Monty Pythonesque inquisitors are roaming the countryside in southern France and come upon some unlucky villagers. A scroll is unfurled and it’s declared that the hapless folk are “vampires and lycanthropes!” They’re then unceremoniously decapitated and strung upside-down due to some decree from Carcassonne, that famous fortified French city state.
Horror Rises from the Tomb is a modest Spanish classic, which features the present day descendants of the above, plagued by a curse put upon them by the deceased.
The modern successors are Parisians — intellectuals and artists, one of whom is obsessed with “a strange face with penetrating eyes.” (and odd muse, but who are we to judge?)
On a lark, they all decide to arrange to hold a séance while skeptic Hugo is dismissive of the enterprise. They meet up with one Miss Elena the medium, who meets her maker very quickly after the ceremony, understandably setting them all on edge.
The curse casts a long multi-century shadow (“there is no repose for me while my severed head continues to be separated from my body!” moans the ghost of Alaric, played by Jacinto Molina, AKA Paul Naschy). The artist is soon possessed by a severed head that bleeds and lets that bizarre image inspire his canvasses.
To get away from all of this, the group of friends head out to a family chalet that’s way out in the woods. They’re shaken down by some vigilante villagers for 3000 francs and an old Citroen.
The villagers (not the most sophisticated lot it should be said), then accuse the city folk of stirring up demons and one of them becomes a possessed, sickle-wielding freak.
Horror Rises from the Tomb (El espanto surge de la tumba) features truly horrifying turtlenecks, bad dubbing and lots of organ swells.
It’s pure supernatural / Gothic cheese, but endlessly amusing and frequently quite charming. There are even zombies for some reason.
*** (out of 5)