The Craving (1980)

The ninth movie in the saga of Count Waldemar Daninsky — as always played by Paul Naschy —  this movie wasn’t released in the United States until 1985 when it was renamed from its original title, El Retorno del Hombre Lobo (The Return of the Wolfman). The last Naschy movie to play the U.S. theatrically, it’s also been released here on DVD and blu ray as Night of the Werewolf.

Naschy has gone on record saying that this was his favorite Hombre Lobo film and considered it a remake of his 1970 effort La Noche de Walpurgis (Walpurgis Night).

Waldemar Daninsky is sentenced to be executed along with a number of witches, including Elizabeth Bathory. He actually prays for his suffering to end, but it’s nearly impossible to truly kill him. That means the authorities have to pretty much bury him alive, with a silver dagger piercing his heart and an iron mask to keep him from biting anyone dumb enough to let him loose.

Of course, that’s exactly what happens centuries later when the dagger is removed. That said — it’s just in time, as Bathory is back and needs to be stopped. Oen of the women that Daninsky meets in our time — Karin — will become his great love, but if you’ve watched any Spanish werewolf movies, love is often doomed to mutual death and funeral flames.

This higher budgeted effort — created by Naschy’s own Dalmata Films — failed to score in foreign markets and spelled doom for its studio. That’s a true shame, as it’s probably the best looking version of Naschy’s werewolf vision.

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