October 6, 2013
The movie is called Crimson, the Color of Blood (also known as The Man with the Severed Head, the original title is Las ratas no duerman de noche, or The Rats Come Out at Night). It is a Spanish production from writer/director Juan Fortuny and stars the prolific Paul Naschy (credited on this print as Paul Nash). The odd little movie is a mash of crime thriller, science fiction and horror.
For a Paul Naschy project, it is rather atypical. What little I know of Naschy indicates him as an egotist and a narcissist (like Matthew McConaughey, he always seems to have a shirtless scene, whether the movie needs it or not) and he is usually a key player in movies that have a sleazy element, or at least some nudity. This movie seems awfully sedate on that front.
As the movie starts, Naschy is leading a team of jewel thieves. As they try to get a store safe open things go wrong and they have to make a quick getaway. The ensuing car chase and shoot out with police leaves Naschy with a bullet in his brain. Clearly, a gang of thieves cannot just show up at a hospital, so they go to an alcoholic, disgraced doctor for help. He does not have the skills to help, but does know somebody who may.
There is a doctor who is experimenting in brain transplant. The issue is finding a donor. This leads to the gang's nemesis, a nasty fellow known as the Sadist. They decide to use his brain. His capture and head severing is the best bit of the movie.
Anyway, the operation happens and Naschy wakes up, but things happen and he isn't quite himself. So, in the end, we have a gang of thieves looking to get their leader back, a scientist who is a little crazy about his work, and the closing in of the police
There are a lot of interesting ideas, but none of the, really take hold. It is nicely ambitious, but there is not enough time with any one of them to make it stand out. Perhaps if they upped the sleaze or made it a little bloodier it would have been more entertaining. In the end, I was just bored.
Posted by Christopher Beaumont at 10/06/2013 09:18:00 PM
Chris has been an avid movie watcher for decades, getting into the writing game in 2004. Since that time he has contributed to a number online publications as well as running CriticalOutcast.com. In addition to movies, Chris is a big fan of music, particularly metal, and will never give up hope on his beloved Mets.