Latarnia presents CASTILIAN CRIMSON
The Spanish Horror Film




Director: Julio Perez Tabernero
Screenplay: Julio Perez Tabernero
Photography: Alfonso Nieva
Music: Carmelo Bernaola
Cast: German Cobos, Dianik Zurakowska, Lone Fleming, Monica Kolpek, Maria Villa, Vidal Molina, Emilio Laguna
Running time: 81 minutes
Eastmancolor ~ Panoramico

Julio Perez Tabernero
(courtesy Betrand Van Wonterghem)

Julio Perez Tabernero's obscure, bloody giallo is based on the blonde, clawed comic book catwoman of the title. Tabernero and writer Curtis Garland present Sexy Cat as a Pop phenomenon who seems to come to life, preying on the corrupt director and his team who are filming the comic strip for International Atlantic Television.

It begins with colorful panels from the erotic comic-strip under the credits. Tabernero sustains visual interest with such bizarre shots as a skull reflected in an eyeball interspersed with graphic throat cuttings, flayings and assorted slashings. Along the way there's a murder by suffocation and the elaborately prolonged stalking of a sexy actress (Dianik Zurakowska) by a coral snake. Once bitten her slow death is effectively portrayed by a series of rack focus POV shots.

This is all investigated by cheap detective Cash (German Cobos), a cross between Peter Falk's COLUMBO and Elliot Goulds' anachronistic PI in Robert Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE. Cash is not really as tough as he pretends, returning part of his retainer to the destitute client who claims that he created the comic-strip character which was then stolen by a notorious ITC producer (Emilio Laguna). Cash's investigation is slowed down by his overactive libido which kicks into action every time an approachable female throws herself in his path, which is often.

The killer turns out to fancy himself as Sexy Cat, dressing up in comic book drag complete with blonde wig, black body stocking and razor sharp claws. Cash discovers his identity through a clever bit of deduction and shows up at the scene of the next crime to hear the demented philosophy of the murderer, which involves a delusional belief that the characters of the comic book live in a superior world which will eventually conquer everyday reality. Ironically, it is a mundane junkyard metal crusher which will deliver a sort of blood spattered justice.

Cobos is an engaging presence and his rumpled demeanor provides much humor. His comic skill pretty much holds the film together while the curvaceous Zurakowska and Gloria Osuna provide eye candy. Frequent Paul Naschy co star Vidal Molina makes a good foil for Cobos as a hard nosed detective.

The opening credits and the giallo style murders really do have a comic-strip look, but the intervening dialogue sequences tend to grind the proceedings to a halt. Mediocre cinematography and a score which sounds like screeching, way out of tune violins doesn't help matters.

Tabernero was an actor whose named also appeared as director of an alternate version of a Jess Franco hardcore item (LADY PORNO, 1975) and is reputed to be the director of the painfully inept CANNIBAL TERROR, credited to Allan Steeve.

Reviewed by Robert Monell, 2002