Released by: Massacre Video
Released on: March 14th, 2017.
Director: Vick Campbell
Cast: Anthony Gummer, Noé Blancafort, Anna Latorre/Eduard Benito, Alonso Vinas, Maria Rosa Rodriguez
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Massacre Video brings underground Spanish filmmaker Vick Campbell's The Gravedigger and Tales from Beyond the Grave to DVD for the first time in North America, uncut and uncensored, just the way it should be.
The Grave Digger:
The first feature, a period piece that runs just over an hour, tells the story of a man named Igor (Anthony Gummer), the custodian at a rundown cemetery on the outskirts of Barcelona. While skulking about in his big black top hat one day, he hears a woman screaming. He follows the sound to find a poor young thing buried alive. He frees her from what would have been her grave, but after that she quickly shuffles off into the woods towards a creepy old cave – clearly something is very wrong.
Igor heads over to talk to Dr. Banks (Noé Blancafort), interrupting the man while he’s enjoying the company of a young woman, to ask about the girl he just saved. Banks fills Igor in on the girl’s background and her issues, how she was very definitely dead – there was even an autopsy done on her. How exactly she came back to life, well, no one seems to know and given that most of the townspeople are frightened of ol’ Igor (he is pretty creepy), it doesn’t seem likely they’re going to offer him much help.
When a pretty woman named Madeleine (Anna Latoree) arrives in town to visit her brother, she learns that he died two weeks prior. Shortly after, who does Igor find clawing his way out of a grave but Madeleine’s brother of course – and he too wanders off into the woods towards the strange cave. Eventually Igor, Dr. Banks and Madeleine decide to work together to try and sort out what’s happening here, but maybe not so surprisingly it… complicated.
A strange, low budget mix of gothic horror by way of the Corman/Poe pictures, Jean Rollin inspired sexy vampires and, eventually, some kinky occult inspired sexy stuff The Grave Digger starts off calmly enough. As it nears its conclusion, however, it quickly spirals into some seriously bizarre territory what with the guy in the goat mask whipping that naked lady and all. It doesn’t always make sense but it’s got its own strange, regional charm. Anthony Gummer makes an interesting lead and he’s fun to watch, he’s well cast as Igor and has a weird, frumpy, goofy-goth quality to him. Bonus points for giving the guy a top hat too. That’s always a nice touch. Noé Blancafort is pretty fun as the randy doctor and Anna Latoree? What a looker. Her part isn’t as complex, well really none of these parts are all that complex, but she fills out her wardrobe nicely and delivers a perfectly fine turn. The props, sets and gore effects were all clearly done for the cost of a Happy Meal but that just adds to the movie’s scuzzy, low-fi charm.
Tales From Beyond The Grave:
The second feature is a fifty minute anthology film that tells four different stories. To begin with, we follow a decrepit looking cemetery worker (Eduardo Benito) as he shuffles about the graveyard, decked out in ragged clothes. He’s the host of the movie and he introduces the first story, a woman named Eliza (Maria Rosa Rodriguez) just can’t get over the loss of her recently deceased husband. When she visits his grave one day, a complete stranger comes up to her with an offer she can’t refuse – the chance to be with her beloved again – but it’ll cost her… her soul of course! She agrees, signs her name in blood, and then hits the local bar to wait. Soon enough, he’s back as promised, and his decomposing corpse can’t wait to make a booty call!
Up next, Ivan and Sara argue on their way to the cemetery to pay respects to Ivan’s first wife, now deceased. They’re followed along the way by a mysterious woman in a white dress. They can’t help but notice her and Sara is none too happy about her presence. They head back to the house where Sara gets naked for a really long shower and then they decide to spice up their love life with some handcuffs. It goes south from there.
The third and final story shows us what happens when a young woman named Eulalia buys a Ouija Board without really understanding what it does or how it works. She takes it back to her home and invites her friend Angela over to try it out. Soon enough, they’ve summoned… something… that causes them to get naked and have rad lesbian sex – but of course, whatever it is that they’ve summoned wants in on the game too.
At just over fifty minutes in length these stories never overstay their welcome. The acting is no great shakes but the stories are fun, offering up plenty of gore and sex and nudity and taboo busting situations along the way. Like the first feature it was clearly done without much of a budget but that doesn’t stop Campbell from getting pretty ambitious and doing the best he can with limited means. It doesn’t always work so well but it is fun to watch him try.
The Grave Digger is framed at 1.78.1 widescreen and Tales From Beyond The Grave at 2.35.1 widescreen. While both transfers are anamorphic these still look like the low budget shot on video productions that they are, so keep your expectations in check. Colors look decent enough and black levels are okay but the image can be soft. Still, given the origins of the movies and the micro-budgets on which they were made, these look just fine for what they are.
Both movies are presented in Dolby Digital 2.0 Spanish with English subtitles burned in. Again, if you keep in mind how these were made, the quality is fine. Dialogue is typically well balanced and the score’s sound alright. There are a few wonky typos in the subtitles but we can let that slide.
Extras are slim, limited to a still gallery, trailers for a few other Massacre Video releases, menus and chapter selection. We do get some pretty great reversible cover art for the disc though!
The Final Word:
Massacre Video’s DVD release of The Grave Digger and Tales From Beyond The Grave isn’t stacked with extras but it does offer up two previously tough to find SOV oddities from Spain in decent enough shape. The movies themselves are pretty bonkers, offering up bizarre dialogue, weird characters, perverse situations and awesome cheapjack gore!