Saturday, August 25, 2012

Honourable Mention: the Werewolf and the Yeti

Known, domestically, as La Maldición de la Bestia and directed by Miguel Iglesias in 1975, this is a Paul Naschy vehicle in which he once again dons the persona of Waldemar Daninsky. "Who?" you might ask, if you have not come across Naschy’s body of work before. Think of a Spanish Larry Talbot, though in Waldemar’s case each film outing tends to be a separate incarnation of the character.

This is also one of the films still on the BBFC banned list from the days of the, so called, “video nasties” – clearly because it has never been re-submitted for UK classification as it is mild compared to other Naschy outings (or indeed compared to a large majority of horror films). As a result, your best chance to see it is on a fuzzy, dubbed VHS rip to DVD-R – apologies, therefore, for the quality of the screenshots.

Sylvia and Waldemar
In this flick Waldemar is an anthropologist and Psychologist who knows the region of Tibet and speaks Nepalese (!!!) who is asked by one Professor Lacombe (Josep Castillo Escalona) to accompany him and his daughter Sylvia (Mercedes Molina) on an expedition to capture the yeti. A previous expedition had taken pictures of the beast and got a genuine Yeti scalp from a monastery before they were all killed (by the yeti). Waldermar agrees to go.

Paul Naschy reprisesWaldemar 
When they arrive at Kathmandu they discover that inclement weather will stop them using the pass they wish to take. There is another pass known only by a junkie explorer called Joel (Víctor Israel). A base camp is set up and Waldermar has gone ahead with Joel to scout the pass (a place local Sherpa are unwilling to go as it is cursed). They are overdue and Joel (as a non-character) quickly vanishes down a crevasse). Waldermar finds a cave and goes in looking for shelter. There is a statue within and a couple of women – they tell him the cave is dedicated to a God (I didn’t catch the name) who in turn is dedicated to Kali. He passes out.

fanged corpse
The girls, who have said he will make a good companion and passionate lover, tend to Waldemar, nursing him to health. They also make sure he indulges in some three-way action. When he is recovered (on what happens to be the night of a full moon) he starts checking out the caves. He sees the girls eating human flesh and also finds a locked gate now covers the cave entrance. He gets to a room with a sarcophagus, on which lies the desiccated remains of a fanged creature. One of the girls attacks him, he pulls a dagger (it looked like) from the corpse (which doesn’t regenerate – and in other Waldermar stories even a werewolf would regenerate should the silver blade be removed from its heart) and stabs her – she rapidly decays.

vampire woman
He moves on and is attacked by the second girl and she clearly has fangs. She too decays when stabbed but she manages to get at his chest. Video fuzziness meant that I couldn’t clearly see if she bit him but she leaves the pentagon mark (in Waldermar films the pentagram is replaced by the pentagon) and he is now cursed to be a wolfman. Unusually, this is a film where Waldermar can be cured (rather than just killed) but if you want some werewolf on yeti action I am afraid you will have to wait to the very end of the film.

The vampire women (and I am classing them as such due to the fangs and rapid decay on death, not to mention the penchant for human flesh) are only briefly in the film, hence the honourable mention. The imdb page is here.

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