JUNE 18, 2012
I don’t see too many Spanish gialli, but with a title like Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll (Spanish: Los Ojos Azules De La Muñeca Rota; aka House Of Psychotic Women) I figured it had to live up to its Italian brethren – that’s just one of those titles where you don’t need to know anything else to realize it’s going to feature a black gloved killer and a convoluted, nonsensical motive for doing what he does throughout the runtime. The only question was: would it have a repeated, familiar song as part of the killer’s MO? You bet it does – hope you like “Frére Jacques” (or “Fray Felipe”, I guess), because you’ll hear it 590 times before the movie is through.
Anyway, it’s a pretty standard but enjoyable entry in the sub-genre. Apart from Paul Naschy in the lead role, nothing really distinguishes it from the Italian offerings of the time; it doesn’t even play up the change in geography. The kill scenes are often shorter than you’d expect, and the 1.33:1 ratio certainly keeps it from being much of a visual treat (though the wacky red-tinted flashbacks help), but it hits all its marks and offers a lot of skin, so you’ll be entertained with its tale of a drifter (Naschy) who ends up in a house with three sisters, two of which he bangs before the week is through.
The title refers to the killer’s MO of killing (blonde) women with blue eyes, a hilarious handicap that requires blond/blue-eyed women to keep introducing themselves into the narrative so we don’t run out of kill scenes. Luckily, the killer abandons this as the movie heads toward its conclusion, however not so soon that the pattern was rather pointless to even bring up (take a note, Scream 2). I also like how when he takes the eyes he takes some of the skin around them along with it, so they look like mini fried eggs when he puts them into a water dish for later use.
I was also tickled by the fact that (spoiler) Naschy is the main character but ultimately serves no function in the film. We’re supposed to think he’s the killer, and whether you believe that or not you can at least agree that if he’s NOT then he’ll be the one to figure it out and save the day, right? Nope, he is accused of the crimes and panics because he’s on probation, and takes off into the snowy hills to try to escape before being shot to death with 15 minutes left to go. Then the cops go off and figure out who the real killer is, with Naschy barely being mentioned again. It’s a nice shock that he dies a while before the end credits, but it’s quite puzzling that he’d write himself a script (along with director Carlos Aured) where he didn’t really have to be in it. Once the killer is revealed and his motives are (relatively) explained, you realize Naschy could have just left the house after one night and the movie would pretty much unfold in the same way.
Well, the murder stuff would be the same. The movie would have a lot less sex in it, because every female character throws herself at him; one merely tells him that she has insomnia and then joins him in bed, seemingly a day after they met. Later on he tries to kill a woman who he thinks is trying to expose him, only for her to tell him “I’ve found true happiness by your side.” I should note this character has a prosthetic hand that he kisses the first time they make love, so maybe this is a “take the good with the bad” situation since her previous lovers probably didn’t go to that much effort. She’s also still into him after he knocks her out and leaves her unconscious in a snowbank during his escape attempt, crying at his demise. Oh, speaking of this bit, it’s hilariously staged, because she seemingly wakes up 30 seconds later – she stands up and walks a few feet and sees him only about another 100 feet away, trying to climb an icy hill. It reminded me of that bit on The Simpsons where Burns tried to “Cask of Amontillado” Homer, but when Homer woke up from his poison Burns had only gotten like 6 bricks laid in place, allowing him to easily climb out of his “tomb”.
Goofy moments like this make up for the rather unnecessary and mean-spirited killing of a pig, which has to be real. Look, I know how we get bacon and pork chops and ham (“A wonderful, magical animal!” OK I’ll stop with the Simpsons references), but we don’t need to see the poor bastard getting its throat slit and listen to him squeal as he slowly dies. We watch these violent, misogynist movies to laugh, not be disturbed!
The disc has a commentary by Naschy and someone else, I didn’t catch the name and since it was in Spanish anyway, I just turned on the subtitles for it (nice touch, Victory) and left the original audio on so I could maybe figure out a little bit more of the story (I didn’t quite get what the lady in the wheelchair was up to, but it’s fine since nearly every Giallo has a wheelchair-bound character). It’s a pretty chatty track; Naschy talks a lot about metaphor and character theme, and seemingly puts more thought into these things than is readily apparent. He also laughs at some of the movie’s sillier aspects (like the six shooter pistol that he fires 20 rounds from during the climax) and frequently compliments the “hot” actresses, so if you can understand Spanish it’s probably a hoot to listen to instead of reading. A Naschy intro, the Spanish version of the credit sequence, and the spoiler-filled trailer round things out. The movie is also available to listen to in Spanish or English, which is another perk (the dub is quite good, in fact).
I realized after about a half hour or so that this was the first true Naschy film I had seen that wasn’t part of his Waldemar Daninsky series, unless you count Count Dracula’s Great Love which was basically one of those but with him as Dracula instead. I’ll have to look into seeing some others, if you know of any more in this vein (i.e. no supernatural elements) let me know! I find him to be a very entertaining presence, and I’d always rather watch a Giallo than a werewolf/vampire type movie anyway.
What say you?