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Sunday, April 26, 2020

The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman (aka. Werewolf Shadow) (1971)



Paul Naschy was a prolific star of horror movies coming out of Europe for many years, but somehow many fans aren’t aware of him or at best know him as that werewolf guy. He was a heck of a lot more than just that… though he did a lot of werewolf movies, including this one.

Naschy plays Waldemar, a nice guy who also happens to be a werewolf. We see him come back from the dead after the silver bullets are removed from his chest. He kills a doctor and cop then the action moves onto a couple young women. Elvira and Genevieve are traveling to the north of France to research a legendary lady vampire. They are in search for her tomb to do school stuff like papers and PHDs. They almost run out of gas looking for the village before they find Waldemar who invites them to his house. Then things get weird.

He is of course a werewolf. His crazy sister lives with him trying to protect him from himself by chaining the man up on the full moon. I say she is crazy because for no reason she decides to try and choke one of the girls out! Some more things happen, Genevieve and he open a tomb and accidentally bring the vampire woman back to life. There is some girl on girl action, a silver cross is found that can kill the vampire as well as the werewolf. Though it can only be wielded by someone who loves him. Which works out well since he and Elvira are madly in love after a day or so. There is a big showdown where sad stuff happens, and a few people live happily ever after.

Naschy as the werewolf
When watching a Paul Naschy flick you need to adjust your expectations when it comes to storytelling. There will be some overall cohesive narrative that drives the action, but many characters will come and go, as well as do mind boggling odd things that require the audience to make some rather large leaps in logic. A prime example of that is the sister trying to kill one of the girls when she arrives. It isn’t explained why she would do that? At least later on when she attacks again it is because they found where she has been chaining Waldemar up and is afraid they will tell someone. But why the crazy bits when they first arrive? Mostly I think it is to show a bit of skin and hint at some naughty stuff. Can we fault them for that?

I should also explain two things that you need to understand and accept if you are going to enjoy Naschy movies. First it will get a bit sleazy with lots of female nudity and girls kissing on each other. These were made for a seventies audience and the man knew what they wanted so it was shoehorned in no matter what. You have to respect the man for that. Second the werewolf effects work is going to be Naschy in simple makeup that leaves him recognizable. He likes to play the werewolf, growling and drooling all over the place. His energy as the creature is part of the fun and what makes these movies very watchable. But don’t expect any over the top makeup effects.

Of the Naschy films this is one of the weaker movies. I only say that because I wanted a much bigger showdown in the versus movie. I want the werewolf and vampire woman to seriously throw down. Sadly, its over quick and left me disappointed. Other than that, this one checks all the boxes that I look for. Not great but worth checking out if you are interested in Naschy or European horror movies of the late sixties and early seventies.


© Copyright 2020 John Shatzer

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