Assignment Terror [Los monstruos del terror] (1970)

(aka, Dracula vs. Frankenstein, Reincarnator)

There are bad movies and then there are BAD movies.

We’ve all seen more than our share of dire, shoddily made films that should have been put out of their misery long before the public ever suffered through them.  But then there is that rare beast, the thoroughly bonkers little film, where someone threw common sense (and any sane ideas anyone had) out the window.  It is this total commitment to his own weird vision that makes Ed Wood’s films more than a collection of bad choices, poor acting and cardboard sets.

Assignment Terror was the brainchild of Paul Naschy, the star of a series of Werewolf movies that bear more than a little resemblance to the Universal horror films of the past.  Here, in the third of his series of movies about tormented Polish werewolf, Waldemar Daninsky, Naschy was obviously channeling Universal’s monster mash-ups, The House of Dracula and The House of Frankenstein.  However that doesn’t really explain where the aliens came from.

In their natural form they look like some sort of swirling, disembodied eye thing, but here on Earth they look rather more like Michael Rennie, playing his third and final SF movie role.  Of course we know he’s there because of The Day the Earth Stood Still, but he gets to spout some very odd dialogue while looking very, very serious.

The general idea is that he and his fellow aliens in human disguise want to seize the earth with its resources intact, which rules out nuking its inhabitants.  So they plan to find a series of legendary supernatural monsters and then weaponize them.

Which means figuring out how to make lots and lots of them and then releasing them on the unsuspecting world!

The best part of cramming so many things into a film – and here that includes the Wolfman, the Mummy, the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, good looking gals, hypnosis, using dead bodies as hosts for alien intelligences, the Italian police detective and his hot heiress girlfriend who seem to have wandered in from the world of Giallo, and, of course, a psychedelic night club – is that there’s always something going on on screen.  And most of it, let’s face it, is thoroughly enjoyable, in a bad Spanish movie with terrible dubbing and poor acting sort of way.

So by all means, take a chance and see this strange little movie.  Don’t expect much and you might even have fun.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dpdAXw1WmPg

(or download an equally bad version here.)

(See my review of Rennie’s other SF film, Cyborg 2087 (1966))

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