Monday, June 30, 2008


It's time for more early 70s Spanish horror from the fine folks at BCI/Deimos. Released at the same time as the moody weirdness of THE DRACULA SAGA and the similar but more bizarre HUMAN BEASTS, BLUE EYES OF THE BROKEN DOLL finds mysterious stranger Gilles (Paul Naschy, also in BEASTS) hitchhiking his way through the European countryside.

After stopping for a cheese sandwich and a bit of wine at a roadside cafe, Gilles is picked up by Claude (Diana Lorys), one of three sisters that lives in a house up the hill. Claude has a hideous scar that runs down her right arm to a disfigured hand which is frequently covered by some sort of clunky prosthetic device. Injured in a mysterious "accident", Claude is self-conscious about her hand and tries to mask her simmering sexuality with a severe hairdo and frumpy clothing.

She certainly won't be confused with nympho Nicole (the often nude Eva Leon), a hussy as brazen and bold as Claude is shy and retreating. Nicole's so trampy she even gets her own slutty theme music to go along with a variety of ass-grabbing, curve-hugging outfits. Rounding out this sisterly troika is wheelchair-bound Yvette (Maria Perschy who gets a "Special Collaboration" credit), another victim of the unspoken "accident" that left Claude scarred and disfigured.

We quickly discover that Gilles is an escaped convict, guilty of rapes that are artfully flashed back to in minimalist fashion with just Naschy and his victim on a barren stage. He has arrived at the home of the sisters just in time to be suspected of a string of gruesome murders mostly involving women who have their eyes plucked out and carried around in black gloves in very giallo-esque fashion. Naturally, Gille's felonious background pretty much eliminates him as a suspect in the reel world which leaves us with a bevy of suspects ranging from a suspicious police captain and the cafe barmaid (Pilar Bardem mother of Oscar winner Javier Bardem) to the three sisters, their medical staff and various shifty-looking townies.

Often known by the more colorful title of HOUSE OF PSYCHOTIC WOMEN, the script for BLUE EYES (co-written by Naschy) feels like it's all over the place. We're asked to accept plot points that are barely fleshed out and buy into contrivances that stretch credibility even in such genre surroundings. In at least one instance the efforts to maintain the mystery had me thinking I'd missed a whole section of the movie and the third act insertion of a chase sequence through the wilderness was awkward at best. That said, BLUE EYES is rarely dull, its 90 entertaining minutes filled with enough early 70s flesh and blood for the grindhouse crowd and enough weirdness and artsy touches (like the strangling flashbacks) to keep everybody else interested.

I still prefer Naschy's monster mashes and I'm looking forward to the two latest arrivals from BCI's Spanish Horror Collection (CURSE OF THE DEVIL and WEREWOLF SHADOW), but BLUE EYES ranks with HUMAN BEASTS and CRIMSON as a worthwhile and adventurous departure from the norm.


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