Newest Reviews
Set It Off
No Way Out
Pitch Perfect 3
Insidious: The Last Key
Goalie's Anxiety at the Penalty Kick, The
Dirty Carnival, A
King of Hearts
And the Same to You
Racer and the Jailbird
Superman and the Mole-Men
Phantom Thread
Sweet Country
Irma La Douce
Brigsby Bear
Wish Upon
Finding Vivian Maier
Shape of Water, The
Lady Bird
Endless, The
Universal Soldier: The Return
Lean on Pete
Carnival in Flanders
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It Came from the Desert
Lodgers, The
Eagle vs Shark
Newest Articles
And It Was the Dirtiest Harry We Have Seen in a Very Long Time: The Dirty Harry Series
Manor On Movies: The Astounding She Monster
Manor On Movies: Don't be a dolt. That's not a cult (movie)
Wes Anderson's Big Daddies: Steve Zissou and Others
Bad Taste from Outer Space: Galaxy of Terror and Xtro
A Yen for the 1990s: Iron Monkey and Satan Returns
Hey, Punk: Jubilee and Rock 'n' Roll High School
Help! with The Knack: Richard Lester in 1965
Roll Up, Get Yer Free Cinema: The Shorts on the BFI Woodfall Blu-rays
Time for Heroes: The Dam Busters and How I Won the War
Hell is a City: Midnight Cowboy and Taxi Driver
Boris Goes Bonkers, Bela Goes Bats: The Old Dark House and Mark of the Vampire
Charles Bronson's Mid-70s: Breakheart Pass and Others
Kids in America: The Breakfast Club vs Metropolitan
80s Dance-Off: Staying Alive vs Murder-Rock vs Breakin'
  Fury of the Wolfman Get NaschyBuy this film here.
Year: 1970
Director: José Maria Zabalza
Stars: Jacinto Molina, Perla Cristal, Verónica Luján, Diana Montes, Mark Stevens, Miguel de la Riva, Francisco Amorós, Fabián Conde, Ramón Lillo, Javier Riva, Pilar Zorilla
Genre: Horror, Sex, Science Fiction, Weirdo, Fantasy
Rating:  4 (from 1 vote)
Review: After debuting his tragic werewolf anti-hero, Count Waldemar Daninsky, in Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror (1967), writer/actor Paul Naschy (alias: Jacinto Molina Alvarez) returned in three lacklustre sequels before scoring an international hit with Werewolf Shadow (1971). Following the barely-released Nights of the Werewolf (1968) and Assignment Terror (1969), the fourth Daninsky movie opens with this cryptic quote: “When the heliotrope starts growing among rough rocks, and when the full moon shines at night. In a certain area of the Earth, a man turns into a wolf…” Typically, once the plot kicks in, we discover heliotropes have bugger all to do with anything.

In a nod to Werewolf of London (1935), Daninsky (here called “Walter”!) returns home to his lovely wife Erika (Verónica Luján) after tragedy befalls his expedition to Tibet. Suffering a mysterious illness and acid flashbacks to a Tibetan mystic (“Pentagram! Pentagram!”), he consults glamorous scientist Dr. Ilona Wolfstein (Perla Cristal), who has conceived a radical new brainwave theory. “Control of the hypothalamus and cerebral cortex is possible through chemitrodes!” she tells cute student Karen (Diana Montes). Mmm-hmm… Anyway, someone hands Daninsky a letter saying his wife is having an affair. Suddenly, we’re in film noir/The Postman Always Rings Twice territory, as the guilty culprit sabotages the brakes on his car. Daninsky survives, goes wolf, mauls his wife then kills her lover for an encore. However, foolishly grabbing an electric cable on a rainy night, he fries his furry self.

Shortly thereafter, Ilona and her snivelling manservant dig up Daninsky’s corpse. Back at their gothic castle, Ilona, Karen and a retinue of mini-skirted science babes revive Daninsky as a remote-controlled zombie werewolf. Surely a screen first. He makes a worthy addition to Ilona’s dungeon full of chemitrode-controlled hippies and the caped creep in a Phantom of the Opera mask always roaming the castle, but periodically bursts his chains. Karen’s tabloid journalist boyfriend (Mark Stevens) investigates the werewolf rampages, alongside a grouchy policeman. What he doesn’t know is Karen has fallen for broody, barrel-chested Daninsky. Between getting it on, they plan their escape.

Naschy often claims director José Maria Zabalza was drunk on-set, which explains why haphazard continuity afflicts this series entry. While this groovy gothic romp proceeds with straight-faced insanity, there are ill-explained undertones (the quasi-lesbian relationship between Ilona and Karen) and pointless twists (the identity of the masked phantom), while the dialogue is either pseudo-scientific doubletalk or else high camp hilarity (“Very soon you’ll be the beast that I dominate!”). Not an awful lot happens, despite brief werewolf rampages where Naschy kills a poor student studying for his exams, burns cook and his wife on their own stove, and nibbles the obligatory girl in a flimsy negligee. He always climbs into bed with female victims, which suggests things may have go further in another, more explicit version. On a further downside, Naschy appears to be condemning lefty layabouts when the hippies get it on with the science babes, ignoring the monsters at large. The abiding image you take away from this may well be Naschy laying into the flower children with an axe!

For all its faults, there are elements of groovy gothic style worth cherishing: the combination of pulp-horror thrills from Forties B-movies with Seventies sex and gore, corpses rotting in the castle walls, the fab mod outfits for Ilona’s science babes and a black magic funeral complete with robed maidens, candles and a satanic hound. Plus a late hour twist reveals Erika caught the werewolf curse. She morphs into a hairy lady werewolf for a fur flinging battle with Naschy!

If you make it through this, you’ll need to see Werewolf Shadow or any of the remaining sequels, which include the delirious Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf (1972), serviceable Curse of the Devil (1973), gleefully demented The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975), genuinely stylish The Craving (1980) a.k.a. Night of the Werewolf, the Japanese-set The Beast and the Magic Sword (1983), and worst of the bunch, Lycantropus (1996). Viva Naschy!

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam


This review has been viewed 2086 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

Review Comments (0)

Untitled 1

Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.

Latest Poll
Which film has the best theme song?
The Ups and Downs of a Handyman

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
Stately Wayne Manor
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Jamie Nichols
Andrew Pragasam
George White


Last Updated: