I recently had the opportunity to view Celia Novis’ new documentary, ON VAMPYRES AND OTHER SYMPTOMS (2011), about the life and work of director José Ramón Larraz. Larraz is one of Spain’s most fascinating horror filmmakers but his work is hard to get a hold of and I’ve only managed to see a handful of his films myself including VAMPYRES (1975), DEVIATION (1971), THE HOUSE THAT VANISHED (1974), BLACK CANDLES (1982) and most recently SYMPTOMS (1974), which literally knocked me off my feet. SYMPTOMS was so damn good that I’ve been too intimated to try and write something about it. I also enjoyed Novis’ fascinating documentary, which is an intimate and deeply personal look at Larraz as well as a creative companion to his films. Here’s a brief excerpt from my post about ON VAMPYRES AND OTHER SYMPTOMS that you can currently find at the Movie Morlocks.
“ON VAMPYRES AND OTHER SYMPTOMS takes a look back at Larraz’ early years through a series of comic book panels that Celia Novis brings to life with lighting effects and sweeping camera movements. These scenes are intermingled with footage of Larraz discussing his work while Novis shoots the aging director taking long walks through old cemeteries and twisted hotel hallways. These walks seem to trigger a flood of memories for Larraz and the ghosts of his past begin to materialize. The director quietly expresses his disappointment with the business side of filmmaking that he encountered at film festivals like Cannes where “exhibitionism and opportunism” were rampant. But most of the conversations revolve around his thoughts about aging, his appreciation of family, regret over lost loves and the lack of critical respect for his work. He also discusses his lifelong fascination with the supernatural and the desire to find a new approach to the horror genre.”
Please follow the link if you’d like to read more:
– On Vampyres and Other Symptoms @ TCM’s Movie Morlocks