A real oddity: young Basilio is visited by the ghost of a dead, one-eyed archaeologist, who asks him to protect his niece from imminent danger. After introducing himself to the lovely girl, our intrepid hero discovers that the threat emanates from a huge underground city populated entirely by hunchbacks... Neville's film is not exactly good, but it certainly is fascinating. In many ways it's like a rather corny Universal horror movie of the '30s (featuring a few performances that would show even Lugosi in an impressive light); but no Hollywood film-maker - with the possible exception of Whale or Browning - would pepper a plot with such delightful nonsense (the ghost of Napoleon turns up at one point) and grotesquerie. The Spanish taste for the fantastic, the bizarre and the surreal is much in evidence, and one is left breathless by the sheer audacity of the ludicrous plot. It can, of course, be seen as an allegory on the state of the nation after the Civil War, but is best viewed as weird but wonderful wackiness.
Cast and crew
Isabel de Pomés