CRIMSON (a.k.a. The Man With The Severed Head) ** Spain / France 1976 Dir: Juan Fortuny. 94 mins
There’s plenty of flares, garish polo necks, porn star moustaches and blokes that keep their trousers on during sex (plus a J & B cameo) in this talky Euro variation on a couple of lesser Karloff pictures of the 30’s and 40’s. A hybrid of crime movie and mad scientist yarn, it’s far too pedestrian to live up to its potential. Although nominally a Paul Naschy vehicle, the great man is off camera for most of the first 50 minutes: his character is shot in the head during a post-jewellery heist getaway effort.
Subsequently, the physically impaired and unfortunately named “Professor Teets” is engaged to use his relatively untested, revolutionary brain transplanting abilities to transfer the grey matter of a murdered donor into Naschy. Too bad, the donor in question is Naschy’s biggest enemy, a suave bastard known as “The Sadist”. It’s a great exploitation premise, but the movie is half over by the time the transplant happens, and even then, Naschy is reduced to ambling around looking pitiful when not molesting every surviving female cast member. It’s bloodless and padded, though it does have abundant nudity accompanying the expected 70’s treatment of the ladies: a rape scene is shot and scored like a sex scene, there’s an abusive lesbian character and poor old Jess Franco regular Gilda Arancio is stripped throughout, violated and has fags put out on her body.
Review by Steven West