aka Werewolf versus Vampire Woman aka Shadow of the Werewolf aka The Werewolf’s Shadow
(Original title: La Noche de Walpurgis)

Dr Harwig! Look at this scar! It’s pentagonal!

Kids these days…. Why, in my day, if you were out of elementary school, you didn’t go begging for candy door-to-door. Dangnabit, if you’re old enough to shave any culturally acceptable part of your body, you shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. If you’re old enough to drive, you shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. If you’re sexually active, you definitely shouldn’t be trick-or-treating. Hrumph. Leave it for the kids. Older folk should be going to parties, or handing out candy, or scaring little kids, or watching horror movies. Yeah… And for our second day of Halloween Film Reviews, we’re looking at some really bad late-night horrors, well worth your own Mystery Science Theater 3000 night. Oooh! Scary!

Cast, Crew, and Other Info:

Directed by León Klimovsky

Written by Jacinto Molina and
Hans Munkel

Cast:

Jacinto Molina as Waldemar Daninsky
Gaby Fuchs as Elvira
Barbara Capell as Genevieve Bennett
Patty Shepard as Countess Wandessa d’Arville de Nadasdy
Andrés Resino as Inspector Marcel
Yelena Samarina as Elizabeth Daninsky
José Marco as Pierre
Eduardo Chappa as Monster

Premise:

This Spanish-made imitation of Hammer’s early-70s horror films ranks among the worst the genre has to offer. It features, unsurprisingly, a werewolf and at least one vampire woman engaged in an epic struggle to maintain the audience’s interest. The audience loses.

We begin with an autopsy, during which the coroner lights up a cigarette. He and a police officer set the tone for the film by speaking almost entirely in expository dialogue and by doing moronic things to advance the plot. They won’t be the last; this film takes place in an alternate universe where everyone speaks in expository dialogue and does moronic things that will allow the plot to continue. We learn that the superstitious locals believe that this man was a werewolf, and that a dead werewolf can be restored to life if one removes the silver bullet that killed him. Naturally, the investigators remove the bullet, restoring the dead monster to life.

Meanwhile in Paris (we know we’re in Paris, because we see a rack of postcards featuring Parisian landmarks), Elvira, a sexy academic who specializes in the supernatural, seeks information on a mysterious 11th century countess (inspired by Elizabeth Bathory) alleged to have been a vampire. Elvira takes leave of her mysterious boyfriend, who must depart on a mysterious mission to Istanbul, and promptly gets lost in the country with her moderately wild friend, Genevieve.

The young women find themselves guests of a mysterious writer–in fact, the revived werewolf of the opening scene. He shares his new home with a creepy handyman and a crazed sister. Pierre the Handyman actually gets some laughs, with creepy babbling which utterly fails to put Elvira at ease. The sister has a strange fondness for feeling up women in the night.

Coincidentally, the werewolf/writer also lives near the long-lost grave of the mysterious countess. Using an ancient document, our small group find the gravesite, a ruined mausoleum that has been lost lo these many centuries in plain site, behind ancient overgrowth of the sort one might find in a garden neglected for a few months. Of course, Genevieve removes the silver cross from the countess’s corpse and drips blood from a cut into her decaying mouth, thus restoring the vampire woman to life. As a reward, she becomes the Countess’s first victim. Almost immediately, Genevieve gains walrus-like fangs bested only by those worn by the Tubatan Vampires in the shlock classic, Horror of the Blood Monsters.

The film eventually presents a showdown between werewolf and vampire woman. It fails, however, to answer the magical question: what happens if one bites the other?1

High Point:

The werewolf’s pre-credits killing in the woods. The simple but effective make-up and Blair Witch camerawork possess a gritty power which the rest of the film utterly lacks.

Low Point:

The bloody countess’s tale appears in a flashback to the cheapest Black Mass sequence in film history. The 11th-century Satanists apparently stocked up on props and costumes from a post-Halloween clearance at the local IGA..

The Scores:

Originality: 1/6. Everything in this film has been done before, better.

Effects: 2/6.

Story: 2/6.

Acting: 2/6. Mostly on par with the average elementary school production. José Marco is pretty funny as Pierre.

Production: 2/6 The film features poor production throughout, including frequent shifts between day and night footage within one sequence. The incompetent soundwork, however, may be the best worst thing about it. I’m not talking about the shoddy dubbing; I expect that in a dubbed version of a low-budget horror movie. The ineptitude goes much further, back to the original production. The ambient sounds in some scenes recall a low-budget Halloween Effects tape, the sort of thing played outside a haunted house at a local fair. At another point, the noise from a storm drowns out the dialogue, although it doesn’t much matter in this film. Best terrible use of sound: in the nightclub where we first meet Elvira, the soundtrack features a lounge piano, but we see crowds of people dancing fast to some upbeat 60s pop number which apparently they alone can hear.

Emotional Response: 1/6 Higher, if you count “stunned disbelief” as an emotional response.

Overall: 2/6.

In total, Noche de Walpurgis receives 12/42.

A variation of this review appears at E2.

1. EC Comics, of course, decades earlier, showed us what happens when a werewolf and a vampire have sex.