Curse of the Devil (1974)

aka El retorno de Walpurgis
Article 3738 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-27-2011
Posting Date: 11-8-2011
Directed by Carlos Aured
Featuring Paul Naschy, Fabiola Falcon, Mariano Vidal Molina
Country: Spain / Mexico
What it is: El Hombre Lobo movie

During her execution, the Countess Bathory places a curse on the Daninsky family. The curse manifests itself many years later when Waldemar Daninsky accidentally kills a werewolf, thus setting into motion events that place the curse on himself.

If you were to watch all of Paul Naschy’s “El Hombre Lobo” movies without any clue as to which order they were made, you might well pick this one as the first in the series; in actuality, it was several movies down the line. Not only does it deal most extensively with the backstory of Waldemar Daninsky, but it it’s one of the least cluttered of the whole series; despite a subplot involving the Countess Bathory (which serves as merely a setup for the rest of the movie), this one is focused most clearly on the story of the werewolf himself. Despite the fact that it opens with a badly done medieval fight scene, it’s a fairly decent movie overall, albeit a bit on the slow side. It’s also the one that most clearly borrows from Universal’s THE WOLF MAN; though it’s far from a faithful remake, the similarities are there, and some of the borrowings are rather explicit, including a variation on the “Even a man who is pure of heart…” poem. For me, the most interesting touch was seeing how the villagers themselves become a bit monstrous in their pursuit of the beast in the final scenes, violently killing anyone who they feel is responsible for the werewolf’s existence. It did help that I was able to see the uncut version with subtitles; that always makes foreign movies seem a bit classier.

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