Sunday, 9 December 2007

Night of the Werewolf (1981)

Night of the Werewolf was I believe the ninth of the Spanish films in which Paul Naschy played the role of the Polish nobleman/werewolf Waldemar Daninsky. He wrote the screenplays for these movies, and this one is directed by him as well. Although made in 1981 it’s very much a 70s gothic horror movie making no concessions whatsoever to changing tastes in horror cinema in the 80s. In fact Naschy throws in everything gothic he can think of – it was witches, vampires and werewolves. The problem with werewolves, I find, is that they never look convincing. They always look like a guy in silly make-up. This one is fairly typical – the make-up effects are OK but I still think werewolves look silly. It does have beautiful but evil female vampires though, and a beautiful but evil female witch. The plot hangs together better than you might expect. Three beautiful but evil female anthropologists - yes, we’re starting to see a bit of a pattern here - decide it would be fun to raise the bloody countess, Elizabeth Bathory (the one who liked to bathe in virgins’ blood because it’s good for the complexion) from the dead. Someone else has already inadvertently raised a old buddy of hers, Waldemar the werewolf, from the grave. He’s not really evil. OK, he rips people apart, but he’s really sorry afterwards. He apparently needs to find the love of a Good Woman in order to save his soul. He fins himself opposing the wicked machinations of the beautiful but evil Elizabeth Bathory and her beautiful but evil henchwomen.

It’s entertaining, it has plenty of suitably gothic sets and Naschy is pretty effective at creating gothic atmosphere – if in doubt, more fog! If you like 70s euro gothic horror (and what right-thinking person doesn’t love 70s euro gothic horror) there’s no reason to think you won’t like this movie.

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