When compared to his acting career Paul Naschy’s directorial filmography is rather quaint, even with 14 films to his credit. Jacinto Molina is his Spanish birth name, but Paul Naschy is what he declared himself in order to try to crack the Western market. Naschy wrote and starred in “Horror Rises From The Tomb” in 1972 and then reprised his role as Alaric de Marnac in 1982 with his tour de force “Latidos de pánico” known here as “Panic Beats.”

Legend has it that Alaric De Marnac was a sadistic torturer that lumbered about in a suit of shined armor, brutalizing and killing all women in his wake. In more recent times, Marnac has become a myth or a boogie man. A notion that Naschy’s character plans to use to his advantage.

Naschy portrays Marnac’s descendant, Paul, who is not only aware of his ancestor’s no-good-doings but has also married an aristocratic woman with a nervous disorder. Paul arranges to scare the bejeezus out of his wife, masquerading as Marnac, collect her life insurance and live happily ever after with his little hot-to-trot mistress. What Paul doesn’t know is that his chickie-on-the-side has her own plans, and his demise is in the works as well.

Paul succeeds at doing his wife in and then it’s his turn to go down, and he does. Is that the end? Nope. Alaric de Marnac comes back and claims his descendant’s killer. Lust, greed, betrayal, gore, mystery and a ghost story all rolled into one. Some might think that “Panic Beats” could win an award for “most convoluted story” but Naschy, being the veteran that he is, holds it all together and manages to make it work. “Panic Beats” is a wonderful Euro-horror piece that offers up all the genre’s nuances: blood, guts, grue, sex, nudity and plenty of atmosphere. Just what the doctor ordered.

Mondo Macabro lent some nice extras to this one including: An interview with Paul Naschy, a documentary on Spanish horror cinema, subtitles and a poster and still gallery.

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