Countdown to Halloween: The Loreley's Grasp (1973)
WHY I'VE NEVER SEEN IT
When I say in this section of my reviews for the Countdown to Halloween that I have never heard of a movie, chances are that means it was never readily available on home video. Surely in my 19 years of running and owning video stores, I would have run across almost everything released on VHS. Whether I would remember now is a different story, but I can safely say for whatever reason, I had never heard of The Loreley’s Grasp.
WHY I BOUGHT IT
I did not purchase the Shout Factory Blu-ray until recently, and I did so because, between the time it was released and when I bought it, I had heard enough good things about it. I’ve been enjoying a lot of Euro horror films this year, and it was probably a comment from Rod Barnett on one of his podcasts that finally convinced me to take the plunge. Plus, it’s on a disc with Night of the Sorcerers, so I could justify two movies for the price of one.
WHAT I THOUGHT ABOUT IT
Of the aforementioned Euro horror films that I’ve been enjoying this year, I don’t recall any good, old fashioned monster movies. The Loreley’s Grasp is the first one of those I’ve seen. Take that comment for what it’s worth… it comes with all the trappings you’d find in what I call a “good, old fashioned monster movie.” This includes a barely visible (but cheap when it is visible) monster suit and an angry torch and pitchfork-bearing mob. It also includes the trappings of an early 1970s Euro horror film. This includes “mature” themes and the setting of a boarding school full of scantily-clad women.
The titular “loreley” is, by day, the lovely actress Helga Line and, by night, a violent reptile/mermaid-type creature. Looks aside, the creature is deadly, resulting in some increasingly gory scenes of it ripping out its victims’ hearts. (And, we all know you have to go through a woman’s naked breast to get to her heart.) 33-minutes into its 85-minute running time, we’ve learned about all we can about the mythology of the beast. Professor Von Lander (Angel Menendez) demonstrates its chameleon-like qualities and educates us that it can be destroyed with a radioactive knife.
The good professor’s participation in the movie is a red herring, though. He’s dispatched by the creature and her henchman, Alberic (Luis Barboo), is his very next scene. That leaves the monster hunting to… a monster hunter, Sigurd (Tony Kendall). Sporting a white leisure suit, I guess he’s either very attractive for the time, or the girls at the boarding school are particularly hard up. They ooh and ah and rush to make themselves look pretty when he appears to investigate one of the murders. It’s all for naught. Sigurd is going to fall in love with the monster; or, at least her daytime counterpart, the lovely actress Helga Line.
He doesn’t necessarily fall in love on his own; the loreley has him under her spell. He’s two-timing on her with “the Teacher,” Elke Ackerman (Silvia Tortosa), though, which makes for an awkward climax. The creature wants to get rid of the competition, leaving Sigurd with a dilemma. Well, not really. While the ending is a little ambiguous, his actions aren’t. You’re pretty sure he’ll do the right thing. That’s about all there is to The Loreley’s Grasp. There’s no nuance to the story or complications to the plot. It’s just about what you’d expect from reading its synopsis on IMDb. If you like this kind of movie, you’ll have a lot of fun watching it.
Written by Amando de Ossorio Directed by Amando de Ossorio Starring Tony Kendall, Helga Line, Silvia Tortosa, Luis Barboo, Angel Menendez Released June 15, 1973 (Madrid) RT 85 min. Home Video Scream Factory (Blu-ray)
ABOUT THE COUNTDOWN
We all have them... stacks of movies we've purchased, but never watched; or, movies on the DVR, filling them to capacity. This year for the annual Countdown to Halloween, I'm going to make a dent in my "stack," watching one movie a day for the month of October that I've never seen, then writing about it.