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  Frankenstein's Bloody Terror 100% Pure Wolf
Year: 1968
Director: Enrique López Eguiluz
Stars: Jacinto Molina, Manuel Manzaneque, Dyanik Zurakowska, Julián Ugarte, Rosanna Yanni, Aurora de Alba, Antonio Jiménez Escribano
Genre: HorrorBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: There is a ball being held for the eighteenth birthday party of Countess Janice (Dyanik Zurakowska) and she happily dances with Rudolph (Manuel Manzaneque) as her father and his look on admiringly, joking with each other about marriage plans. However, one of the guests approaches Janice and introduces himself to her under a mysterious alias, dancing with her for a while until he disappears into the night. He is Polish nobleman Waldemar Daninsky (Jacinto Molina) and he is quite taken with Janice, contriving to meet her in an antiques shop, although Rudolph is not so pleased to see him. When the couple visit the local castle, Waldemar is there once more and tells of the story of the now deceased owner of the building who was turned into a werewolf and now resides in the crypt with a silver dagger through his heart. Nothing to worry these three, of course... or is it?

First things first, you'll notice after watching Frankenstein's Bloody Terror that Frankenstein's bloody absent. There is no Frankenstein in this film, the title was conjured up out of thin air by American producer Sam Sherman, although why not to call it The Wolfman's Bloody Terror seems to have escaped him. The original Spanish title was La Marca del Hombre-Lobo, that is, The Mark of the Wolf-Man, and makes much more sense as this was the first film to star scriptwriter Jacinto Molina under his Paul Naschy pseudonym, embarking on an extensive career of playing not only his long-running Daninsky character, but plenty of other horror icons as well. In essence, he was Spain's Lon Chaney Jr, conveying his love of the American Universal horrors he saw as a child, notably Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man, with updated versions in his own country.

Although those horrors of the nineteen-forties were invoked, what this film looks more like is a present day Hammer Horror, with bright colours (usually red) and atmospheric castle locations to give it a vivid appearance. You may be expecting Daninsky to be a werewolf from the outset, but he's not, he's just persistent and brooding, and sincere in his affection for Janice too. All the trouble that follows can be traced to Rudolph's poor driving skills where he speeds by and runs a gypsy couple in their horse-drawn caravan off the road. Daninsky happens along the same road a little while later, and helps them out, offering them the use of the castle for the night, an offer they accept. Bad move. For when they get drunk on wine they find in a cupboard, they go exploring and the female half finds the tomb, opens the casket and removes the dagger from the still fresh-looking corpse.

So now there is a werewolf on the loose, and guess who gets bitten? That's right, the Polish nobleman (Spanish censors wouldn't allow a Spanish wolfman), and so a cult favourite is born, with Naschy as an admittedly rather short creature, covered in hair to resemble a fanged teddy bear and making noises not unlike the Tasmanian Devil who vexed Bugs Bunny. Naturally, he wants a cure, so enlists that bungler Rudolph to assist, all the while keeping the secret from Janice. While our tragic hero is chained to a wall, Rudolph sends for a doctor who is an expert in curing werewolves, or so he says, but wouldn't you know it, when he and his wife arrive they turn out to be vampires who place Rudolph and Janice under their spell, leaving Daninsky to save them. Or he would if he weren't chained up. The film may provoke a few unintentional chuckles, but its faith in recreating the old time chillers is winning, and while unsurprising, it's easy to get caught up in its breathless tales of Gothic derring-do. Music by Ángel Arteaga.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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