Horror Rises from the Tomb (1975)
Horror Rises from the Tomb (1975)

Genre: Slasher Running Time: 1 hr. 28 min.

Release Date: February 7th, 1975 MPAA Rating: R

Director: Carlos Aured Actors: Paul Naschy, Emma Cohen, Vic Winner, Helga Line, Cristina Suriani, Betsabe Ruiz, Maria Jose Cantudo




he Euro-horror films of the ‘70s fell into two distinct categories: those that were both campy and scary and those that were just campy. Carlos Aured’s “Horror Rises From the Tomb” falls squarely into the latter grouping, with its distinctly low budget, unconvincing effects, and headliner Paul Naschy. But like the most entertaining of its kind, this “Tomb” is wisely filled with an abundance of cheap scares, sloppily bloody thrills, and gratuitous nudity.

A narrator recounts the tale of powerful warlock Alaric du Marnac (Paul Naschy) and his faithful mistress Mabille Du Lancre (Helga Line) as viewers witness their gruesome deaths in 15th century France. Before they are executed, the demonic duo places a curse on the land, vowing to return and wreak vengeance on the descendants of their persecutors. Present day appears, with four rich socialites deciding to use a medium to attempt to resurrect the evil sorcerer… just for fun. Hugo (again Paul Naschy) and Maurice (Victor Barrera) are skeptical of the superstitions surrounding du Marnac’s burial grounds, but their wide-eyed girlfriends find plenty to fear. Intent on exposing their supposedly silly assumptions, Hugo insists the four take a trip up to the monastery where the dreaded warlock met his demise. Once there, the group realizes all too late the true power of Alaric’s wizardry as the reincarnated sorcerer arises to have his revenge.

The similarities between Alaric du Marnac and Dracula are expectedly liberal and are only slightly altered to mask the obviously stolen traits. Both dress in gothic black garb complete with flowing capes; both can control their victims with hypnotic powers to carry out their bidding; and both lust after blood (though one prefers still-beating hearts to flowing veins). If that wasn’t evidence enough of du Marnac’s borrowed legacy, the wicked wizard is also affected by a cross of sorts (here, a necklace adorned with perpendicular hammers) and his mistress can be destroyed by a silver stake (with the bizarre additional requirement that the wielder be a girl with a pure soul).

While the story itself may be lacking in the originality department, it really only serves as a catalyst for bouts of bloodletting and nudity. Far too often, unnatural coincidences surge and significant discoveries are made with little effort. Barely any explanation is given the occult events, while the characters’ reactions to such happenings are ludicrous – but ultimately, realism is not a priority in this type of film. Gore is, however, and there are several unique scenes of effective carnage, though they are certainly less graphic than the first-rate imagery created nowadays.

Combining a ridiculous mix of witchcraft and mythology with primarily stereotypical scares, Aured and Naschy (serving as writer, under the pseudonym Jacinto Molina) still manage to overcome the shoestring budget with a decent body count and a clear view of a few shapely female figures. Vampires, zombies, sorcerers, silver needles, ritualistic mutilation, acceptable transitions, bad camera tricks, and a couple of beheadings all make an appearance in “Horror Rises From the Tomb,” while reality keeps its distance. Hugo best sums up the film in a frantic warning: “Anything can happen in this madness!”

– Joel Massie

  • 5/10