Directed by: Enrique López Eguiluz
Release date: 1968
Okay there is false advertising and then there is False Advertising. This movie known as La Marca del Hobre-Lobo in its native Spanish, was named Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror for the US market. So, an audience would reasonably expect the appearance of Frankenstein and/or his monster? No. A voice over tells us, at the head that as some point the Frankensteins were cursed to become the Wolfsteins and that is the last you’ll hear of anything to do with Mary Shelley’s creation.
This is one of Paul Naschy’s werewolf movies and features vampires in the mix – as they often did. To be honest it is all a little familiar and has some gaping plot questions that we’ll come to.
The film, however, begins with a masked ball. The occasion is the 18th birthday of the Countess Janice von Aarenberg (Dyanik Zurakowska). She has been in a Swiss finishing school for 4 years and dances with childhood friend Rudolph (Manuel Manzaneque). The proud fathers look on, and it is clear that some manipulation towards matrimony is planned. A masked man , clearly to us Paul Naschy who plays another variant of Waldermar Daninsky, cuts in to paternal disapproval.
The next day Janice is to pick up a vase she sent for repair and then meet Rudolph and their fathers at a church. In the shop she is formally introduced to Waldermar and we see that he is the subject of village gossip amongst the little old ladies. He turns up at the church and then, when Janice and Rudolph head to the ruined Castle Wolfstein to explore it and perhaps find the secret tunnel to the old monastery, he turns up there.
In the castle he tells them of the legend. That Imre Wolfstein was from Poland but travelled extensively in the Far East. That out in the Far East he was attacked by a werewolf, he seemed to recover but when he returned to the castle things started to occur. Eventually he was killed by plunging a silver cross in his heart. However he could be revived by removing it as it was not done by one who loved him.
They leave the castle and Rudolph runs a gypsy caravan off the road. Waldermar stops to help them and then suggests that there is shelter from the storm at the castle. They do shelter, finding wine and getting drunk but the man, Donas I think, has found the family tomb and suggests some grave robbing. Now, number one rule of grave robbing, you find a remarkably well preserved corpse with something in the chest – let it be! No, they remove the cross and Imre comes to life.
He not only kills them but also some locals and the populace believe that wolves have come down from the Mountain and organise a hunt. Waldermar, however, goes to the crypt and finds the cross and dead gypsies. He and Janice meet up and it is clear that they have fallen in love (this wasn’t well developed). Waldermar states that he will join the hunt.
As it is he is close to Rudolph when Imre attacks the lad. Waldermar saves him and stabs Imre. They dispose of the body and then Waldermar goes to church – an attempt to stop the lycanthropic poison. It is too late – the mark of the wolf is upon his chest and he is cursed. Rudolph tries to shackle him, that does not work, and ends up finding him an area in the castle to lock him in whilst they check the monastery’s occult library (it seems the monks became Satanists).
They try to keep Janice away and fail and we get the back history of Vlademir Wolfstein who came under an evil spell and had vampire blood (which was added for no good reason). For himself, Waldermar wanting to be killed but Janice wants to find a cure. Then they find a letter, written to Imre years before, by one Dr Janos Mikhelov (Julián Ugarte) regarding a potential cure. They write to him and get a response from his ‘son’.
The son, also Janos (strange that), and his wife Wandessa (Aurora de Alba) turn up and promise to cure Waldermar. They then chain him and cast spells to try and control him. They also turn their attentions to Rudolph and Janice, for the Mikhelovs are vampires. Now, I could see why they might want to capture a werewolf as a slave but the exposition of their entire motivation left a lot to be desired.
They put the bite on both youths, placing them under control (which gets the attention of the fathers) and also re-resurrect Imre for reasons unknown as we don’t see them try to control him, they failed to control Waldermar and all it does is lead to some werewolf on werewolf fighting. This allows Waldermar opportunity to escape and he manages to stake Wandessa – can they save Janice?
Vampire powers seem standard. Sunlight must be an issue as they work only at night, but that is supposition on my part. Once a victim is bitten they are under the vampire’s control and can be called telepathically. There is a scene when Rudolph is before a mirror and seems shocked (thus no reflections) except we see Wandessa’s hand clearly moving in the glass.
There also seems to be an ability to teleport – both Janos himself and he seems to have teleported Janice also. This had the unfortunate side effect that they then seem to want to prance as well (both Janos and Janice, and there was a whole lot of prancing going on) when he should be making his cunning escape.
All in all this was below average. Perhaps better shot than some of the Naschy flicks, photography wise, the story let it down in that there was lacking motivations and everything was too standard, nothing I haven’t seen in other movies. 4 out of 10.
The imdb page is here.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Directed by: Enrique López Eguiluz