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La Noche de Walpurgis

The Werewolf's Shadow
The Werewolf versus Vampire Women / The Werewolf versus Vampire Woman / Werewolf Shadow / Blood Moon / Shadow of the Werewolf / Nacht der Vampire

Spain/West Germany 1971
produced by
Salvatore Romero for Plata Films, Hi-Fi Stereo 70
directed by Leon Klimovsky
starring Paul Naschy, Gaby Fuchs, Barbara Capell, Patty Shepard, Andrés Resino, Yelena Samarina, Julio Pena, José Marco, Betsabé Ruiz, Bernabe Barta Barri, Luis Gaspar, Ruperto Ares, María Luisa Tovar
written by Jacinto Molina (= Paul Naschy), Hans Munkel, music by Antón García Abril

El Hombre Lobo

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Students Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) & Genevieve (Barbara Capell) travel through the rural South of France to research the legend of vampiric Countess Wandessa (Patty Shepard). Amidst some ruins they are investigating they meet Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy), a charming man who has some issues - he is unbeknowest to them a werewolf -, & his slightly homicidal sister Elisabeth  (Yelena Samarina) - who is not a werewolf but is killed off pretty early in the film.

Daninsky does not only offer them to stay at his place, but he also helps them find the grave of Wandessa, & open it up ... & as it happens in such films, Genevieve cuts herself while doing so, the blood falls on the Countess'  skeleton, & - well, you can figure the rest ...

The night after Wandessa's unearthing, she appears to Genevieve ... & drags her off into her shadow world. Daninsky urges Elvira to leave, but she has now 2 reasons to stay, to find Genevieve ... & of course she has fallen in love with Daninsky as well.

The next night, Daninsky wants to fight Wandessa, but he is rendeered pretty much useless when the full moon turns him into a wolf & he kills some locals instead. Wandessa & Laura have meanwhile gotten themselves a taste of Elvira's blood, & she is soon on the verge of becoming a vampire, but gets instantly better when Daninsky stakes Genevieve.

The next night, Daninsky urges Elvira to chain him up so he cannot harm her, but when she, without protection, is attacked & almost raped by Daninsky's deranged handyman Pierre (José Marco), Daninsky - in his lupine form - breaks his chains & kills Pierre ...

Meanwhile, Elvira's ex-boyfriend, inspector Marcell (Andrés Resino) has caught up with her & tries to force Daninsky to let her go (even if she stays of her own free will). Since this night is Walpurgis night (the night of the devil), Daninsky agrees to let her go, knowing that this night he hasx to face Wandessa in a final showdown. But of course, when trying to leave, Elvira & Marcell are captured by Wandessa, who wants to use them in this night's devil's sacrifice.

LAter, in Wandessa's dungeon, when she prepares to sacrifice Elvira & Marcell, Daninsky interferes. But it seems that he can do very little against a full-fledged vampire & the approaching devil ... well, at least as a man, but then he turns into a wrewolf, & as werewolf, he can finally wrestle down & kill Wandessa.

But ultimately, to save her own life, Elvira has to kill him with a silver cross he has brought - & maybe fulfill his greatest wish ...

 


Because this film dared more than could previously been shown on Spanish moviescreens, El Noche de Walpurgis is considered as a seminal Spanish horrorfilm. The film as a whole is a piece of very likeable Eurotrash: a silly incoherent story, mostly wooden actors, & a direction that alters between being obviously too hurried & surprisingly atmospheric all add up to a fun piece of horror cinema that should by no means be taken too seriously.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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the new anthology by
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written by
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