Night of the Werewolf/Review

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

< Night of the Werewolf
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The film opens with a prologue of the execution of the infamous Countess Elisabeth Bathory (Julia Saly) Bathory isn't alone in being sentenced for this hearing, however. Joining her are a handful of co-conspirators who practiced Satanic witchcraft. Among the bunch is Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) who was under Bathory's spell by being cursed as a werewolf. Waldemar lets out a sigh of relief to know that that this torment is about to come to an end when he recieves his punishment by being de-faced by a "Mask of shame" (Bringing back memories of Black Sunday) and to have his "dark heart pierced with the holy cross". After this execution occurs, we're taken into contemporary times (1980, to be more exact) where a trio of female scientists agree to travel to the ruins where the remains of Bathory and Waldemar are buried. Uknown to two of the girls though is that their leader, Erika (Silvia Aguilar) has a thing for black magic and is convinced that she has the power to resurrect Elisabeth Bathory. Speaking of resurrection, just before the girls arrive at the site, two graverobbers discover Wald's body for some prize-collecting. But all it takes is the removal of the imbeded-cross to cause Wlad to wake up from his slumber--In full werewolf mode! The girls later arrive at the ruins and are saved from a rape attempt when Waldemar guns down the pair of rapists with his crossbow. Since the girls seem to quickly accept that they're conversating with a man from from another time (More like a few centuries) they shouldn't have doubts believing that he turns into a werewolf during the fullmoon and attacks nearby villagers. Meanwhile, that sneaky Erika is keeping true to form for causing double trouble when she succeeds in bringing the evil Bathory back to life.

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There's really not much to continue with as far as the plot goes since this is almost a remake of the previous film where not only Paul Naschy appeared as a werewolf with the same name, but he also had to battle a female vampire! (That film being Werewolf's Shadow) But to it's credit, some minor improvements were achieved for Night of the Werewolf. Such as the set design,special effects,and makeup. The latter appeared most impressive to me because I don't think I've seen Naschy look this good as the werewolf! Seriously, this is one of the best-looking "Wolf Man" makeup jobs I've ever seen in monster movies. Only the transformation sequences came up a bit short since dissolves were becoming dated by the 1980 standards. And even though the film takes place in the modern world, the fact that a majority of it takes place inside a castle really fools the viewer into thinking they're watching a classical gothic tale. It's just the wardrobe of the women that reminds you that you aren't watching a period film. Unfortunately, that's where the positives seem to end. What this movie lacked was what made Werewolf's Shadow the better film---Fun. Everything just seemed so dreary and too serious. Unlike the previous film which never ran out of providing cheap thrills. Another gripe I have is that this is another movie where the werewolf is protrayed as some sort of heroic victim. Here was a chance to make something original happen, but I guess Paul Naschy (Who wrote & directed this one) is just content on repeating the same formula as Wolfy. So as far as a techincal standpoint goes, this one is worth a look. But for complete, satisfying package for a monster-mash, you'll just have to look elsewhere.

Reviewed by Laydback

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