The Hanging Woman (1973)

aka La Orgia de los muertos, Beyond the Living Dead
Article 2723 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-20-2008
Posting Date: 1-26-2009
Directed by Jose Luis Merino
Featuring Stelvio Rosi, Maria Pia Conte, Dyanik Zurakowska
Country: Spain/Italy

The heir to an estate arrives at the town of his recently deceased uncle to find strange events occurring; a woman is found hanging in the graveyard, a gravedigger is engaged in inhuman acts, a countess is engaged in black magic, and a scientist dabbles in ways to animate the dead.

Most of the reviews of this one prominently mention the presence of Spanish horror star Paul Naschy, but don’t put to much stock in that; he’s here all right, but he’s consigned to a secondary role that leaves him mostly on the outskirts of the main story. Still, he serves as an interesting distraction, as his necrophiliac character is certainly the sickest aspect of this rather strange story. Actually, I quite liked this one; it’s one of those movies that really leaves you wondering which direction it’s going to go before it’s all over, but somehow it never loses sight of its story through all the twists and turns. It’s part “old dark house” film, part “mad scientist” flick, part “zombie” flick, and part just plain depravity. You won’t even know who the good guys are until you’re well into it; Stelvio Rosi’s character has moments where he comes across as rather vile, and he turns out to be the hero. This one has a whole slew of alternate titles, but I prefer THE HANGING WOMAN, if for no other reason than it gives away the least; you know just what the title means when it comes up. All in all, this is an odd but rather fun Spanish horror movie.



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