I’m only just learning now that La Noche de Walpurgis, which celebrates 50 years since its release this year, is actually the fifth instalment of a 12-part series called The Hombre Lobo series about a werewolf called Waldemar Daninsky.
Supposedly, these movies have little to connect one another apart from the afore-mentioned lycanthrope and its star, Paul Naschy. So it’s probably a goog thing that I was unaware of this when I sat down to watch this instalment.
Naschy coincidentally picked up something of a cult following due to his numerous portrayals of classic horror movie characters, which earned him the title, The Spanish Lon Chaney.
Here though, Naschy sticks to the debonair Daninsky, a charismatic gent by day, hairy wolf by night.
Made for the paltry sum of $120,000 and it shows, especially the first scene which is incredibly camp and should not be judged for the tone of the rest of the film… kind of.
We witness two doctors examining Daninsky’s corpse and mockingly jest that the removal of the silver bullets that killed him would resurrect him once more. When this actually does happen, said doctors are shocked at the figure transforming before them, before being mauled to death.
This made sense now knowing that it followed on from the previous film in the series, The Fury of the Wolf Man.
Director León Klimovsky does his best to hide the obvious blemishes through stylised shots and creating an eerie atmosphere, which is typically European and predominantly shot in slow motion, which sort of works in places.
The crux of the film itself follows two students, Elvira and Genevieve who go in search of a tomb belonging to a medieval murderess, who happens to be a vampiress called Wandessa (Patty Shepard). Inadvertently Elvira resurrects Wandessa by bleeding onto the corpse. Wandessa then goes on a killing rampage in her wake to build her disciples of creatures of the night. The only thing that can stop them is the noble-hearted lycanthrope, Daninsky. But at what cost?
La Noche de Walpurgis is exactly what you expect from a low-budget European 70s film, but it was a hauntingly visual treat that actually boasted some decent effects considering.
- Saul Muerte