Thursday, August 22, 2013

Werewolf Wednesday

The poster in question

Our friend (horror novice) Heather was admiring our The Werewolf Vs. Vampire Woman poster (the American title of Werewolf Shadow) that hangs in our living room and said she wouldn't mind seeing it. I immediately jumped at the chance to make a big deal out of it and instituted Werewolf Wednesday, demonstrating my love for alliteration in the process. So every Wednesday that we can we watch a wolfy double feature. Last week it was The Howling and Silver Bullet for an episode of Hello! This Is The Doomed Show which will soon be hitting the internets. This week it's The Wolf Man and Werewolf Shadow.

1941's The Wolf Man is as good as any place to start I think. Universal had tried their hand at a werewolf film six years earlier with Werewolf Of London that was not enormously successful. Lead actor Henry Hull wasn't willing to sit in a makeup chair for hours on end even though Jack Pierce had worked out a wolfman makeup design that would be identical to the one used in The Wolf Man. The makeup used was much lighter and that probably helped people to think it was too similar to Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. For me the film is most memorable for the inclusion of actor Warner Oland who was at the time already playing Charlie Chan.

The thing that always strikes me about The Wolf Man is how compact the film is. We are in and out of there in an economical 70 minutes or so. Character introductions, curse, fight, resolution, bam! we are done. Oh and this:

The werewolf as astronomer
 And this:

This guy was Dracula

Oh yeah! Bela Lugosi is in this! Claude Rains and Ralph Bellamy too. What a cast. This affords me an opportunity to explain to Heather the difference between a wolfman and a werewolf. A wolfman is a werewolf but a werewolf is not necessarily a wolfman. Glad I cleared that up. 

Wolfman and Werewolf

Lon Chaney Jr. would go on to play The Wolfman in all of the characters appearances of the 1940's. I've always liked him and the fact that he couldn't play a wolfman in Frankenstein's Bloody Terror directly led to the career of Paul Naschy. Lon is very good in this, charming and friendly at the beginning and full of wide eyed terror later on.

1971's Werewolf Shadow is easily one of my top twenty favorite horror films. About five years ago or so I discovered the mighty Paul Naschy when I bought a Horror Rises From The Tomb/The Loreley's Grasp dvd set. We watched it, liked it, and promptly forgot about it. Later on we received The Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Woman from Netflix and while we found it entertaining it too was quickly forgotten. Then a third time (I don't remember exactly what we watched) everything clicked together.

The Man himself
For Valentine's Day one year Elizabeth bought me Deimos' absolutely fantastic dvd release of Werewolf Shadow (it was soon to go out of print, Deimos was very sadly soon to go out of business.) What a difference a cleaned up, widescreen print makes!

Maybe the most attractive woman in all of 70's Eurohorror
Barbara Capell 
From starting off the film with picking up Waldemar's story to the two young ladies doing Countess Nadasdy research to the Countess herself, I love this film. My only complaint is that I would have switched the lead actresses. Barbara Capell is one of my favorite actresses of 70's Eurohorror and that is saying a lot seeing that this is her only horror film role so far as I can tell. Between her as Genevieve and the lovely Patty Sheppard as the vampire countess I'm left cold by Gaby Fuchs as Elvira, Naschy's main squeeze of the film. She is a bit too Olive Oyl-y for my tastes. Other than that minor complaint I think the film is amazing.

Don't go Genevieve!
 Curses, ancient crypts, madwomen, zombie monks, werewolves, Pierre, vampires and Satan himself make appearances in what was Naschy's breakthrough film. Leon Klimovsky did a fantastic job as director (the first of many film collaborations with Naschy) right down to the slow motion vampire scenes (slow motion also appeared the same year in Amando de Ossorio's also classic Tombs Of The Blind Dead. de Ossorio fans and Naschy fans can now argue over who came up with the idea first. I think they both did.) to the werewolf and vampire battle at the end, (a rare moment of truth in advertising) it is Eurohorror at it's finest.

El Hombre Lobo
I recommend that you see this asap if you haven't. Then immediately listen to Naschycast's brilliant show on Werewolf Shadow. They do a very detailed rundown of the film that is highly informative and entertaining. You can find Naschycast on itunes. Werewolf Shadow is episode #10. 

But Brad, what did Heather think? She enjoyed both films. She commented on the (non ridiculous) music in Werewolf Shadow and enjoyed the slow motion bits of it. Not only was it her first Paul Naschy film it was also her first Eurohorror film. I think it was also a good place to start. We have been bombarding her with horror films so I think The Wolf Man was a nice change of pace. She did comment on the wolf transformations saying that they were different than The Howling which she enjoyed. Special effects came a long way from 1941 to 1971 to 1981. I also had her download the Naschycast episode. It's surely the best bit of homework that anyone has ever received!

Yes today is Thursday. But we watch on Wednesday night and Werewolf Thursday doesn't sound as good to me. Besides, when would we do Thrilling Thursday?

More screenshots! Visual spoilers for the uninitiated!

This didn't happen

This did

Ok I took way too many screenshots. Presented for your enjoyment:


  1. OMG, is your Werewolf vs. The Vampire Woman poster an original or a reproduction? I would wolf out on a eBay seller for an original.

    Currently hanging on my walls: original one-sheets for Full Circle (The Haunting of Julia) and My Bloody Valentine. (Others in my collection worth noting: Orgasmo, Norman J. Warren's Terror, Night of the Howling Beast, The Dead Are Alive).

  2. Sadly it is not an original. Elizabeth bought it for me from Amazon I believe. That is a fantastic collection you have! I see 3 are films we have covered on the show. So I totally compliment your taste! The posters I have on the walls are Pieces and The Beyond that Richard gave me, an Italian Texas Chainsaw Massacre poster that Richard sent me for my birthday, a Deep Red poster Elizabeth bought me, the Halloween Film Review poster, the Scream Factory The Fog poster and two House Of The Devil posters. One of them is a numbered limited edition poster. I had it framed professionally. It is probably the centerpiece of my small collection although the Halloween Film Review poster and the Italian TCM are way up there. I'd kill for a Terror or Full Circle poster. A few weeks ago we watched The Haunting Of Julia on Netflix and it was a huge improvement on the VHS rip that I have seen 2 or 3 times. I am amazed that Howling Beast and The Dead Are Alive are in your collection. You should do some blogging on your posters, I'm planning to. I have a lot of ideas and some of them I don't think will be rip offs of other blogs! Thank you sir for commenting.

  3. Every time I see Ralph Bellamy as a young man, I get down on my knees and pray.....

  4. "Maybe the most attractive woman in all of 70's Eurohorror
    Barbara Capell"

    Bold statement, but I don't know if I'd argue that. Has she been in anything else that's readily available?

  5. Not that I know of sir. It appears to be a bunch of German stuff. And maybe that is part of her allure? Lack of appearances?