(Hell of a Gal explores the films of the powerful, ever luscious Euro Vixen Helga Liné.)
Jealous looks good on Helga Liné. Of course, it should be noted, that almost everything looks absolutely fabulous on this devilish wonder. But most fans would probably agree that her dual role in the classic Nightmare Castle shows her off best of all.
As Solange, the devoted companion to the crazed Dr. Stephen Arrowsmith (Paul Muller), Liné makes her first appearance in this black and white gothic adventure as a withered crone. But, when we see her next, this gorgeous creature’s true beauty is shining through. (Hmmm…I just had to work a Melanie Griffith title into the proceedings, didn’t I?) It seems that Arrowsmith’s experiments have given the aged Solange the glow of youth…and a bit of possessiveness, as well. Solange is definitely not happy with the arrival of Jenny, played by the irreplaceable Barbara Steele. Jenny is the exact replica of Arrowsmith’s late wife and although she may hold the key to their fortune, Solange would, from all appearances, like her dispatched as quickly as possible.
Of course, all does not go according to plan in the world of villainy and the arrival of Jenny’s handsome and kindly doctor (Marino Mase) and a couple of vengeful ghosts soon spell doom for Arrowsmith and Solange.
But despite the corrosiveness of her character, Steele and director Mario Caiano have nothing but praise for Line’s beauty and talent on the special features of Severin’s beautifully restored copy of the film. Indeed, Liné is, nicely, given more range to play here than is normally required of her and while Ms. Steele, rightfully, has claimed the top spot in my many terror lovers’ hearts, Line’s take on Solange here proves that, in a fair world, she would be right up there with her.
Hell of A Gal explores the many genre credits of European exploitation goddess Helga Liné!
Diversity, thy name is Helga Liné! While her role of Natasha in the deliriously fun 1972 Spanish/British mash-up Horror Express finds her in familiar bad girl territory, this definitive fatale also adds a light sense of girlish comedy to her scenes with terror legend Peter Cushing.
Sneaking aboard the Trans-Siberian Express, Liné’s Natasha talks her way into the room of Cushing’s turn-of-the-century anthropologist. Charmed by her seductive brashness, the two strike up an engaging friendship. Of course, that relationship is cut short when Natasha’s thieving ways earn her a place on the victim’s list of a prehistoric caveman, who just happens to house the essence of a murderous alien creature. (I know! Happens every day, right?!?)
Still, in her unfortunately short screen time here, Liné and Cushing shine together. Their cute chemistry, also, produces one of the unusual screenplay’s funniest lines, as well.
A blend of Euro horror (with both more traditional and zombie elements), zany action and science fiction, Horror Express features delightful performances from almost everyone involved (including horror legend Christopher Lee and an exuberantly wacked out Telly Savalas) and Severin’s ( http://www.severin-films.com ) 2011 Blu-Ray re-mastering features such amazing extras as an extensive audio interview with Cushing and features with director Eugenio Martin and composer John Cacavas.
Until the next time – SWEET love and pink GRUE, Big Gay Horror Fan!