The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman (1971)

If nothing else the title is both descriptive and entirely accurate: a man afflicted by lycanthropy needs a certain religious artifact to end his existence, but said artifact is currently holding down a centuries-old vampire. No prizes for guessing the hijinks that ensue… This wasn’t the first of Paul Naschy’s Waldemar Daninsky movies, though apparently it was the most popular one out of that remarkably enduring series, but it was the first one I’ve seen… got a loan of it from a friend who advised me she’d got it for $2, so needless to say it wasn’t the apparently quite nice Anchor Bay edition we were dealing with; this was more like someone had taken a ho-hum 16mm print and transferred it to VHS at the dawn of that technology, which was then ripped by someone else to a computer file featuring weird compression and other artifacts (if this had been a 1970s Doctor Who episode you’d swear some of them were bad CSO; I don’t know how you explain them on film), and somehow this mess became a DVD master. Let’s not even talk about the sound…

This is a damn shame, cos buried somewhere beneath this technical fiasco is an actually interesting idea; wonder if Len Wiseman took any cues for Underworld from the werewolf/vampire thing going on here? And I just like the casualness of the whole thing, for want of a better word; Elvira goes into an old church (or something) and gets set upon by what looks like a leftover from Tombs of the Blind Dead (speaking of which, cf. the use of slow motion in the two films). It has nothing to do with the rest of the film, it’s just there. Marvellous. I gather most of Naschy’s films were made on budgets that Hammer would’ve found unfeasible and so the execution perhaps didn’t live up to the vision; that said, as murky as this was it’s given me an interest in checking out more of his oeuvre (not to mention finding a much better copy of this one).


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