The Werewolf vs. the Vampire Woman (AKA Walpurgis Night)

Posted by drew On August - 18 - 20101,796 views

For whatever reason, werewolves and vampires just can’t seem to get along. This long standing in-fighting amongst creature of the night always struck me as funny. You’d think they’d team up to eat people and otherwise live in harmony. But no, that’s not on the cards, it seems. Take this 1970’s era Paul Naschy thriller for example. Werewolf anti-hero Waldemar Daninsky is killing vampires left and right – when he’s not running around gorging himself on human flesh that is.

If you’re not hip to Paul Naschy, he was known as the “Lon Chaney of Spain.” His popular riffs on Universal and Hammer horror films might not have had big budgets, but they never lacked for imaginative spirit. His most famous role of course as Waldemar Daninsky, a werewolf who was both hero and villain. The character reminds me more of Marvel Comics’ bad boy Werewolf by Night than Universal’s Larry Talbot.

In this go around Waldemar’s girlfriend and her friend accidently revive a vampire countess. Well, not too accidently, as the silver cross in the vampire’s heart can also save Waldemar from his hair-inducing curse. One way or the other, a monster smackdown ensues, as Waldemar tries to protect the womenfolk from blood sucking seduction. (In between snacking on tasty villagers.)

While not long on logic, this movie is heavy on atmosphere. The use of actual European ruins adds a level of realism that most gothic horror films don’t have. And while the effects are kind of corny, when coupled with this backdrop the film becomes almost dreamlike.

Naschy’s films are something I turned to after plowing my way through all of the Universals and the Hammer horrors. I’d suggest this movie and the rest of its series to other fans with similar tastes. They may be low rent, but they’re heavy on weirdness and fun.

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