Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Night of the Werewolf (1981)

What is it with Paul Naschy, cars stopping on a forest road and someone trying to rob the passengers? It's probably only my imagination, but it seems like that happen in at least fifty percent of all Naschy-movies I've seen! And yes, that also happens in Night of the Werewolf - directed, written and starring Naschy himself.

Countess Elisabeth Bathory (a brilliant Julia Saly) is standing in front of the judge. She's being sentence to life in prison, her friends and co-workers, among them Waldemar Daninsky, is executed. Many many years later a woman decides to wake them all up from the dead with black magic! Together with a couple of friends, she's going up the mountains to visit the old castle ruins where everyone is buried.

Daninsky is already awake actually, saves the girls from some evil robbers, and then invites them to his castle. But what he don't know is that Elisabeth Bathory is getting stronger and stronger, and after a human sacrifice and some nice black magic she's resurrected and plans to once again make Daninsky her slave...

First of all, Paul Naschy is magnificent. He has a screen presence like few other actors in his field. The script, written by the man himself, is good - but very similar to Naschy's other movies. Nothing original, but there's a lot of atmosphere and the Bathory-character is always cool to use in a horror movie. But have you seen one Naschy-movie you've seen this one too.

The first hour is a bit to generic. People walk around, Naschy looking macho, some nudity, Naschy transforms into a werewolf and not much blood. But then, when it's around 30-40 minutes left something happens. Bathory finally wakes upp and starts to attack the castle with her female vampire-friends, there's a nice zombie and even some blood! It also looks gorgeous, with wonderful sets and atmospheric lightning. There's some truly stunning images during this grand finale.

What I love about Naschy's Daninsky-character is that the werewolf-make up is sooooo cool. It's old-fashioned, but very effective. And when he growls in the darkness, with blood-drenched teeth... it's quite creepy and disturbing. He also has the physics to play a brutal werewolf, which of course helps.

Of course I own the blu-ray and Night of the Werewolf looks fantastic. Like many eurocult-movies the visuals and sound are rough, but this still can't take away the powerful bloodthirsty rage of Daninsky!

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