A mysterious title like Blue Eyes Of The Broken Doll at first gives one the impression that this could be a slick, classy Italian giallo, compensating for a nonsensical plot with lots of style - chilling and atmospheric, with lots of great camerawork, and even better music. But it’s not. For a start it’s Spanish and it stars Spain’s very own Lon Chaney, Paul Naschy (Jacinto Molina, who also co-wrote this) as an escaped convict surrounded by three strange women and a ghastly killer. So that’s any hint of style gone then. But don’t worry, it’s still nonsensical – if you let yourself think too hard.
Like I said, Naschy plays Gilles, an escaped convict who rides into town (village actually) on the back of a tractor. The bitchy woman in the pub who serves him his cheese sandwich and glass of wine in the local bar won’t tell him that the three women in the house on the hill are always looking for labourers, but he runs into one of them, Yvette, sporting a gruesome deformity to her arm (apparently from an “accident” although we never find out what it was) who gives him a job and takes him back to her place. There he meets her sisters; one is confined to a wheelchair (Claude – isn’t that a boys name?), her disability arising from this same “accident”, the other a nymphomaniac (Nicole).
Before long, Naschy is out in the garden, bare-chested (it appears that he’s given it a trim, although he’s neglected his arms and legs, still giving the impression he should be in the ape-house at Chester Zoo) getting wood (sorry, chopping wood) whilst nympho Nicole looks on, impressed at what’s popping out of his trousers (Don’t get your hopes up girls – I’m talking about his beer gut!). Soon enough, Mr Blobby gets her into bed, but it’s really her sister (with the deformed arm) that he loves, even telling her the reason he’s been doing bird – for doing a bird, raping and strangling her. And the best thing is, he’s totally guilty of it. And this is meant to be the good guy!
So anyway, you’d think that Naschy was the guy who’s been doing all the recent murders round here, plucking out their pretty blue eyeballs and storing them in formaldehyde but in fact it isn’t – and no-one suspects him either until around twenty minutes from the end, whereupon he gets caught in a beartrap and shot (boy, do I feel cheated!). So who’s the killer? Why, it’s wheelchair-bound Claude of course! But wait, there’s another twist in this crazy tale… she’s been hypnotised by her doctor-cum-psychiatrist to kill blue-eyed, blonde-haired girls every time she hears the tune Frere Jacques. Yep, her doctor had a daughter once, with blue eyes and blonde hair: now he keeps her empty-socketed body well-preserved in the back room, and apparently he kills these girls to… well, fuck knows! You tell me, buddy! The arresting copper might know though, he appears to have had this figured out all along. “It was a simple case of hypnotism,” he states. Simple? I don’t think so! Just like the villains in Scooby Doo, who dress up as monsters to scare hippies away from their dens of iniquity when they could just grab a pick-axe handle and show these daisy-chained flower children who’s boss!
I won’t lie to you – if you’re looking for a tight, intelligent thriller then you’ve come to the wrong place, but trash-fans will probably enjoy it. I did anyway. Naschy’s conventional look here is fabulous; in the decade of flares, colourful shirts with big collars, medallions, afro’s and sideburns, he is content with his short-back-and-sides, a charity-shop beige cardigan and a polo neck. Like, groovy, man. Despite his conservatism though, this misunderstood killer rapist, still plagued with minimalist flashbacks involving him strangling women, still finds time to seduce the chicks and even freak out murderously, being a generally sleazy bastard all round. Those expecting a total gorefest might be a little disappointed though: the image on the front of the old UK pre-cert version of a woman with a meat cleaver in her neck doesn’t turn out quite as explicit as you might think, although there are plenty of fake eyeballs to look at, and the picture on the cover of the US video shows a lean, keen, muscleman being tortured with a lightbulb by three able-bodied birds, which has bugger-all to do with this movie, or any other for that matter. By no means a classic (although that’s all relative, isn’t it? It’s not far off by Naschy’s standards!), but it’s still good fun for sleaze addicts with no taste and nothing better to do.
Aka Los Ojos Azules de la Muneca Rota, House of Doom, House of Psychotic Women