dir. Leon Klimovsky
Starring Paul Naschy, Barbara Capell and Paty Shepard
A few years ago I finally decided to track down films by Jean Rollin to find out what all of the fuss was about. In that quest I decided that his films were without any doubt ones that would be either loved or hated by the viewer, and more than likely would never go over with the casual film viewer. If you were a fan of Armageddon, I would suggest you avoid Rollin.
In the past few months I decided to start checking out another "cult" figure in the Horror world, that of Spanish sensation Paul Naschy! The films of Naschy almost always seemed too good to me to be true. Most of them were filled with Werewolves and Vampires and seemed to be a throwback to the old style of Horror films. Why had I never tried harder to find these things? Well, lucky for me (and many of you), the advent of DVD is once again bringing rare Horror to your nearest film shop!
Anchor Bay Entertainment so far has released two Naschy films, Werewolf Shadow and Curse Of The Devil. Both films offer up Widescreen images, clean images, poster galleries, and a Paul Naschy interview that is repeated on both discs. Keeping with the tradition of AB and giving you the same extras on both discs, here you get the same first three paragraphs for both film reviews also! Now onto the film talk, then we will conclude with the same talk of extras! Sound like fun? Nah, maybe it is just pure laziness on the part of the reviewer.
Werewolf Shadow, also released on DVD by hack-meisters Madacy Entertainment under the old US title The Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Woman, is quite the confusing tale. Though the AB version makes more sense than the Madacy version, plus it has all the nudity edited out of that version (plus it has great picture quality, sound, widescreen…you get the idea), but it is still a little confusing and has some pretty large plot holes.
The AB version starts with a prologue of two men going to do an autopsy on the body of our hero Waldemar Daninsky. Upon doing so they find the mark of the werewolf! The doctors do not believe the rumors that this man is indeed a werewolf. So, wisely, they decide to remove the silver bullets lodged in the man. Well, no stuffed animal prize for guessing what happens!
Werewolf action seems to be in full swing as after the expected results from the aforementioned bullet removal, we get a lady walking down a wooded road by herself. Guess who also happens to be wandering along this road? Actually, I should say, hiding behind the trees that are making this a wooded road. Yes, blood and gratuitous boob shot follows.
Next thing you know, you are in the middle of a nightclub/bar meeting two women who are on the hunt of a local vampire queen!
Yes, our ladies eventually start to get on the trail of what they are looking for, but also find our man Daninsky! Soon, we are treated to vampire and werewolf action galore!
Werewolf Shadow is a strange film indeed. The atmosphere is thick, but it flows between confusing to exciting, yet always retains a degree of solid confusion! Don't get me wrong, I love this movie! But this is a wacky film none-the-less!
When our ladies meet Daninsky, our brunette (Genovieve) seems happy to be there, while our blonde (Elvira) is not too trusting of Daninsky. Before you know it though, Elvira is in love with Daninsky, and Genovieve doesn't trust him! But soon enough it doesn't matter what Genovieve thinks of the old wolf!
The film plays as a strange hybrid of Universal with Hammer. The monster action is nicely done, with a pretty good vampire/werewolf battle in the end and a nice way to close the movie up. The blood flows pretty freely, as do the exotic and erotic sides of the female cast members. The film even has an odd little area with Daninsky's sister who attempts to "rape" Elvira. Elvira finds herself being groped by some strange lady, passes out, and then awakes to Daninsky apologizing, to which she says everything is "fine"! Then a little later, for no reason, we get a single zombie attack! Plus a strange guy who works for Daninsky or something, who also attacks Elvira!
As you can see, the film moves all over the place, but rarely does it ever come close to being boring. If Jean Rollin makes films that sound fun and exciting to you, but you ultimately find them slow and boring, you might want to give this film a try.
The image on this disc is amazing in comparison to the Madacy release! Strong colors, and a wonderful widescreen transfer that cuts nothing out make this a wonderful disc for fans of Naschy! This is what they have been waiting for.
Sound is also a very pleasant treat, clear and vibrant with the dubbing never really looking too bad. Yes, you can tell it is a dub, but the voices match fairly well and they actually appear to make an attempt to synch up. This is the same track as on the Madacy disc, so it would appear to be the normal track. This disc also uses the same methods as Deep Red used. To make the most complete film out there, AB used footage that never had an English track dubbed for it, therefore when these scenes appear, you are given subtitles. If you found that feature disruptive during Deep Red, consider yourselves warned.
The poster gallery is a fine addition to the disc, and it gives you plenty of fine posters to stare at for a bit of time.
Interview With The Werewolf - A Conversation With Paul Naschy is a documentary with Naschy in which for 15-20 minutes he talks of his career. The only film clips in the docu. come from Werewolf Shadow and Curse Of The Devil, which makes one sad to realize that the only films on AB's plate for the time being are these two films. This is a fairly interesting documentary, though at one point when Naschy puts himself in league with Karloff, Lugosi, Lee, Price and Cushing, you have to wonder if he realizes how difficult it is to get his films and how few people realize who he is.
Both Werewolf Shadow and Curse Of The Devil are fun films with a little of everything to make most monster fans happy. If I were to recommend one over the other, I would have to give the nod to Curse Of The Devil, it just flows better.
Review by Carl Isonhart
|Released by Anchor Bay|
|Region 1 - NTSC|
|Audio - English|
|Interview With The Werewolf documentary, Theatrical Trailer, T.V. Spot, Paul Naschy poster gallery, Paul Naschy bio|