Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Directed by Jose Luis Aleman

Daniele Liotti - Lazaro Valdemar
Silvia Abascal - Luisa Lorente
Laia Murall - Leonor Valdemar

     When property appraiser Luisa Lorente is sent to assess the Valdemar Estate and mysteriously disappears, her boss hires a private detective to uncover what has happened to her. Through the investigations the dark history of the estate is uncovered.

     Seeing as that I'm trying to review mostly Mythos movies this month, I decided this would be a good time to finally watch this movie I've been sitting on for over eight months now. Another reason why is that I finally was able to get a copy of part two, which I've been trying to get hold of for at least six months. Even though I'm reviewing this movie now, I'm going to wait toward the end of the month to post the review for part two. Hope you don't mind to much. Anyway on to the review for La Herencia Valdemar!

      Even though the movie starts off with the disappearance of a property appraiser Luisa, the film just sets in motion the hunt for her. The main story is the background of the Valdemar estate and how it became the way it did. The story is paced out slower than most horror movies, and yes it is deliberately done this way. The film is all about the build up and the payoff at the end. I know that most new horror fans these days are used to something big happening every seven minutes (thanks Michael Bay for that) yet with this one there is one fast paced scene about 20 minutes into the movie and then the rest of the film is a build up for the end. While everything is explained, it never once makes the viewer feel stupid or dumb. This is probably one of the smarter horror movies I've seen. And yes, even though the film starts out in modern times, the main story  plays out in the past giving the background of the house and how it came to have it's reputation. This might seem boring, yet to me this just added to the story and made you care for the main characters but it also helps sets up the story for part two.

     While the story is the main reason to see the film, it would have failed if the acting wasn't up to the same level. Thankfully the main actors were all good in their roles for the most part except for Paco Maestre as Aleister Crowley. Something just seemed off to me about the character, excluding that Crowley was a scary and weird man to begin with. Yes, he seems like he is in complete control of all situations, though him coming and almost begging to use the Valdemar house just doesn't seem right for some reason. Another character that I had a problem with was the Bram Stoker character. Yes, in real life Stoker had a interest in the occult, mesmerism specifically, yet I don't see the man as being shy and quiet. I know these might seem like I'm being nit-picky, but I just couldn't get these two things really out of my head after each was introduced. One of acting highlights was Jose Luis Torrijo as Damaso. Though he seems nice to begin with, as more is shown of him, he starts to give out a more sinister presence in the small screen time he is giving. Also look for a very good final performance by Paul Naschy as the caring family butler in the past.

     Some of the main draws for this film is the atmosphere and the Gothic setting. Nothing is overly bright and shadows penetrate every scene. This comes in handy during the end when the summoned creature from the failed Dunwich Ritual appears and before it takes over a corpse. Even though the creature is CG when it first appears, it feels natural, although it's from another dimension, as well as it doesn't stay on camera long, which also helps the effects. A lot of characters are introduced at the start of the film that do not show up for the rest of the run time of the film, this might turn people off, yet this is only the first movie of a two part series so they will be back in part two. I'll be reviewing part two at the end of the month as a wrap up piece for this month of mostly Mythos movies, yet when viewed on it's own La Herencia Valdemar is a amazing film full of atmosphere, strong story and a very strong  feature for a first time director. So if you like slow build up of story with a strong pay-off at the end try to find this movie as it is a entertaining film set up like classic horror movies and not recent ones.

     Luglio Fuchini's burning need for water.

     Actually it's known as the "Avoided House".

     The movie was the last film of Spanish actor Paul Naschy, who plays Jervas in the film.

     Paul Naschy talked to Jose Luis Aleman to include Christopher Lee in the cast but was unable to due to that Lee was working on other projects at the time.

     Belle Gunness was a sadly well-known serial killer of Norwegian descent who may have killed more than 40 people including her own children.

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