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  Werewolf and the Yeti, The Let the fur fly
Year: 1975
Director: Miguel Iglesias Bonns
Stars: Jacinto Molina, Grace Mills, Silvia Solar, Gil Vidal, Luis Induni, Veronica Miriel, Joseph Castillo Escalona, Ventura Oller, Juan Velilla, Carmen G. Carvera, Pepa Ferrer
Genre: Horror, Sex, Fantasy, AdventureBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Spain’s favourite werewolf, Count Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy a.k.a. Jacinto Molina) returns for his outlandish eighth adventure, pitted against none other than the Abominable Snowman! A rousing intro atop the snowy Himalayas sees a shaggy Yeti maul a team of explorers to death. Bagpipes play over stock shots of London where Professor Lacombe and his lovely daughter Sylvia (Grace Mills) persuade Count Daninsky to join their ongoing quest to capture the snowman for “scientific purposes.” Arriving in Kathmandu the team are joined by adventurer Larry Talbot (Gil Vidal), pretty Melody (Veronica Miriel), boorish Norman, superfluous Ralph and a wise Indian mystic called Tiger. Also on the payroll is drug-addled mountain guide Joel who almost immediately takes a flying leap of the mountaintop. Gosh, who would have thought hiring an opium-addicted madman for a guide would be a bad idea?

While his friends make camp for the night, heroic Waldemar heads for help alone and winds up trapped in a cave with a couple of comely cannibal nymphets. Lusty voodoo sex somehow infects Waldemar with a lycanthropic curse, turning him into - madre de dios! - El Hombre Lobo!! As Waldemar the werewolf romps through the woods, snarling and clawing his way through various local miscreants, his companions are ambushed by gun-toting bandits working for tyrant leader Sekkar Khan (Luis Induni), although plucky Sylvia escapes to rejoin her cursed boyfriend. A surprise twist resurrects Waldemar’s old adversary, Countess Wandessa (Silvia Solar), posing as witch doctor to the sore-ridden Khan and keeping a dungeon full of nubile young ladies for her black magic experiments. Before Waldemar rides to the rescue, a kindly Tibetan mystic points Sylvia towards a magical moon plant that may yet rid him of his terrible curse.

Now here is a battle any schlock horror fan would kill to see. Too bad we have to wait until the last eight minutes before Naschy’s snarling lycanthrope battles some shambling, anonymous dude in a yeti suit. Nevertheless, The Werewolf and the Yeti a.k.a. Night of the Howling Beast ranks as one of the Spanish horror star’s most enjoyable outings. One of Naschy’s most endearing aspects is his obvious affection for classic Universal horror movies. Here he recycles his familiar influences: The Wolf Man (1941), Werewolf of London (1935) and Frankenstein meets the Wolf Man (1943), into a crazy, sexy comic book adventure including a dash of exotic Asian appeal.

Naschy the writer is no fool and ensures Naschy the actor has a lusty cannibal threesome, an amorous interlude with archenemy Wandessa and still gets to nuzzle next to naked girlfriend Sylvia. Never once mentioning his indiscretions. Classy guy, huh? In interviews, Naschy has often stressed his female characters are never scream queens but forthright, proactive women. Strange as that sounds, based on past evidence and this film, he is actually right. Compared to latter-day torture porn and slasher movies, the women here do have more to do besides supplying sex appeal. Naschy flings himself into some enthusiastic fistfights and shootouts staged by Miguel Iglesias Bonns, an experienced hand at jungle adventures including such romps as Kilma, Queen of the Amazons (1973) and Kilma, Queen of the Jungle (1974). Naschy’s florid dialogue raises smiles rather than sneers (“The full moon has always filled me with fear, but now with all my strength I wish it would come to me so I can destroy you!”) owing to its sincerity and a winning romantic streak. Aside from the brevity of the yeti battle, the film offers plenty of fur-flinging werewolf violence as Naschy rips through the supporting cast before he is cured of his curse by true love. This break from the formula was foisted on Naschy, who was not best pleased, but only the hard-hearted would begrudge the big lug a happy ending for a change.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

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