Some people love Jerry Warren, some hate him. The man would be responsible for many cheaply made horror and cult films, often buying the rights to a film from another country and then bastardizing it to supposedly make it palatable for English speaking audiences. For those that do not know, this is the American, edited version of La Marca Del Muerto, a Mexican horror movie from 1961. Though it might sound harsh, the film was decimated from what it was and is indeed an apt term for there was a lot of ‘work’ done to make this film what it is. Scenes were removed, new scenes were added, there was some dubbing and there was a lot of narration. In fact, without the narration, the film would almost be a silent one there is so little dialogue left. From what was left of his scenes, Fernando Casanova’s performance was still fairly strong, though it really was a little sad that the film was cut down so much as to have an impact on his work.
The main storyline by José Mª Fernández Unsáin and Alfredo Varela Jr. is still intact, involving the death of Dr. Malthus for experimenting on young women while trying to find the secret of immortality. Many years later, his relative digs up his somewhat, well-preserved corpse and brings him back to life by rejuvenating him with the blood of a young lady. The scenes that were cut in by Jerry Warren were unnecessary and throwaway, not really adding anything to the film, though not really taking anything away either (except the scenes that were literally cut away). The only thing that saves this movie is what little brilliance from director Fernando Cortés’ original vision remains.
If you are going to watch this film, do not. Go and watch the original La Marca Del Muerto which is far superior. But, if you do decide to give this a go, whether for curiosity’s sake or to compare the two movies, you will find that even in this butchered form, the film is still slightly entertaining. Strange to say, but true.