I was always hoping that I would paint a creepy, supernatural trance-painting during art school. NO DICE, though.
Before our intrepid treasure-hunters can arrive at the chateau, they are waylaid by bandits and have a rather alarming encounter with the locals during which the would-be thieves are summarily executed. Undeterred, Hugo et. al. make their way to their destination and set to digging. Maurice is struck by repeated visions of a ghastly, leering visage (you get no points for correctly guessing this is Alaric's spirit) and is guided to dig in a specific spot on the grounds, leading to the unearthing of a mysterious box. Later that night, two of the locals who'd assisted in the dig decide to sneak a peek into the box, only to discover an ancient scroll. Applying the tried and true "I'm not sure what this is but I know I should read it aloud" technique of getting one's ass into deep trouble, the locals set Alaric's reincarnation into motion. Carnage ensues and one of the villagers, now possessed by the evil spirit of the undead warlock, carries the box (which handily also contains Alaric's head) down to the ancestral crypt...
Hugo and Maurice happen upon the bodies of the chateau's groundskeeper and the unluckier of the two thieves. As One Does when confronted by such a situation, they bypass law and order and dump the bodies in a lake. Naturally, this doesn't help matters, and the body count continues to rise. Along the way, Maurice manages to fall under Alaric's enchantment and plays a vital role in the ceremony that resurrects Alaric and Mabille.
Just in case the photo above is not enough to clue you into the sheer bad-assedness of this resurrection ceremony, allow me to elaborate:
- Delightfully hokey head-reattachey
- Naked chick
- Implied in-coffin sexing
After Alaric and Mabille emerge, refreshed after a few hundred years of not-dead-but-dreaming, they get right to the important bad-guy business of eating the pulsing hearts of their victims.
Now, allow me to take a moment, if you will. A lot of ink has been spilled on the topic of romance in films, and frankly, I'm sick of the same swooning embraces played out over and over again. Give me the anti-sentimentality of villain love any damn day. Alaric and Mabille get shit done, but they still dig the hell out of each other. Sure, there's the present-day romance between Hugo and Elvira, who have apparently known each other since childhood, but that lacks the same panache as undead, centuries-old black magic love. I want the kind of man who, after I am strung up by my feet and hacked in twain, will make his FIRST POST-RESURRECTION ACT the restoration of ME to my post-bisecting glory.
There are some very wild sequences in "Horror Rises from the Tomb" and Naschy's love of throwing every trope in the book into a single story is in delightful form here. There are zombies and gore and boobs and swamps and decaying ancestral homes. You know, the good stuff. While I found some segments of the film a little draggy (it takes 50 minutes of screen time to get to the bitchin' crypt ceremony), the sheer weird-out factor of the latter half of the movie makes it worthwhile watching. Also, the use of soundtrack is interesting throughout--there are some great organ riffs (use of the organ is APPROVED in the Tenebrous Empire), while some key scenes have no incidental music at all. It's a disorienting yet effective technique.
I'm really looking forward to the day when I get my own invite to the Naschy Party and don't have to tag along as a +1 with Arbogast (though he is charming company in spite of his rather disarming habit of going everywhere in a black hood)...