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Fury of the Wolfman VHS
From the Back Cover
A science professor leads an expedition into Tibet. Entrapped by a blizzard, only t he professor escapes with his life. He has violent memories of being attacked by a monster. O n his return home, he confides his problem to a fellow scientist. Unknown to him, using her kn owledge of mind control she specializes in creating monsters of her own. Soon the professor, a nd the werewolf he has become, are under her total control.
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Poorly dubbed from the original Spanish, this film features Paul Naschy who is regarded a bit as the Lon Chaney of Spain, and this film is one of 13 werewolf films he did in the character of Waldemar Daninsky -- and is the only one I've ever seen. I would be interested in seeing some of his others however, as Naschy is actually pretty good and this film has some decent elements despite being fatally flawed overall.
Let's get the worst elements of this film out of the way. As already mentioned, it's very poorly dubbed. I just about always prefer subtitled, and this is no exception, but a well dubbed film would have sufficed. The actors reading the English language script on this are stilted and the dialog is atrocious. Based on their physical mannerisms, I had the feeling all along that the actors in the original Spanish in this particular film probably weren't all that bad, and the poor quality of the dubbing shouldn't be held against them. The plot is a bit difficult to follow, but intriguing none the less. Finally, the score is at times ridiculously wrong and inappropriate for the scenes taking place. At times, I felt the score more akin to a 1970's porno than one intended to set the mood for the scenes being projected.
This film does have some good things working for it however. The sets are pretty good -- almost Hammer Film style gothic and well crafted. There's an eerie castle, creepy night scenes, and pretty convincing chamber of horrors where a mad doctor's human guinea pig experiments live -- at times in orgiastic pleasure with one another, and at times, in abject torment. The story, although muddled and difficult to follow, is quite original. Daninsky's werewolf curse, transmitted through a bite from a Yeti like creature in the Himalayas is of course only a minor variation on the werewolf theme, but this film also features the daughter of a scientist working on some quite unethical mind control experiments who labors to control the werewolf, and who also, through mind control, directs the infidelity of Daninsky's wife in order to provoke him into murderous jealousy, as you see, she also seems to have the hots for Daninksy while at the same time needing to control him. The ending (spoiler alert!)sees the murdered wife back in action, as the werewolf's bite has spread the curse to her as well, leading to a final showdown between husband and wife werewolves. Overall, not a bad twist on a story that's been done to death over and over again since the the 1930's.
I'd actually like to see this film in the original Spanish with a decent subtitling job, but realistically, I know that's never going to happen. I might also be interested in seeing some of Naschy's other dozen or so film portrayals of the Waldemar Daninsky werewolf character.
Dare I say it too, this is exactly the type of film that could benefit from a competent remake. Frequently, remakes tend to be films in which there's nothing wrong with the original. If one thinks of the ideal candidate for a remake as being a film with some good ideas but in which the realisation of those ideas ended up being flawed, than this film fits the bill.
As the film opens, we find Professor Daninsky having just arrived home as the sole survivor of a scientific expedition to Tibet (the details of which are told quite inarticulately in a small series of woeful flashbacks). Life does not rush to meet him with open arms. As if being somehow stricken by the curse of the werewolf atop the snowy rooftop of the world weren't enough, the guy finds out his wife is cheating on him and that she and her lover have set in motion a plan to kill him (the latter part of which he figures out a little too late). Meanwhile, there is this really weird doctor at whatever "school" this is who goes on and on about how her discovery of "chematrobes" will allow her to control the minds of everyone on earth. She knows Daninsky's secret, and she brings him back to life in order to experiment on him; she seems especially fond of letting him out in his werewolf form in order for him to stalk the countryside killing people and acting like a fool. You have several weird love stories interlaced through all this mess to further complicate matters. Inconsistencies abound; for instance, the good doctor has a gang of crazy young people locked up in her castle, supposedly the product of earlier experimentation. One minute, these folks are having an intoxicated love-in, and the next they are all chained up and mute.
The special effects aren't anything to write home about, as the werewolf looks more like a big monkey to me half the time. The kills are as unsatisfying as can be; the werewolf basically puts his head on the victim's shoulder and raises his head back up, leaving a big red spot on the victim's throat and cheek. Nobody even bleeds in this film. This plus the confusing and really rather ridiculous plot make Fury of the Wolfman more of an ordeal to be endured than a film to be enjoyed.
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