2019 Scarecrow Psychotronic Challenge: Day 22: La Noche de Walpurgis (1971)

DAY 22. SEASON OF THE WHICH?: A film set around a holiday. No Halloween though, it’s a challenge!

La Noche de Walpurgis (released in the United States as The Werewolf vs. The Vampire Woman and in the UK as both Shadow of the Werewolf and Werewolf Shadow) was the fifth time that Paul Naschy played the doomed lycanthrope Waldemar Daninsky.

Written by Naschy and directed by Leon Klimovsky (The People Who Own the DarkThe Dracula Saga), this film seems like it came from another planet, perhaps because so much of it is in slow motion. It also kicked off a horror craze in Spain that maniacs like me are still enjoying to this day.

After the last film — The Fury of the Wolf Man — Waldemar Daninsky is brought back to life during his autopsy. After all, you don’t remove silver bullets from a werewolf’s heart and expect him to treat you nicely. He kills both for their trouble and runs into the night.

Meanwhile, Elvira and her friend Genevieve are looking for the tomb of Countess Wandessa de Nadasdy. Coincidentally, as these things happen, her grave is near Daninsky’s castle, so our dashing werewolf friend invites them to stay. Within hours, Elvira has bled all over the corpse of the Countess (Patty Shepard, Hannan, Queen of the Vampires), who soon rises and turns both girls into her slaves.

But what of the werewolf, you ask. Don’t worry — he shows up too, after we get our fill of the ladies slow-motion murdering people in the forest. Also, as these things happen, Waldemar must fight the Countess before the only woman who ever loved him, Elvira (Yelena Samarina, The House of 1,000 Dolls) finally kills him again.

There’s also a scene where our furry friend battles a skeleton wearing the robes of a monk in the graveyard. Some claim that this scene inspired Spanish director Amando de Ossorio to write Tombs of the Blind Dead just a few months later.

Daninsky’s lycanthropy is not explained in this one. Was it the bite of a yeti that made him howl at the moon? Is he a college professor or a count? Who cares!

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