• Crimson

    Released by
    : Redemption
    Released on: June 14th, 2016
    Director: Juan Fortuny
    Cast: Paul Naschy, Silvia Solar, Roberto Mauri
    Year: 1973
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    The Movie

    Director Juan Fortuny's Crimson, a.k.a. The Man with the Severed Head , exists as somewhat of a blight upon Spanish star Paul Naschy's otherwise enjoyable cult career; a movie which has now seen release on multiple formats, yet somehow never gets any more entertaining.

    The film is a crime/horror hybrid of sorts, telling the tale of a bumbling group of jewel thieves whose getaway is spoiled by a shootout with police. Naschy plays one of the crooks who is shot in the head during the skirmish, and brought to an acquaintance of the group, a brain surgeon with wicked intentions of experimenting with synaptic transplants. This may sound like an entertaining premise on the outside, but the real problem is that Crimson grinds to a halt whenever Naschy isn't on screen, which is actually quite often for a bit of the film's running time.

    Fortuny's direction is listless and his supporting cast dull as dishwater, doling out filler dialogue and expository information with very little passion or charisma. Even Naschy himself seems a little unhappy to be here, a flatness which shows in his performance, which is noticeably less engaging than most of his other work in the horror genre. Then again, this sort of shoddiness is bound to be expected from a Eurocine production, the French studio known for churning out bare bones productions from every conceivable genre, including the infamous Zombie Lake.

    One main sticking point with previous editions of Crimson was the daft 'n dry English dub which accompanied the audio track. Redemption has gone the extra mile here on their Blu-Ray and included the longer, international cut of the film, which not only boasts a substantially less goofy French audio track, but also softcore sequences hemmed in to pad the running time and spice the film up for other markets. These scenes are about as subtle as a hammer, usually appearing out of nowhere, and serving only as to push the sexual envelope. They aren't quite as distracting as hardcore inserts, but don't add anything to make the film more enjoyable, either.

    So we have an advertised Paul Naschy vehicle where the star disappears five minutes in and doesn't reappear in active duty until almost an hour into the plot. This leaves about thirty minutes for the titular man with the severed head, but it gets even worse, for once Naschy wakes up, he disappears AGAIN, so that we may enjoy some low level criminal antics, some mild nudity and terrible disco dancing from the passionless cast. Oh, and there's also an unrelated stage show which is never explained and features characters which never again appear in the film.

    Sure, Naschy finally manages to roll out of bed during the last fifteen minutes or so as some sort of makeshift, sexually charged Frankenstein's Monster, but by that point it's too little, too late. Crimson is a total wash.


    Redemption's Blu-Ray for Crimson, presented in AVC encoded 1080p high definition, looks nice, easily trumping prior home video editions with some nicely saturated colors and solid looking skin tones. Some scenes jump out as a bit fuzzy and underwhelming compared to the print as a whole, but overall Crimson looks very good, even if the day for night filters are even more pronounced here in high definition.

    The audio itself on both versions is presented in Dolby Digital 2.0. It sound quite good with regards to quality, with the French track featuring error free subtitles and the English dub non-intrusive to the onscreen action.

    We mentioned the inclusion of the French cut of The Man with the Severed Head here, which is almost ten minutes longer than the English version, but Redemption also included a commentary track from film historian Richard Harland Smith. This track tackles the careers and history and everyone involved, with Smith coming across with ease as a prepared professional with a lot of insight.

    The Final Word

    Crimson is about as entertaining as an economics lecture, and should be avoided at all costs, unless you're seeking a cure for insomnia. The only positive aspect of this film is the cover art, and the informative audio commentary.

    Click on the images below for full sized Blu-ray screen caps!

    Comments 5 Comments
    1. agent999's Avatar
      agent999 -
      Call me crazy, but I enjoyed it in a wtf? kind of way. That spliced in night club sequence was hilarious. Sure, it's a complete mess, but it was so random I was not bored. Then again, I don't like Naschy's werewolf movies much.
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      Quote Originally Posted by agent999 View Post
      Call me crazy, but I enjoyed it in a wtf? kind of way. That spliced in night club sequence was hilarious. Sure, it's a complete mess, but it was so random I was not bored. Then again, I don't like Naschy's werewolf movies much.
      Ok, You're crazy.

      Seriously, though, to each his own. I have a high tolerance for boredom, but this is the third time I've watched this one, and nope...no dice. I was hoping the extended cut would include more Naschy or at least make it more watchable for me, but I can honestly say Crimson is bottom of the barrel for me.
    1. Jason C's Avatar
      Jason C -
      Bravo on this review. I adore Paul Naschy but this films suuuuuucks.
    1. Scyther's Avatar
      Scyther -
      Quote Originally Posted by Jason C View Post
      Bravo on this review. I adore Paul Naschy but this films suuuuuucks.

      That's the thing, I love Naschy, too, big time! That's why it's such a bummer.
    1. John Bernhard's Avatar
      John Bernhard -
      As a basic Eurocine crapfest it's passable, it only when you try and fit this in the Naschy catalog that it comes up so dreadfully short.Loved the commentary track and will def be listening to that again at some point.