Written by: Carroll Jenkins on September 29th, 2008
Theatrical Release Date: Spain, 1980
Director: Paul Naschy
Writer: Paul Naschy
Cast: Paul Naschy, Silvia Aguilar, Azucena Hernández, Julia Saly, Pilar Alcón, Beatriz Elorrieta, Luis Barboo, Narciso Ibáñez Menta, Charly Bravo
DVD released: May 8th, 2007
Approximate running time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Sound: Dolby Digital Mono Castilian and English
DVD Release: BCI/Deimos Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $19.98
Synopsis: Three young women travel to the Carpathian mountains to locate the remains of vampire queen Elisabeth Bathory and werewolf Waldemar Daninsky. Maybe that’s not such a great idea.
Night of the Werewolf is an extremely atmospheric picture heavily inspired by classic Universal horrors. In fact it’s a monster mash in the fashion of ‘House of Dracula’ featuring a werewolf, vampires, a disfigured witch, and reanimated corpses. Filmed on location at real ruins of Spanish castles, there is a generous supply of rats, skeletons, and spider webs. Though traces of the ‘modern’ world are presented, the film mostly transpires in a timeless milieu.
Paul Naschy’s most endearing and enduring character was that of the anguished werewolf Waldemar Daninsky. The Count loathes his lycanthropic existence and his greatest desire is to find release from the curse. Paul Naschy directs himself as this character for the first time and though compelled to monstrous acts, Daninsky is at heart a nobleman. To this end there are a substantial number of kills but they are rather brief and presented in a non-sensational manner. The werewolf makeup is very effective, and time-lapse transformations will certainly please Lon Chaney fans.
The vampire scenes are more elaborate and certainly more sensational. Elisabeth Bathory is evil incarnate, and Julia Saly seems a dead ringer for this historical figure. The [all female] vampires nest in the ruins and are simultaneously seductive and repulsive, wearing transparent gowns and evil grimaces. Trivia note: look for the portrait of Vladimir the Impaler, generally considered to be the historical basis for Dracula.
This is a beautiful presentation from the original negative. Many of the vampire scenes are very dark with some in the ruins filmed with only ambient light from a flashlight. Nevertheless, you can see every individual Medieval brick and the blacks are pitch black. The use of low level lighting throughout purposefully subdues the colors, but grain is practically non-existent. The Castillian track and English dub are included, as are English Subtitles. Extras include a spoken intro by Naschy, two deleted dialog scenes, English language trailer, and Spanish title sequence. The stills gallery includes a comparison clothed and nude still; the poster gallery contains lobbies and one-sheets from various countries.
Night Of The Werewolf presents a classic Gothic horror with high production values [for a European genre film], enthralling locations, and an excellent cast. Spanish Castle Magic, indeed.