The title of this Spanish horror comedytranslates as ‘it smells like death here … (well, it wasn’t me’) – which sets the tone for the farcical knockabout, with many fart, wee and lust gags and a raucous, grating air which naturally made it one of the highest-grossing films on its home market of all time. Ever since Un Vampiro para Dos (1965), Spain has turned out a surprising number of vampire or horror comedies – few of which have travelled. This one is a vehicle for Jose Maria Yuste amd Millan Salcedo, a double act known as Martes y Trece (Tuesday the Thirteenth).
Whereas US or UK (or even Italian) double acts tend to team up two losers with contrasting personalities, Spanish comedy often defaults to foolish master and wily servant stereotypes – Yuste is Conde Capra Negra, an impoverished aristo in 1920s Paris, and Salcedo is his abused valet Antoine, who supports him in various schemes (like serving coffee strained through socks and sweetened with cat’s piss) and matches him in screeching hysterics in spooky situations. The Conde receives word that he’s inherited a castle in far-off Somolskaia, to the North of Turkey, and the pair set off in the Orient Express. On the train they meet beguiling mystery woman Nicole Darquier (Ana Alvarez), who has a Hammer Films starlet cleavage, and avoid a brush with a possessed nurse who has breasts which shoot out zap rays and transforms into a white-haired, fanged lookalike for Michael Reeves’ She-Beast.
At the castle, where Paul Naschy is lurking, a lawyer (Raf Taylor) explains that the Conde has inherited the curse of Count Dracula and drops dead, bleeding from the ears, only to resurrect as a zombie. A venture into the basements turns up Dracula (Juan Molto) in a coffin and a ‘Frankestein’ (Jose Villarejo), plus several other zombies – and Nicole sprouts fangs just before a werewolf-masked Naschy leaps into the fray to tussle with the Monster in a Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man homage. The twist is that all the monsters are money-grubbing locals in disguise out to scare off the interloping heir … and the extra twist is that the Conde and Antoine pedal off on a bicycle to a jaunty theme while the real possessed nurse stalks towards the castle, presumably to punish the fake monsters for their impertinence.
The effects and make-ups are credited to Naschy under variations of his real name, though I get a sense from his sniffy remarks in his autobiography that he was a bit less enthusiastic about sending himself up than he was in the kid-friendly Buenas Noches, Señor Monstruo. There’s a reason the likes of El Jovecinto Dracula, Tiempos duros para Dracula, Bracula Bondemor II and this haven’t been seen much outside Spain – no English-friendly versions are available so I might have missed some sparkling verbal wit, though from the face-pulling and shrieking I doubt it.