We seem to be moving far from Jekyll territory immediately as Imre, an Anglo-Hungarian gentleman, and his new bride Justine take their honeymoon in the old country so Imre can commune with his dead ancestors. A well-off tourist, Imre is an instant target for the local riffraff, and he will go exploring in odd places despite warnings of a monster in a nearby castle. Why worry about monsters, though, when the countryside has plenty of mundane carjackers and rapists to offer? In short order Imre is stabbed to death and Justine is prepped for gang rape. All the while, however, a monster has been watching, but now Waldemar Daninsky has seen enough.
Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy, below) works himself up to the proper state of outrage before intervening to break up a gang rape.
With his friends dead and a widow wanting to go home to England, there's nothing to keep Waldemar in Transylvania anymore. Indeed, Justine just happens to have a friend who might be able to help the poor Pole with that curse thing. The friend is Dr. Henry Jekyll, grandson of the famous fictional physician and inheritor of his research into the isolation and concentration of evil in human form. He's been busy refining granddad's formula, and he has an idea that could help Daninsky. It goes like this: Jekyll will inject Waldemar with granddad's formula just before the next full moon. Daninsky's transformation into Mr. Hyde will counteract the effect of the curse, Hyde's concentrated evil will being stronger than the werewolf's. Once the crisis is past, Jekyll will hit Hyde with the newly improved antidote, restoring a civil Daninsky and curing the curse. Despite a setback when Waldemar is trapped in an elevator at the rise of a full moon, slaughters a nurse, and rages into the night, everyone resolves to carry on with the experiment.
"Why do things happen?" Waldemar waxes philosophic just before tearing a nurse's throat out with his teeth. Below, the werewolf steps out.
Above, "Waldemar's Hyde!" The scientists mean to say that Waldemar is now Mr. Hyde, but he does show plenty of hide in this shot. Below, I saw Waldemar Daninsky in the streets of London, but the hair he wore was funny, through no fault of his own.
And here we come up against the limitations of the Mill Creek edition of the movie. In that, the reign of terror of Hyde Redux consists of 1) pushing a drunk into the Thames, 2)impaling Sandra on a torture device in a fit of temper and 3)flirting with girls in a bargain-basement discotheque in the dregs of Swinging London. It's a short reign; the Hyde formula is in limited supply, and in time an embarrassed Waldemar finds himself among the go-go dancers just as the full moon cues a nifty stroboscopic transformation scene. That sets up the inevitable showdown as the werewolf targets Justine, who may have learned to love Waldemar enough to kill him....
Above, a Polish werewolf in London. Below, a continuity error: this shot of Shirley Corrigan as Justine comes from much earlier in the picture, but I thought it looked best here.
I'm reluctant to judge Klimovsky's film on such limited evidence, but I do feel that it retains the odd charm of Naschy's work. My only real complaint is the absence of a worthy antagonist for the werewolf to fight, it being impossible, after all, for Hyde and the Werewolf to fight. A good dream sequence could have taken care of that, however. Anyway, count me among those already won over by Paul Naschy's curious charisma and his commitment to the monster movie tradition. Even in its vivisected form, Dr. Jekyll and the Werewolf didn't damage my regard for the man and his work.
There's more where this came from all over the Internet this week. Look for this sign for a wide variety of Naschiana from fans and critics throughout the blogosphere.