Written by: Carroll Jenkins on November 26th, 2015
Theatrical Release Dates: Spain, 1972
Director: León Klimovsky
Writer: Paul Naschy
Cast: Paul Naschy, Shirley Corrigan, Jack Taylor, Mirta Miller, José Marco
DVD released: October 14th, 2002
Approximate running time: 96 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: 15 (UK)
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo Spanish
DVD Release: Mondo Macabro
Region Coding: Region 0 PAL (UK)
Retail Price: OOP
Synopsis: To cure Waldemar lycanthropy, Dr. Jekyll’s grandson injects him with the serum to turn him into Mr. Hyde. Then when the Hyde persona defeats the Wolfman he can apply the antidote and make Waldemar a real boy again.
Paul Naschy’s greatest legacy in the minds of most international horror mavens is the creation of the Polish werewolf Waldemar Daninsky. It was the werewolf that imbued his first screenplay that resulted in his first starring role that enabled his long career in horror cinema.
Given that Werewolf Shadow (aka The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman) and Night of the Werewolf are the two ‘A’ list Naschy werewolf movies, this one is only a notch below and rates as a ‘B’ grade outing – meaning certainly better than average. Even so, the first act greatly resembles that of both aforementioned movies: damsel in distress from road agents is saved by Daninsky in human form with whom she falls immediately in love SPOILER ALERT and eventually dies killing him to free his soul forever or until the next sequel.
Did Naschy / Molina go to the well once too often? Not really (in this case), because it is well directed by León Klimovsky (Werewolf Shadow, Vengeance of the Zombies) who was probably Naschy’s best director with the possible exception of the self-directed Night of the Werewolf. The direction is good, the cinematography is even better, the budget is above average; every aspect is above average except perhaps for the editing. This is the domestic ‘clothed’ edition and while it still retains some gore shots it may have been edited as a result of censorship that might have affected continuity. For example, the villagers are all set with torches and pitchforks and then abruptly we are in London.
This is the OOP UK Mondo Macabre release from 2002 which is the widescreen uncut domestic release in Spanish with English subtitles. The extras include a brief text essay on the brief Spanish horror film boom but most importantly an interview with Paul Naschy with English subtitles discussing various aspects of his career. He does express his views on this film, ranking it right next to Werewolf Shadow while discussing Klimovsky’s strengths and weaknesses as a director. Specifically, spectacular scenes are often followed by somewhat lethargic ones, but Klimovsky knew how to stay within the budget, which was small, and still produce a viable product. A horrid full screen English dubbed and cut version was released in 2012 by Apprehensive Films which should be avoided by all means.
Despite minor flaws this is arguably a top 5 Daninsky title and top 10 in Naschy’s overall oeuvre. Thanks to the efforts of the [defunct] BCI we have extraordinary editions of many of his finest films, but this is one that got lost in the shuffle.