I have an admitted weakness for Paul Naschy’s werewolf movies. Even though most of them are filled with shoddy scripting and dodgy effects, more often than not, they’re usually a lot of fun. His non-werewolf flicks, like Panic Beats are even spottier, but I still sit through most of them, being the dutiful Naschy fan that I am. And Panic Beats is no exception; it’s woefully uneven and downright dull in some parts. Luckily old Paul tossed in some pretty cool shit in this one to keep your attention.
Take the opening sequence for instance. The flick starts out with a naked woman running from a knight on horseback who bludgeons her face in with a mace. What a way to start a movie! What makes this scene so great, besides the fact that we get to see a chick completely naked before the opening credits roll, is that it’s pretty damn clever. I mean think about it: Women usually run TO their knight in shining armor and not FROM them.
After that memorable scene, Panic Beats bogs down considerably. Turns out that it’s one of those “Let’s kill the wealthy woman so we can get our hands on her inheritance” deals. Naschy plays a scheming husband with a nagging wife who has a life-threatening heart condition. Naschy, using the legend of the killer knight; dresses up in a suit of armor and literally scares his wife to death. After she kicks the bucket, he’s free to spend his wife’s money on his hottie mistress. Predictably though, the REAL knight comes back from the dead to get revenge.
There’s really nothing in the film that lives up to the pre-title scene of the killer knight chasing the naked chick. We do get a juicy axe to the stomach, an axe to the head, and another gory mace-to-the-face scene though. The nudity is better than average as a lot of Spanish senoritas get muy nude and show off their manicured bushes. Too bad Naschy (who also wrote and directed the flick) made the stuff that comes in between the nudity and gore so boring and predictable.
AKA: Cries of Terror. AKA: Frantic Heartbeat.