to do with the budget.
The group decides to head back to the cave to investigate but are chased back to—OH FOR GOD’S SAKE!!!
The pattern in this movie is killing me. Suffice to say that the crew ends up locked inside the house, Asilov has his leg chewed on, Calliope is dead, Andre is dead, and Pete and Maria are sweet on each other. Dorman and Sophie? Well, they’re just kind of…there.
DAMN it, man. I mean, I get it that the budget is tight. Is it too much to ask to figure out how not to film the most elaborate yo-yo ever!?
Dorman talks the group into making a run for it, but the car won’t start. Want to take a wild stab at what happens next?
You guessed it! BACK INTO THE HOUSE.
The final attempt to kill the monster results in the hilariousness of watching two axes float through the air. The group crowds into the car and tries again, and the engine actually cranks. The creature tears its way in, and they all escape except for Asilov, who SOMEHOW manages to blow the car up and take the creature with it.
The group watches Asilov roast to a nice well done while they share some sentimental words about every character who’s been killed off.
Oh my God, it can’t possibly get more ignorant than this. I get the whole low budget thing, but there’s got to be a more creative way to do it than bouncing back and forth between two sets for an hour and a half.
The acting wasn’t bad, but the voice work could’ve been better (if that makes any sense). The body language wasn’t overdone, and the facial expressions were active without being Shatner-esque, but the voice-overs were way off. The most aggravating was Pete, who was the only voice actor to try to fake a Spanish accent.
Let’s be real and take a look at Man in the Iron Mask for a moment here (and yes, I actually like that movie despite its MASSIVE flaws). Gérard Depardieu was the ONLY actor in the film with a French accent. The rest were either American Midwest or British. Thing is, Gérard Depardieu is ACTUALLY FRENCH.
The guy voicing Pete was trying hard, but I could heard the American slip in every now and then. That, and if you’re the only one on the cast doing it out of choice: STOP.
The music wasn’t awful at first, but it took a dump once Pete and his half of the crew showed up. There was a LOT of exposition in this movie, and I ended up wondering if shooting heroin into my nipples would’ve been more entertaining than watching a s**tload of backstory and character development on people who really didn’t serve any damn purpose in the movie whatsoever.
For a classic movie, it’s not a total pile of toilet reject matter. The premise is good, and the idea of being trapped in a house with a monster lurking outside, though done before, gave the film a claustrophobic atmosphere that made it feel oppressive at times.
But, the end-all be-all of it is that the entire film could probably be summed up in two minutes. Or 1200 words, depending on how much of a wise-ass the reviewer is.
Give it a look if you’re into classic monster flicks, otherwise approach it with caution and lots of beer.