Review by Noah
= Highest Rating
medieval times, Count Daninsky defeated the leader of a powerful
coven of witches and sentenced the leader's wife, Elizabeth
Báthory, to be burned at the stake. But before the flames
consumed her, she cursed Daninsky's entire line. Hundreds
of years later Daninsky's descendent, Waldemar, shoots and
kills a wolverine only to find a young gypsy man, dead, in
its place. This angers the gypsies, who call on the power
of the devil and resolve to inflict Waldemar with the Curse
of the Werewolf. Waldemar is seduced by one of the many voluptuous
gypsy women (after she is shagged by Satan); she uses a werewolf
skull to mark him with the curse as he sleeps.
to transform and ravage the countryside, but most of his attacks
are attributed to an escaped maniac. Waldemar then runs into
the daughter of an engineer, who has just moved to the area.
They begin a torrid romance, which is at times set back by
her younger sister having the hots for Waldemar as well. Waldemar's
full moon attacks can only go unchecked for so long. Between
a rampaging werewolf, a self-sacrificing girlfriend, a psycho
killer and an angry mob, everything eventually comes to a
Also known as Return of the Walpurgis, this is considered
to be one of the better Paul Naschy pictures. I really hope
this isn't the case. While I saw a lot of things here and
there that I liked, the film, as a whole, is rather badly
acted and dreadfully boring when Naschy isn't ripping people's
throats out. I like the historical setup with Báthory, and
the period the story takes place in adds to the atmosphere.
Naschy (Werewolf Shadow),
as Daninsky, is a dreadful actor here —
a shame since he gives an indication he could do much better.
This is, at its heart, an exploitation film, and it relies
almost entirely on its werewolf attacks and sex scenes. These
scenes are handled very well and Naschy's werewolf is fun
to watch in action. While the direction by Charles Aured (Eliminators)
shows an admirable attempt to be artful, it sadly falls flat.
The cinematography of Francisco Sánchez (Night
of the Seagulls) seems intentionally washed out; colors
are muted in many scenes. Given the limited budget, however,
it has a nice look.
I think the reason this flick is so disappointing
is that one can easily see the potential for so much more
in it. I've always felt that of all the classical monsters,
the werewolf is the hardest to pull off in a film. While Nachy's
creature isn't as bad as most of its contemporaries, it needs
a better film to function in.
Bay presents Curse of
the Devil in its original
theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, anamorphically enhanced.
The transfer itself is excellent, which is to be expected from
Anchor Bay at this point. The print used is in surprisingly
good shape for a film made 29 years ago and on such a low budget.
The print does have some minor damage, but none of it is distracting.
While the picture is really washed out at times, as I said earlier,
this appears to be the intent of the cinematographer. The sound
on this DVD is presented in mono. The track is very clear with
no hiss whatsoever. The track is so clear in fact, that the
dubbed nature of the film, while being distracting on its own,
is even more so, since it sounds like the whole movie takes
place in a sound booth. (Still, this is to be preferred over
a muddy, hissing soundtrack.) The supplements here are light
in number but still very pleasing overall. First is a 15-minute
interview with the werewolf himself, Paul Naschy.
This interview is fascinating and Naschy
comes across as a very intelligent, competent, and respectful
actor who really knows his stuff. Every second of this interview
I found truly interesting and while my respect for the film
may be questionable, my admiration for Naschy is high after
watching this. He talks about his personal history, why he went
into film, the movies themselves, and even gives a tip of the
cap to the other great horror actors of film history. Also in
the extras department are a decent photo gallery, Naschy bio,
and a theatrical trailer for Curse of
the Devil. Overall, while
this may not be the best werewolf film I've seen, it's not the
worst. The DVD itself is very well done, and with the interview
thrown in, would definitely be worth it to the Spanish horror
film aficionado, Naschy fan, or overall curious and adventurous
The Anchor Bay disc reviewed here went OOP in 2007, but is generally
still available. In June 2008 BCI/Deimos released a new edition
as part of the company's Spanish Horror
Collection. It went OOP a little over a year later.