The werewolf films of Paul Naschy

Don’t know what possessed me, but I suddenly decided I needed to have every movie by Spanish actor/writer/director/horror hunk Paul Naschy in my movie collection. Considering I only had about four of them, that meant a whole lot more to track down. I succeeded in collecting most of them, and this post is going to cover just his long running series of films in which he plays a wolf man named Waldemar Daninsky. I’ll cover the rest of his films in a separate post (or two). For now, let’s get hairy as Paul whips out his werewolf for us again and again.

FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR (1968)

Of the numerous titles this film has been slapped with, somehow this is the one that seems to have stuck. Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror features two werewolves, including the first appearance of Paul’s werewolf character. It has a vampire couple. What it doesn’t have is Frankenstein or his monster. But it does have Paul’s pit, so who cares about Frankenstein.

After a high society party, a young couple sneaks into an infamous castle where they encounter Paul Naschy, who tells them a legend of a werewolf curse.

Gypsies end up at the castle next, and in their effort to grave rob, they unleash a werewolf.

Before long, Paul is bit by the werewolf, and the young couple offers to keep him locked up while they search for a way to cure him of the curse. They call in two doctors to help, and it is soooo obvious from the moment these two appear that they are vampires, but the couple doesn’t seem to see it. They must be blind, because I could see it from a mile away, even through the fog.

Let the horror silliness commence as two vampires, two werewolves, and a mortal couple all end up in one castle together.

Note that before this next film, Paul apparently made another werewolf film that was lost and never seen.

ASSIGNMENT TERROR (1970)

I can’t even fathom what they were thinking with this film, which is like Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein meets the Rankin/Bass classic Mad Monster Party, and I’m shocked Naschy even continued having a career in horror after making this movie.

What I’m saying is, this asinine flick rules.

Overlooking the horrible late 60s/early 70s muzak score that hits us right from the start–which does, admittedly, fit the goofy tone of this film–this is about…wait for it…aliens that want to take over the earth, sooooooo, they pose as scientists and begin unearthing all the classic movie monsters with plans of unleashing them on humans.

Instead, this turns mostly into a classic monsters circus in the aliens’ lab.

They resurrect Dracula, the werewolf, the mummy, and even Frankenstein. Naschy’s werewolf is the sympathetic monster, and a few characters, including a beautiful woman, team up with him to try to help him escape. For a change, Frankenstein is the one who’s a real dick.

THE WEREWOLF VERSUS THE VAMPIRE WOMAN
(aka: Werewolf Shadow) (1971)

Watching this film, I was thinking Naschy basically made the same exact movie again in 1981 with Night of the Werewolf (which I’ve blogged about here already). Turns out Naschy does consider that film a remake of this one, the only major difference being that the vampire woman in that film is Elizabeth Bathory.

This one begins with Naschy in the morgue with two silver bullets in his heart…until the coroner makes the huge mistake of taking them out, which brings the werewolf back to life. Not exactly fair, is it? What is the point of shooting a werewolf in the heart with not one but two silver bullets only to have reversing the kill being as simple as removing them?

Meanwhile, three girls go to find the tomb of a female vampire from the past. They meet Paul and stay with him. They find the tomb and make a huge mistake….

While I really like the Bathory as a vampire angle in the 81 flick, despite the female vamp here being a fictional character, the vampire action has a much creepier vibe thanks to classic scenes of slow motion vampire beauties as the resurrected vampire woman begins turning each of the main girls.

This Bathory/werewolf battle takes itself much more seriously than their battle in the 81 film. In other words, the 1981 Bathory battle blows this one away.

FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (1972)

The plots of these werewolf movies are quite repetitive, but it’s always fun watching Paul run around all hairy and pouncing on people.

Not to mention watching Paul shirtless.

In this one he is a professor who comes home to his wife after having been bitten in Tibet. He discovers she has been having an affair, and decides to seek vicious revenge.

Then he gets abducted by a mad scientist woman from his job (don’t we all have one at our place of employment?). She keeps him chained up, whips him, and gets sexual with him (okay, that last one was redundant).

As always, Paul makes some friends who try to help him escape…but not before he goes on a mad killing spree. Yay!

DR. JEKYLL VS. THE WEREWOLF (1972)

Good news right off the bat–no horrible 70s muzak. The score here is eerie and sets a horror tone from the start.

It’s the plot that is the usual Naschy werewolf crossover weirdness. Not saying that’s a bad thing because it actually brings something unique to the series. Dr. Jekyll and his woman make a pit stop while on the road, he gets jumped by some thieves, she almost gets raped by them, and Naschy shows up in the nick of time to save her.

The townsfolk want to kill Naschy because he’s a werewolf, Naschy asks Jekyll to help cure him, Jekyll injects him with the Hyde juice…and Naschy becomes a werewolf/Hyde hybrid! WTF?

As always, the characters end up in an underground lab, there’s a psycho female scientist, and there’s a woman chained up and tortured. But the best part of this installment is when the werewolf gets hairy at a dance club.

CURSE OF THE DEVIL (1973)

There is absolutely no continuity in the plot line of Naschy’s werewolf movies, so Elizabeth Bathory, who is a vampire in Night of the Werewolf (1981), is a witch in this one.

After her husband is killed during a sword fight between knights, she uses an occult ritual to get revenge, is then burned at the stake, and…vows revenge.

Flash forward in time, Paul is hunting a wolverine on his property, accidentally shoots a gypsy, and is then cursed by a bunch of gypsy witches as…revenge.

Cursed to be a werewolf, would you believe Paul then turns around to go hunting down gypsies as revenge?

He runs around killing people, and eventually the townsfolk hunt him down.

THE WEREWOLF AND THE YETI (Night of the Howling Beast) (1975)

Sure, Night of the Howling Beast has a much more ominous ring to it, but The Werewolf and the Yeti calls it as it is–the Wolf Man vs. the Abominable Snowman!

Sasquatch and Yeti sightings were all the rage in the 1970s, so Naschy used the popularity to his advantage by incorporating it into a story involving his wolf man.

After an opening Yeti attack scene, Paul joins a Yeti hunting expedition in the mountains but is eventually separated from the rest of the group. He takes shelter in a cave, where he happens upon two women…who are some sort of horny, supernatural creatures of the night. After having sex with them, Naschy takes a tour of their lair, sees them feasting on human flesh, fights them, gets bit by one of them, and turns into the werewolf!

Meanwhile, the rest of his group gets abducted and brutally tortured by a bunch of mountain pirates. Then a witch comes on the scene because she needs their living flesh for healing purposes.

This movie is pretty insane and there sure is a lot going on…and yet the werewolf doesn’t battle the Yeti until the final few minutes in a disappointingly dark lit scene.

NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF (1981)

I already covered this installment here.

THE BEAST AND THE MAGIC SWORD (1983)

Naschy’s werewolf goes epic, traveling all the way to Japan…for nearly two hours!

Seems like every movie tries to offer an origins story for the werewolf curse, and the story is always different. This time an emperor has Naschy, playing a fierce warrior, defeat his enemy in return for his daughter’s hand in marriage. The new bride gets pregnant and a witch comes along and curses her baby in the womb.

The baby grows up to be…Naschy, and he heads to Japan, where a man named Kian is believed to hold the key to ridding him of his werewolf curse.

Early on there are some fun werewolf attacks, and then Kian really clarifies things for us as he researches the werewolf curse. To be cured, the werewolf needs to be killed by a woman who loves him. If he is killed by hate, he can be resurrected, but he comes back worse.

Wouldn’t you know a hateful sorceress shows up to kill Naschy. A majority of this film is very slow (it didn’t need to be two hours long), but once she arrives it gets pretty zany. She makes the werewolf fight a tiger. She whips the werewolf. She has a battle with the werewolf.

Meanwhile, Kial basically steps into a video game boss battle, getting into a martial arts fight with tons of enemies before being forced to battle the werewolf he was trying to help.

Silly and fun, but again, it didn’t need to be two hours long.

HOWL OF THE DEVIL (1988)

Another film in the series I’ve already covered in this post.

LYCANTROPUS: THE MOONLIGHT MURDERS (1997)

This was Paul’s return to his werewolf series after a long hiatus, and it seems to get dumped on a lot for being a TV movie that cut out all the gore and nudity he wrote into his script.

To be honest, I had a lot of fun with it. It still manages to capture a classic Naschy horror feel, even if it doesn’t quite deliver enough Naschy wolfman.

After an opening in 1944 where we learn a pregnant gypsy woman is cursed because she’s been banging a Nazi soldier, we meet Naschy in the present day. He’s a writer with chest pains, nightmares, and an eye for his pretty young psychiatrist.

There are also murders occurring all around town.

Detectives are on the case, and the rookie is convinced it’s a wild animal. The local reverend is a miserable man who hates…everyone and everything. His son is a psych major who loves horror, loves crime, and has the hots for Naschy’s daughter.

There are a couple of fun werewolf attacks—the first delivers a good jump scare and a throat slice, and the second, 43 minutes into the film, shows full Monty Naschy wolfman. In between, there is detective work, Naschy being visited by gypsy ghosts, and his psychiatrist researching werewolves.

The final battle gives us just what we want—a Naschy transformation in blue light with green eyes and dark shadows, and the douche bag reverend getting what he deserves.

TOMB OF THE WEREWOLF (2004)

If you are familiar with director Fred Olen Ray and scream queen Michelle Bauer, the tone and style of this final film featuring Paul Naschy as the werewolf shouldn’t surprise you at all.

Apparently many Naschy fans are not familiar with either of the other two horror icons, because there is a lot of hate for this one online. Personally, it made me nostalgic for the direct-to-DVD years of the early 2000s, with lots of pretty people getting naked in between being torn apart by a monster. In this case, Paul’s werewolf, obviously. It kind of felt to me like a classic Paul werewolf film meets a late 90s Full Moon film.

Michelle Bauer plays yet another take on Elizabeth Bathory. She immediately feels up a half naked woman in the opening scene before summoning a handsome Devil. Seriously, she summons the Devil, and he’s handsome. He is the one who informs her that she must sacrifice young women and bathe in their blood to stay young…

In the modern day, a young producer and his crew are hired to film a guy looking for a special treasure supposedly hidden in a castle he inherited. What a perfect way to gather pretty people together to have sex.

Flashbacks in various forms give us another werewolf backstory, which is the part that feels very old skool Naschy. Finally, the werewolf is brought to life in the castle in the modern day thanks to Bathory, who happens to be posing as the maid. And so begins a fun and silly gorefest as the hairy beast that Naschy kept alive for five decades goes on one last killing spree.

About Daniel

I am the author of the horror anthologies CLOSET MONSTERS: ZOMBIED OUT AND TALES OF GOTHROTICA and HORNY DEVILS, and the horror novels COMBUSTION and NO PLACE FOR LITTLE ONES. I am also the founder of BOYS, BEARS & SCARES, a facebook page for gay male horror fans! Check it out and like it at www.facebook.com/BoysBearsandScares.
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