21 July 2024

The King of Spanish horror, actor-writer-director Paul Naschy was born Jacinto Molina in Madrid, Spain on September 6, 1934. After studies in architecture and some recognition as a weightlifter, the athletic Naschy turned to acting with a variety of bit roles in early '60s projects.

His first foray into horror was 1968's The Mark of the Wolfman, a hairy werewolf romp most significant in spawning the long running Waldemar Daninsky series.

The nascent 1970s saw Naschy in full swing, adding more than a few additions to the Daninsky series (1971's The Werewolf's Shadow and 1972's Fury of the Wolfman among them), but also enjoying success in a variety of terror outings.

1973 saw one of Naschy's best non-Daninsky installments, the spirited little gore number Horror Rises from the Tomb. Naschy shines in the dual role of a mad warlock out to restore his lopped gourd to his headless body with the help of a hapless family descendant. A well performed and enjoyable romp, Horror ranks as one of Naschy's best.

Other early '70s highlights include Vengeance of the Zombies and The Hunchback of the Morgue. The former sees Naschy as a mystic caught up in a whirl of reanimated corpses, while in the latter - he's a murderous, bodystealing hunchback.

The mid '70s saw no slowdown for the Spanish spitfire actor, including work as the police detective in 1974's giallo A Dragonfly for Each Corpse as well as a terrorized priest in 1975's Exorcismo.

Naschy shot off the latter half of the '70s with more horrors, most notably the apocalyptic terror The People Who Own the Dark (1976) as well as his first outing as director with the ultrabloody witch entry Inquisition the same year.

Comfortable in the director's chair, Naschy kept his longstanding werewolf franchise alive by both helming and starring in 1980's The Craving.

Everyone's favorite Spanish lycanthrope continued to work throughout the '80s and '90s, outputting such fare as 1983's Cries of Terror and 1987's Howl of the Devil.

Always watchable and full of gumption, Naschy is a reliable source for the horror goods: gory, outrageous and clearly imbued with an eternal love for the genre.

Sadly, Paul Naschy passed away in November of 2009. Rest in peace, hombre lobo.

The Craving 1980
Crimson 1973
Dr. Jekyll vs. the Werewolf 1972
Exorcismo 1975
The Fury of the Wolfman 1972
Horror Rises from the Tomb 1973
House of Psychotic Women 1973
Hunchback of the Morgue 1973
Inquisition 1976
Monsters of Terror 1970
The People Who Own the Dark 1976
Seven Bodies for Scotland Yard 1971
Vengeance of the Zombies 1973
The Werewolf's Shadow 1971
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