OPERACION MANTIS
(OPERATION MANTIS)

1984

Cast: Paul Naschy, Julia Saly, Fedral Lorente, Paloma Cela, Yolanda Farr, Antonio Gamero, Jose Sazatornil Saza
Director: Jactino Molina
Producer: Aconito Productions (Spain), Amachi Films (Japan)
Screenplay: Jacinto Molina, Joaquin Oristrell
Photography: Julio Burgos
Music:
Fernando Garcia Morcillo
Running time: 103 min.

Fujicolor

U.S. theatrical release: None
U.S. video release: Spanish video company, as EL EXTERMINIO DEL MACHO

Notes: This joint production between Naschy's company, Aconito Films, and Masurao Takeda's Amachi Films failed to find a domestic and international audience, and bankrupt Naschy's company. A spoof of super spy films, with a satiric swipe at the sexes (the film was subtitled "El exterminio del macho" -- "The Extermination of the Male"), OPERACION MANTIS remains a curious, and perhaps misunderstood, work in Naschy's career. But maybe not. In an interview in VIDEOOZE, Naschy's judgment was harsh: "The great failure in my career; the film that ruined me and was for me a disaster, nearly fatal for the tremendous displeasure it brought me."  So, the "extermination of the male" became the extermination of a film company and nearly the man, who, using his well-honed survivor skills, would rebound four years later with the exceptional HOWL OF THE DEVIL.

OPERACION MANTIS either came too late as a spy spoof (by 1984 spy films had been passť for over a dozen years) or too early (Austin Powers was still years ahead)--or it simply wasn't good enough regardless. The difficulty of successfully translating the particular humor of the Spanish people to foreign audiences didn't help. After this film, longtime Naschy co-star Julia Saly packed it in and moved to Barcelona, not to be heard from again.


 

Paul Naschy and Julia Saly share one
of their last cinematic moments together