Known by various titles including The Man with the Severed Head, Crimson is a 1970’s horror/crime film featuring the late great Paul Naschy as a nasty criminal who gets shot by the police.

Jack Surnett and his gang of scumbags are robbing a jewellers when one of the gang gets greedy and takes a pearl neckless from a display which sets off the alarm.  Pursued by the French police (the film is set outside Paris) Surnett is shot in the head and is near death.  Contacting a local dodgy doctor, Surnett’s chances of living are slim so they take him to a professor experimenting in brain surgery.

The professor agrees after the gang kidnap his daughter that he can transplant someone’s brain into Jack, thus saving him from dying.  Jack’s chief henchman Henry decides they will kill a local rival known as ‘The Sadist’ and use his brain for Jack.  The transplant takes place but Jack isn’t the Jack he was before and takes on the persona of the murder victim.

Crimson is your typical 70’s euro horror film with a silly plot, macho posturing, copious amounts of female nudity and male bum thrusting.  It’s all totally unbelievable and isn’t helped by the appalling dubbing (there is a French language track as well), but there is plenty to enjoy.  First off, there is the acting which isn’t that great and is about the standard of a local amateur dramatic production.  Naschy is fun though and the film is stolen by Carlos Otero as the shifty Dr. Ritter who plays the character as a comedy drunk.  The production design and locations are wonderful as it just drips of the 70’s with stunning wallpaper on the walls and a lab comprised of test tubes and bunsen burners.  Finally there is the music, easy listening hammond organ compositions played over sex scenes do not fit.

I have to say Crimson really entertained me for all the wrong reasons.  It is perfect post pub viewing and a prime example of a film which is utter crap but totally brilliant.  Be warned though, as the film is over forty years old, the treatment of women in it may not be your cup of tea.

  • Starring Paul Naschy  Sylvia Solar  Oliver Matot  Roberto Mauri
  • Director Juan Fortuny
  • Distributor Screenbound