13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (El Retorno del Hombre Lobo) is a part of director Paul Naschy's series about the lycanthropic shape-changing Lord Waldemar Daninsky. The 70's "Werewolf Shadow", this Euro-horror franchise came 10 years before "An American Werewolf in London". Now unlike, some other werewolf films that also came out in the early-mid 80's, Naschy's approach is more about traditional, old-fashioned gothic horror with the added elements of a romantic tragedy.
In the 16th century, Countess Bathory (Julia Saly) is sentenced to a slow death by being imprisoned in a stone tablet due to her machinations with the devil. Her lycanthropic aide, Waldemar is more than willing to die and end his enslavement to the wicked Countess. After many centuries, Waldemar's corpse was found by a pair of grave robbers and they took the silver cross that kept his body in place; thereby awakening the werewolf.
Days after, three beauteous aspiring archaeologists led by Erika (Silvia Aguilar) crosses paths with a revived Waldemar and they accept his hospitality in his castle. Karen (beauteous Azucena Hernandez) instantly falls in love with Waldemar; apparently she is the chosen one who will end the Count's curse. Erika herself is a student of the dark arts and she intends to revive the vampiress; Countess Bathory, with the blood of her friend Barbara (Pilar Alcon). Bathory awakens after many centuries and is determined to once again put Waldemar under their enthrallment in order to fulfill the prophecies of darkness on Earth.
"Night of the Werewolf" is undoubtedly very much linked with other films of the series. I have not seen "Werewolf Shadow", (or did I?) so I can only assume that this entry would be a "souped-up" version of the ones that came before. Despite this film's title, it definitely plays more like a vampire film than a werewolf film; the film is slower-paced with a developing storyline and has a very restrained amount of blood and violence. Indeed, the film does appear to be very sexy and seductive in its own way, much like a vampire film. There is a fair amount of nudity and sex but very mild in today's standards. The film is definitely a gothic horror film; although its timeline can be easily placed in a modern era, with the presence of a pool party in the beginning where women prance around in bikinis, the appearance of a car--but besides all those elements, if you take those scenes out, most of the film's costumes and the backdrop (in an ancient castle) has that very "gothic" feel to it.
The film's special effects utilize the old fashioned style of camera fade-outs and traditional animation of photos that were further developed in the 80's. You see Naschy is in half-man, half-wolf form with his shirt still in place. The Lycan look is more reminiscent of the old-school "Wolfman" rather than the lycans in the "Howling". Waldemar may be a lycan but he is a gentleman, and gentlemen always keeps their shirts on. The female vampires are quite breathtaking; they are quite beautiful and seductive, and follows the look of earlier vampire features. Their fangs look as if they've been done by a professional orthodontist much to the film's credit. The film also comes with the usual "foggy" special effects that emulate a spooky atmosphere, that is further enforced by the torch-lit castle, and cobwebbed crypts.
While "Night of the Werewolf" is a nostalgic return to old-fashioned traditional romantic horror films that can be compared to the Hammer monster films in the 60's, the film does have its faults. There are a few plot holes and some scenes seem to jump around in sequence. The love between Waldemar and Karen seemed severely underdeveloped; chosen or manufactured by destiny, one would be hard-pressed to believe that Karen would just fall in love with him after being unconscious. But hey, what do I know about the supernatural power of Love? One minute, Erika and Barbara were about to go to bed (excuse to show nudity) then they are in the Countess' tomb. These little things may hamper the film's pace to the experienced watcher. The screenplay does have its share of carelessness but some scenes still would hold out well even by today's standards. (a naked, lifeless body hung upside-down while it drips blood to revive Bathory and blood poured onto Mircalla are classic scenes)
Still, "NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF" is a refreshing watch and a welcome homage to traditional gothic romantic horror/tragedies. The film may be slower-paced than what we are used to and those looking for an abundance of blood and violence may be a little let down. The battle between a werewolf and a vampire always holds a certain charisma, especially to the avid horror fan. When viewing this film, keep in mind that it was made more than 25 years ago and enjoy it for what it is. The film may have its shortcomings in the technical side and definite flaws in its storytelling that makes it feel rather dated, but it may also be seen as part of the film's main draw. The film is a definite TRUE homage to classic horror/monster features.
RECOMMENDED! [3 ½ + Stars]
Please view the film in its original Castillian language and use the English Subtitles, it is much better than utilizing the English dubbed track.
Special thanks to amazon friend Trashcanman who pointed out this film to me.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
If you are a fan of Paul Naschy you must have this film in your collection!! Anyone who is into Gothic horror has probably seen this in an old vhs copy called the Craving. It was very dark and grainy, however this copy is a Pristine print. The Werewolf Naschy is also surrounded by a group of very "Hot" women. Check out the beatiful Azucena Hernandez as Naschy's love interest. A great Gothic horror film, Paul Naschy and beatiful women so whats not to like??
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Brett W. Moore
- Published on Amazon.com
I am a big fan of Paul Naschy and this movie was classic Naschy fun.
Gothic horror with a 1970s style twist.
Not too bloody.
A fun evenings entertainment.
Kudos to Deimos for getting the DVD to the market and at a fair price.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Lycanthrope of perpetual sorrow (and gore) Waldemar Daninsky -played as always, by criminally underrated Spanish horror legend Paul Naschy- came back from the dead yet again in 1980 for the 9th out of 12 films starring El Hombre Lobo, the baddest werewolf ever to grace the silver screen. It really is a shame that Naschy is not well known because his stuff slashes, gouges, and gnaws all over Lon Chaney Jr's work, which I love. This time around, Naschy (born Jacinto Molina) not only starred and wrote, but DIRECTED this - arguably his finest film -known in Spain as "El Retorno del Hombre Lobo". Did you not get enough hot brunette vampires battling our hero in Werewolf's Shadow? Well, here you go.
In "Night of the Werewolf" real historical vampire Elizabeth Bathory has gained some young sexy friends some centuries after her and her followers -Daninksy among them, though against his will- were executed for all kinds of goat-heavy badness (a cookie for anyone who pegs that reference). Once a pair of grave robbers remove the silver crucifix from the werewolf's corpse on the full moon (just an all around bad idea, really), the fun begins. The satanic beauties stay at Daninsky's gothic crib where the main (wolf)man naturally takes the pick of the litter for his own -he's pimp like that- and spends his nights killing hobos by the full moon while Bathory's Angels prepare the ritual for her resurrection. Hint: there's blood involved. Before you know it Daninsky is back in the vampire hunting business as the brunette bombshells one-by-one are turned by the Blood Countess and turn on him. Violent hijinks ensue.
This is arguably a better vamp vs were flick than even "Shadow" was. Bathory proves a worthy foe and I've never seen vampire telekinesis used in cooler ways in a movie begore(uuuuse the fooorce Liz). On top of all the blood, sex, and nudity (toned down a bit, but it's certainly there) there is a truly outstanding genre film here. Naschy crafted a handful of shots in this film that are to die for. A pair of vampires descending on two thieves in a shed filmed at an odd angle appear to be floating in along with a dense mist which makes for a very eerie effect. There's also a murderously good shot of a vamp succubus and Daninski during a nighttime seduction where you can clearly see the girl stretched out on top of him, but the mirror behind them shows only him on the bed. Classic, classic stuff. The climax ends in an annoyingly similiar fashion to "Shadow" (what, do werewolves drool garlic or what?), but the battle in "Night" is far superior. There are also little classic horror references such as a gallery of historical portraits some will recognize as Bathory herself along with Vlad Dracul and a third that I couldn't place (possibly Rasputin). Then there is Daninski's disfigured assistant, Mircalla; an obvious reference to Carmilla, whose names must all be anagrams of one another.
Do you love classic horror? 70's-style exploitation? Vampires? Werewolves? What if they were fighting each other? How about joy? You like joy, right? If you answered "yes" to any of these questions I've got a treat for you: this film. I assume you're not illiterate and can handle some subtitles, of course. Naschy's werewolf films are must-see material for anybody who fancies themself a fan of Hammer-style old-school horror. Speaking of Hammer, for further cinematic adventures of Elizabeth Bathory and Carmilla, get this here quality two-fer: Countess Dracula / The Vampire Lovers. It contains an extremely loose fictionalized adaptation of Bathory's true story along with my favorite Hammer film, a nearly spot-on adaptation of "Carmilla". Interestingly, Ingrid Pitt played both roles. Happy haunting.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Todd L. Burley
- Published on Amazon.com
This film has been a long time in coming but the wait has been well worth it! Paul Naschy once again dons the familiar personage of the long suffering Count Valdemar Daninsky cursed to turn into a murderous werewolf when the full moon rises ! This is probably one of the best "classic" battles between werewolf and vampire !(in the guise of Countess Elizabeth Bathory). This film has been released in several incarnations with titles such as " The Werewolf VS The Vampire Woman, El Retorno Del Hombre Lobo, The Craving and The Night Of The Werewolf". It is the best in the Valdemar Daninsky saga and high point in Spanish Horror Cinema. The film has been given the "royal treatment" in the fabulous transfer that has been done. It,s really flawless and I,ve never seen this film in a better version. It is uncut and beautifully restored. I would hazard a guess that The Night Of The Werewolf didn,t look this good in it,s original theatrical release !! If you love gothic Horror with iconic characters this film delivers in spades !