Inquisition was my introduction to the films of Paul Naschy. Interesting enough, the film is also Naschy’s directorial debut, and if it’s any indication of his quality, I look forward to diving into the five film feature set from Scream Factory in the very near future.
In 16th century France, Inquisitor and magistrate Bernard de Fossey (Paul Naschy) travels to the plague-ridden region of Peyriac in search of witches and devil worshippers. Local beauty Catherine (Daniela Giordano) quickly catches his eye, tormenting him with impure thoughts, although her affections lie with her handsome fiance Jean. Meanwhile, embittered one-eyed manservant Renover (Antonio Iranzo) presents Bernard with his first group of torture victims when he accuses several sexy young things who spurned his advances of being witches responsible for the plague. One by one beautiful women are tortured on the rack then burned at the stake. No-one seems able to halt the Inquisition‘s reign of terror or the baseless accusations that cause so many innocent deaths. When Jean dies in mysterious circumstances, Catherine allies herself with Satan to get revenge on her enemies – foremost among them, De Fossey himself.
This was horror star Paul Naschy’s directorial debut and one of his very best films. He plays three roles – InquisitorDe Fossey, the Devil, and the Grim Reaper. The film is a brutal and unrelenting portrait of a past when superstition and terror ruled the minds of men.
Billed as a horror movie, Inquisition is a fascinating look at the 16th Century run of witch burning and hysteria filling the minds of the masses. The film sets forth a story and has the viewer decide whether anything supernatural ever happened. It’s a neat way of telling a captivating story. The flick also doesn’t mind showing off some beautiful naked women frolicking in the water, which is a nice kind of nudity, and also showing the same women tortured on the rack for being supposed witches, which is a not so nice kind of nudity.
Naschy plays three roles in the film, with his primary role being the Judge, who questions and convicts the “witches.” Unfortunately for the Judge, he falls in love with the local girl Catherine, who’s future husband ends up being murdered. Catherine goes a bit off the deep end thanks to her adopted sister Madeleine, who introduces Catherine to local witch Mabille, who says she can help Catherine figure out who killed her lover, only if she gives herself over to the Dark Lord. A few herbs and drugs later, Catherine is dancing around a fire, rejoicing in the Sabbath, so she thinks, and before you can say delusional, the Judge is whipping himself for his dirty deeds and sins, while Catherine scowls in the corner with her see through nighty.
Inquisition plays itself rather seriously, but there are times where the film drags a bit. Those expecting some epic witchery will be disappointed. There some nice scenes featuring demons, but the low budget look combined with some hilarious makeup make it somewhat laughable.
Nonetheless, Naschy has a keen eye for nice sets, beautiful women and an interesting story to keep you invested. I loved the vagueness on whether any of these devil worshippers danced with the devil so to speak. Combine that mystery with some gut twisting torture scenes, some naked, so very naked gorgeous women, solid performances and Paul Naschy’s epic wig, makes Inquisition worthy of a watch.
Mondo Macabro is not some low tier Blu-ray company, and they prove that yet again with the release of Inquisition. The Blu has a nice helping of special features, with a few interesting interviews and a neat feature looking at Spanish horror films. Also, the guys behind Naschycast dive into the development and history of the film with their audio commentary.
As for the video and audio, the film’s look is a mixed bag at times. Often the film looks excellent, but other times the film’s quality degrades or looks to have some DNR applied (aka waxy faces). Thankfully, the film looks better more often than worse. The audio also fairs nicely, with a Spanish track with English subtitles. Also included is a dubbed English track which interesting enough, has some different lines of dialogue compared to the Spanish track.
Anyone looking for a strong story, with beautiful women, lots of nudity (both good and bad) and a frightening look at history, will love Inquisition. Mondo Macabro offers a solid Blu-ray release. Pick it up today!
- Introduction by Paul Naschy
- Interview with star Daniela Giordano
- Audio commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn (the Naschycast)
- Blood and Sand – documentary on Spanish horror films
RUN-TIME: 90 min
ASPECT RATIO: 1.85:1
AUDIO: PCM Mono
LANGUAGE: Spanish, English
REGION: Region Free
PRODUCTION DATE: 1978
RELEASE DATE: June 13, 2017