Written by: Michael Den Boer on November 3rd, 2014
Theatrical Release Date: Italy, 1976
Director: Rino Di Silvestro
Writers: Rino Di Silvestro, Anthony La Penna, Howard Ross
Cast: Annik Borel, Howard Ross, Dagmar Lassander, Tino Carraro, Elio Zamuto, Andrea Scotti
BluRay Released: October 25th, 2014
Approximate running time: 98 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Widescreen / 1080 Progressive / VC-1
Sound: DTS-HD Mono Italian, DTS-HD Mono English
BluRay Release: Raro Video USA
Region Encoding: Region Free
Retail Price: $29.98
Synopsis: Traumatized by a sexual assault, a young woman named Daniela struggles to maintain her sanity as she slowly transforms into an ancestor who centuries before was burned at the stake for being a werewolf.
Werewolf Woman was co-written and direct by Rino Di Silvestro, whose other notable films include, Deported Women of the SS Special Section and Hanna D.: The Girl from Vondel Park. Key collaborators on Werewolf Woman include cinematographer Mario Capriotti (Johnny Yuma, Waves of Lust) and composer Coriolano Gori (Massacre Time, Four Times That Night).
A traumatic event from the past is at the core of this sleazy psychological thriller that borrows heavily elements from the horror genre. And though this film does make an attempt to focus on reasons why the protagonist is doing what she is doing. The end result is not as potent as it could have been since the film far too often falls back on attention grabbing exploitive elements, like an ample amount of nudity from its leading lady and gory deaths where victims’ throats are ripped out.
From a narrative standpoint things are very straight forward. And after the film starts off with a dreams sequence that retells an event form the past. The remainder of the film is told from the protagonist Daniela’s point of view. Also when it comes to pacing things move along at a good enough pace that there are no major lulls along the way.
As mentioned before this film is going to be remembered by most for its more exploitive moments. And the most memorable scene out of these type of scenes involves a trio of rapists who surprise Daniela at her new home, while her boyfriend is away. From there the boyfriend comes home during their assault and violence ensues as the trio of men beat to death her boyfriend. This moment also proves to be pivotal since it shows that right before these men’s arrival that Daniela had finally made a break through and was close to overcoming her original trauma.
Though there are most definitely many areas of this film that could have been better, Ultimately one’s enjoyment of this film comes down to how you view the performance of its leading lady Annik Borel (Truck Turner, Erotic Encounter’s) who’s uninhibited performance is easily this films strongest asset. Other performances of note include Howard Ross (The Killer Reserved Nine Seats, The New York Ripper) in the role of Daniela’s new boyfriend Luca and this film’s closet thing to a normal character and Dagmar Lassander (The Frightened Woman, Forbidden Photos of a Lady Above Suspicion) in the role of Daniela’s sister Elena. And though her role is not much more than a cameo, it is her sex scene that will leave an indelible mark of most who watch this film.
Werewolf Woman comes on a 25 GB single layer BluRay. The film is presented in a 1080 progressive widescreen. Colors and flesh tones look accurate, black and contrast levels fare well and details generally look crisp. Also though Raro Video has once again applied DNR to another transfer, thankfully the end result is not as excessive as they have been in the past. And when this film was released by Shriek Show on DVD the image was overly cropped, thankfully this release corrects this and now the image is properly framed.
This release comes with two audio options, a DTS-HD Mono mix in Italian and a DTS-HD Mono mix in English. Both audio mixes sound clean, clear and balanced throughout. Previous to this release I had only experienced this film via its delirious English audio track that gives the film a totally different vibe then the Italian audio track included with this release. Also included with this release are removable English subtitles.
Extras for this release include an English language trailer (3 minutes 38 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen), a Italian language trailer (3 minutes 38 seconds – 1080 Progressive Widescreen) and an interview with director Rino Di Silvestro (19 minutes 22 seconds – 1.33:1 Aspect Ratio 1080 Progressive, in Italian with English subtitles) who discusses what his preferred title for this film would have been, the development of the screenplay, trying to find financial success working on a limited budget, casting and his thoughts on the cast, the psychological aspects explored in the film, working as a script ghostwriter and what is was like to finally get his first chance to direct, he also briefly touches upon other films he worked on and of course he has plenty to say about werewolves.
Rounding out the extras is a slip cover with alternate cover art and a eight page booklet with an essay about the film written by Chris Alexander. Overall Raro Video gives Werewolf Woman its strongest audio / video present to date.
Note: This film is also being released by Raro Video USA on DVD.