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La Bestia y la Espada Mágica

The Beast and the Magic Sword
Ohkami-otoko to Samurai / La Bestia y los Samurais / The Werewolf and the Magic Sword

Spain/Japan 1983
produced by
Julia Saly, Masurao Takeda (executive) for Acónito Films, Amachi Films
directed by Jacinto Molina (= Paul Naschy)
starring Paul Naschy, Shigeru Amachi, Beatriz Escudero, Junko Asahina, Violeta Cela, Yoko Fuji, Conrado San Martín, Gérard Tichy, José Vivó, Yoshiro Kitamachi, Sara Mora, Helena Garret, Jiro Miyaguchi, Charly Bravo, Antonio Durán, Seijun Okabe, José Luis Chinchilla, Irene Daina, Mitsuaki Hori, Soburo Sauri, Takenori Yamase, Makiko Kitashiro, Sergio Molina
written by Jacinto Molina (= Paul Naschy)

El Hombre Lobo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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The 16th century: Since his ancestor was cursed in the middle ages, all sons of the Daninsky family were doomed to become werewolves every full moon. It's only now that Waldemar (Paul Naschy), last of the Daninskys, has decided to do something against it - so he is seeking advice from a Jewish wise man (Conrado San Martín), but that man is killed by religious fanatics before he can save Waldemar - but tells him to go to Japan and seek out a man called Kian (Shigeru Amachi) with his dying breath.

Waldemar goes to Japan with his wife Kinga (Beatriz Escuderu) and the Jew's blind daughter Esther (Violeta Cela) - but Japan is big (duh), and Kian isn't easy to find - so much against his will, Waldemar goes on slaughtering people every full moon. Interestingly, it's Kian who is hired to investigate Waldemar's killings, but when he suggests they were committed by a werewolf, he is only ridiculed. And yet he follows his leads and eventually hooks up with Waldemar. Hearing his story, he decides to help Waldemar and mixes a potion that should cure him ... but fails.

Kinga has learned about Satomi (Junko Asahina), a witch who lives deep in the forest and who might be able to cure Waldemar, but once Waldemar, Kinga and Esther arrive at Satomi's place, they are taken prisoner. Turns out the witch wants to use Waldemar for her own evil ends, and she has a magic silver blade, the only thing that can actually injure him, to keep him in check. Somehow, Waldemar, inhis werewolf-state, manages to overpower and kill Satomi and escape her lair, but both Kinga and Esther die in the process.

Waldemar remorsefully returns to Kian's place and soon falls in love with his sister Akane (Yoko Fuji). Kian meanwhile has come to the conclusion that there is no cure for Waldemar, so he sets out to retrieve the magic blade Satomi has used to keep Waldemar in check.

In the final duel between werewolf Waldemar and Kian, Kian almost loses the fight and his wife, subsequently, which is when Akane arrives to stab Waldemar with the magic blade - after all, it needed a woman to love him to kill him, right?

And now, the Daninsky family curse is lifted once and for all - unless of course Waldemar has impregnated Akane ...

 

A Spanish werewolf versus Japanese samurai?

Now this sounds great at least in writing. Unfortunately on screen, the concept comes across as way less trashy and less (unintentionally) funny as one would expect. Sure, the film has its moments of high camp, but also its quiet stretches of contemplation, and it's rather slickly directed for a film of its ilk.

That's not to say though La Bestia y la Espada Magica is a total failure, it's actually pretty well-done narratively (compared to earlier Hombre Lobo films at least), and there is enough gore and bits of female topless nudity, plus a few well-done swordfights to keep one entertained ... it's just not the party film it's title suggests it to be.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD