Movie Reviews 378 – The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971)

While not a household name, Spaniard Paul Naschy was legendary in the horror movie biz, concentrating his efforts to revitalizing the classic horrors. He will forever be best known for his take on the Werewolf trope, making no less than a dozen films portraying the benevolent werewolf Count Waldemar Daninsky. The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (original title: La Noche de Walpurgis) is one of, if not the best in that series.

As implied by the title, the story is one in which Wademar is pitted against a vampire, in this case the equally noble but decidedly evil Countess Wandesa Dárvula de Nadasdy (Patty Shepard). The story begins when researcher Elvira (Gaby Fuchs) and her assistant Genevieve (Barbara Capell) take a trip to Turkey in search of the tomb of the countess. When they arrive at a small town believed to be area in which the tomb can be found they encounter Waldemar who believes he knows where to find. Unknown to the girls is the fact that the remains of the countess is also rumored to have a cross-handled dagger which happens to of great interest to Waldemar. When the trio find the tomb and open it revealing the countess’ body an accidental drop of blood is enough to revitalize the vampire releasing her from her grave prison. But the Countess must rebuild her army of slave vampires and Genevieve is her first victim. As Waldemar falls for Elvira he must sacrifice not only his newfound love, but his one chance to end his own torment in order to save everyone.

Comparable to Hammer Gothic horrors of the era with sexy women, isolated villages, and the classic monsters, this film is set in a contemporary, modern setting while retaining the doom and gloom of its British predecessors. Naschy delivers a poignant, despondent werewolf worthy of commiseration and there is enough depth to the story to keep things interesting for those few moments of horror and gore.

One of the things that should be kept in mind is the staggering number of alternate titles this movies in this series have been released both on media and cinema screens over the years. Walpurgis Night, Shadow of the Werewolf , and Werewolf Shadow are but a few titles you may find in DVD formats.

My one problem with this and other Naschy films is that the media always seems to be comprised of worn weary, barely visible film stock which has been pretty much the case for the few others I’ve (barely?) seen. Hopefully I can someday enjoy this and the other Naschy films decently restored someday as they certainly deserve better treatment.

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