HOW PAUL NASCHY SAVED MY LIFE
By Jeremy Gann
I was given up for adoption at birth by my biological mother, and was soon adopted into a family in rural Tennessee. Unfortunately, things did not progress well within this new family. I think I just did not fit in with them, as I was a different sort of kid. I was an artist, quick witted, adventurous and had an incredible imagination. They were very solemn, quiet type people, and after adopting me, had two of their own children, which is what they had wanted when the gave up and adopted. Anyway, growing up far from city life, here in the country, we had television but picked up very few channels, and these we got because of an antennae. One of the channels we began to pick up, after having a special addition put on the antennae was Channel 17, ZTV in Nashville, TN. I had been living my young life devoid of things to stimulate my creativity, give me magic or inspire my own artistic drives. That all changed, one damp, cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. Channel 17 began showing horror films on Saturday afternoons, two in a row. It was unbelievable to me, but for some reason, my adopted mother would allow me to watch these films. And thank goodness she did! It was on this dreary afternoon that a barrel chested, masculine, dashing hero tortured by the curse of Lycanthropy came into my life. I still remember the very first images of him I had ever seen. He was lying on a bed, beside a woman, sleeping. The full moon shone through the window, and with a look of pure, agonizing pain, he rose from the bed and began a wild seizure, screaming, clawing at himself, falling over furniture. When he stood back up, he was no longer our hero, Waldemar Danansky. He was “THE WOLFMAN”. And in that moment, I heard a million rockets go off in my head and my heart leap to life. I buried myself in this film, following him from rampage to rampae, watching him kill his wife, being whipped by a sadistic, evil scientist who was trying to harness the wolf in him to do her evil bidding, and then… BAM! The grande finale! I actually got to see a Wolfman fight a WOLF WOMAN! AMAZING! For the rest of the day and into the coming weeks, then months, I would fill sketch book after sketch book with images of him from the film. Paul Naschy clawing into the tender flesh of a young, gorgeous village girl. Paul Naschy bending his way through iron bars, sceaming at the full moon, roaming the candle lit hallways of a castle. I was ALIVE! Artistically, I was ALIVE! I could not get enough! I then began ALWAYS looking for his films, but would have to wait until one came up in the roatation. No dvd players back then, no theaters around which would show his films, and when they would air at night, it was playing a dangerous game to sneak up at 1 am just to catch a glimpse of him, no volume of course, as the tortured wolf man. I never forgot that rainy, damp, cold afternoon when the spark ignited my artistic spirit in a way nothing else had or ever could. I have collected every film he has done or had any involvement with, every poster, article, book, review I could get my hands on that covered him or his films in any way. Most of all, I never forgot the pained expression of true sadness, fear and torturous helplessness that overtook his fave when that full moon started to do it’s number on him, transforming him into the raving, foaming at the mouth, claw happy creature of lore we all love. His too early passing left us all with an emptiness, knowing that never again will there be one like him. Never. There never could be. Because what he did was special, and unique. Totally HIS vision, HIS dream made reality. I am just so thankful for people being intelligent enough to work on his films and get them released today for us on dvd. And I am always grateful to Mr. Naschy himself, for inspiring me artistically, and for firing up my imagination so many years ago. It was in this way that he saved my life. And I am eternally grateful for that.