My impression is that Fury, especially in its American cut, wasn't one of Naschy's finest hours. Nor is Frankenstein's Bloody Terror, the American travesty of Naschy's first werewolf film, "the Mark of the Wolfman." Over time, however, as Wendigo read more about werewolf cinema, he grew intrigued about Naschy's work and the Daninsky character, a Larry Talbot-like tragic figure doomed to reappear time and again and re-enact the curse that turned him into a bloodthirsty beast. When my own interest in global genre cinema led me to buy the Anchor Bay DVD of Werewolf Shadow, Wendigo was finally able to see a Naschy film fairly close to how Jacinto Molina intended it. We looked at it again this weekend to continue our current theme of werewolves vs. vampires.
Last week we claimed that Lew Landers' Return of the Vampire was the first cinematic conflict between a vampire and a werewolf. It's fair to note, however, that the wolfman of the 1944 film ceases to be a werewolf once he rebels against his vampire master. Hollywood wouldn't see an actual werewolf-vs.-vampire fight until Universal Studio's 1948 masterpiece, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, though Larry Talbot's animosity toward Dracula was established in 1945's House of Dracula. The antipathy seems natural despite what folklore tells us about werewolves' frequent servitude to vampires. As a man, a werewolf is usually a cursed dude like Talbot and lacks the evil inclinations that might ally him to a vampire. As a werewolf, done right, he's just going to attack anything in his path, including a vampire.
Waldemar Daninsky had already encountered vampires in his first adventure, which Wendigo has seen but I haven't. Werewolf Shadow (aka La Noche del Walpurgis, The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman, etc.) was the next film in the Daninsky series after Fury, and it opens with Waldemar somewhat worse for wear from the previous movie. In fact, he's dead, or as dead as Daninsky can be. Some thoughtful individual had shot him with a silver bullet, which the coroners promptly remove from the corpse's heart as a full moon shines outside. These medical imbeciles are in for some richly deserved lethal bitch-slaps from the restored wolfman's claws. After dealing with them, The Werewolf (as Naschy is billed in the credits) is off to the woods for more murder, after which he cleans himself up and lands a book contract with a German university press.
Waldemar Daninsky: sophisticated scholar by day; somewhat less sophisticated on some nights.
Above, Gaby Fuchs resists the questionable attentions of Waldemar's crazy sister; below, she shows the more acceptable way to lay hands on an attractive female (Barbara Capell)
Genevive's blood brings Wandessa back to life, so it's only appopriate that the two women become friends.
There is no post office [in town] but I would like you to see our nice butcher shop. There's many other interesting things in our village, like our peaceful cemetery, where I go every Sunday. You know, people are afraid of those who live near the monastery....heh heh... They think I'm crazy. You don't think I'm crazy, do you? I get angry when people think I'm crazy. Well, I have a good reputation. I think all people should have a good reputation. Yes, I do.
Best yet for Elvira, there's a return trip with Pierre to chez Daninsky when Wandessa blocks the road with a fallen tree. From this point things fall further apart as Pierre goes all rape-crazy just as Waldemar has shackled himself in anticipation of a full-moon transformation. Did those shackles ever restrain the werewolf? They break away pretty easily as our hero charges into battle with a crazy-brave Pierre, who actually charges the beast twice over after getting his face clawed nearly to ribbons. There's nothing for the werewolf to do but drop him, bite his throat out, and spit it out. He has a hard time keeping fluid in his mouth, and is the most drooly wolfman I've ever seen.
While Wendigo's a werewolf fan, it's his job here to comment on the vampire. He's quite taken visually by Wandessa, from her black veil and occasionally oversized fangs to her slow motion movements. While the Spanish proclivity to supernatural slo-mo sometimes turns out ludicrous (see the Blind Dead films), Wendigo thinks it works visually with eerie women in flowing garments. His only problem with Wandessa is her apparent lack of personality. She barely speaks during the film until she taunts Elvira with the imminence of the sacrifice. I saw a weirdly childlike quality to both Wandessa and the vamped Genevive in the way they dance and romp about hand in hand. Wendigo acknowledges this but finds her more interesting as a villain than as a vampire. He likes Genevive better as a vampire because Barbara Capell, in his view, had more character buildup and was the most attractive woman in the picture. Gaby Fuchs as Elvira isn't bad, in his estimate, but Capell leaves her in the shade. That's probably inevitable; Elvira is the Mina to Genevive's Lucy, and in cinema the Lucys are usually hotter than the Minas.
TheFearChamber has uploaded an American trailer for "The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman" to YouTube.