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La Noche de los Asesinos

Night of the Assassins
Im Schatten des Mörders

Spain 1973
produced by
Arturo Marcos for Fénix Cooperativa Cinematográfica, Copercines
directed by Jess Franco
starring Alberto Dalbes, Evelyne Scott, Wiliam Berger, Maribel Hidalgo, Lina Romay, Vincent Roca, Yelena Samarina, Antonio Mayans, Luis Barboo, Swan Heinze, José María Palacios, P.Martínez, Eduardo Puceiro, Ricardo Vázquez, Jess Franco, Ángel Menéndez, Dan van Husen
screenplay by Jess Franco, allegedly based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe, music by Carlo Savina

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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It all starts when Lord Archibald is burtally murdered (he is buried alive) and leaves everything to his daughter Rita (Lina Romay), whom he always hated because she is half black (in this light, Lina Romay, who is not at all black, might not have been the perfect choice for the role), but whom he now feels sorry for.

ARchibald's other relatives, his wife Cecilia and Simon and Marta Tobias (William Berger, Evelyne Scott) and even his loyal servants Rufus (Luis Barboo) and Deborah (Yelena Samarina) are of course enraged, because they wanted their share of Archibald's fortune ... but from here on it really gets complicated, as Scotland Yard inspector Brooks (Alberto Dalbés) shows up from out of nowhere and starts taking over investigations (even though this film takes place in Louisiana) - much to the dismay of local inspector Bore (Vicente Roca) -, and he brings with him Lord Archibald's alternative last will, a phony attorney (Jess Franco) to read it and some more relatives, Albert Pagan (Dan van Husen) and his wife Mairu and Lord Archibald's son Alfred, who noone really knew about. Plus, Brooks reveals something quite shocking, the dead Lord Archibald wasn't really Lord Archibald at all but a crook named Jennings who killed Lord Archibald back in England and then moved to Louisiana to assume his identity ...

Meanwhile, a skull-masked killer continues to roam the estate, killing first Archibald's wife Cecilia by tieing her to a rock at the beach and letting the tide do the rest, then he burns Archibald's maid Deborah.

Albert Pagan soon feels tehre is something wrong, and asks his wife, a spiritist, to get into contact with the real, dead Lord Archibald, but both of them are killed by Rufus before she can do so, who in turn is then shot by the police.

Eventually, Rita is also attacked, but she is lucky and survives it with only a slight concussion.

Ultimately, Simon Tobias, who is now one of the main heirs to Archibald's fortune, gets so greedy about it that he drowns his wife in the bathtub, just so he doesn't have to share with her. But immediately afterwards, he comes to face the masked killer, unmasks him and ... it's Brooks of Scotland Yard, who is really Archibald who is now out to avenge himself on all those who have killed him - and sure enough, Simon is next on his list ... then he goes to the hospital where Rita is at to also kill the daughter of the man who killed him, but fortunately inspector Bore has since put two and two together and figured out who Brooks really is ... and he kills him just before he can do the girl any harm.

And the ending sees Rita and Archibald's son Alfred - pretty much the only two survivors of the ordeal - as a loving couple ...

 

As a straight murder mystery, La Noche de los Asesinos just doesn't work, it's way too full of unlikely (if overly clichéd) plottwists, unnecessary subplots and characters taking center stage for a while ... however, the film was never intended to be a straight, seious murder mystery but rather a loving if tongue-firmly-in-cheek hommage to Euro-whodunnits like the German Edgar Wallace-series -, and as this, La Noche de los Asesinos works like a charm with its plot about a vast inheritance, a cast full of legacy hunters, Lina Romay as the embodiment of wronged innocence (in this respect it even works that she claims to be half black even thogh quite clearly she isn't) and a violent killer in a skull mask.

Of course, if you take the film seriously for even one moment, its effect is lost on you, but if you let the inner child in you watch it, and probably have a few beers with it, there is no reason why you shouldn't enjoy it.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD