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Paul Naschy
Paul Naschy, Julia Saly, Silvia Aguilar
Writing Credits:
Paul Naschy

An evil witch brings back to life the infamous Elizabeth Bathory, who was executed several hundred years previously for murdering young woman and bathing in their blood.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Castillian DTS-HD MA Monaural
English DTS-HD MA Monaural
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 93 min.

Price: $79.97
Release Date: 6/20/2017

Available Only as Part of “The Paul Naschy Collection"

• Audio Commentary with Film Historians Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn
• Two Deleted Scenes
• Spanish Credit Sequence
• Trailers
• Still Gallery
• Booklet


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Night of the Werewolf: The Paul Naschy Collection [Blu-Ray] (1981)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 18, 2019)

My two prior explorations into the catalog of Spanish filmmaker Paul Naschy demonstrated different cinematic orientations. While Horror Rises from the Tomb opted for a supernatural tale, Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll remained firmly affixed in the real world.

With 1981’s Night of the Werewolf, Naschy heads back toward the realm of fantasy. Initially set in 16th century Hungary, Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy) and Elizabeth Bathory (Julia Saly) get condemned to death due to their magical violent tendencies. However, werewolf Daninsky boasts so much power that he can’t truly be killed.

Instead, Daninsky gets left in a state of suspended animation, as a dagger through his heart immobilizes him. When modern day grave robbers remove the weapon, Daninsky returns to life and battles a similarly revived Elizabeth.

While not a remake of Tomb, both it and Night share obvious similarities. Both come with prologues that depict the “deaths” of magical characters and both show journeys intended to revive those nasty beings. Of course, both also depict all sorts of mayhem and violence, too.

Of the two, I think Tomb works much better, partly because Night suffers from a higher “cheese factor”. Not that Tomb delivered a somber, realistic experience, but it felt a bit more “grounded” than the campier Night.

I also feel Night feels more sluggish, and its characters come across as less involving. Frankly, Daninsky seems like a pretty bland lead, and few of the others appear partcularly interesting, either. Even nominal villain Elizabeth lacks much unsavory bite.

It doesn’t help that Night takes too long to get where it needs to go. Though we meet a revived Daninsky fairly early in the narrative, it takes nearly half the movie for Elizabeth to return, and the movie doesn’t use that time well.

Instead, it meanders and dawdles as it works its way toward these plot elements. As noted, the characters remain forgettable, so without much real drama, the movie sputters.

Even when Night brings us action, the scenes lack excitement. Saddled with a bad werewolf costume, Naschy can’t elicit terror as the lupine form of Daninsky, and he makes for a less than impressive romantic lead too.

Granted, Naschy was never much of a looker, but he got dumpier as he aged. In the 1970s movies, he resembled John Belushi, but here he looks like Luciano Pavarotti – not exactly the sexiest man one can fathom.

A few decent scenes emerge along the way, but these seem too few and far between to make much of an impact. Throw in awkward editing that forces scenes to jump ahead in a clumsy manner and too many problems rob Night of impact.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio C-/ Bonus B-

Night of the Werewolf appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie gave us a slightly dated but largely positive presentation.

Sharpness usually looked good, as only a few minor instances of softness impacted the picture. Most of the flick delivered nice clarity and accuracy.

No signs of jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I also detected no edge haloes. As for print flaws, I noted a smattering of small specks but nothing notable.

Colors remained subdued, with a mild brown impression. Though not dazzling, the hues looked reasonably well-depicted. Blacks came across as fairly dark, and shadows were decent, thought shots in a tomb could seem a little dense. In the end, this wound up as a more than competent transfer.

Unfortunately, the film’s DTS-HD MA monaural soundtrack lacked clarity. In addition to poor looping, speech appeared rough and sibilant.

Music showed little range and tended to sound a bit muddy. Like the dialogue, effects usually sounded harsh and slightly distorted. Even for its age, this turned into a problematic mix.

In addition to this original Castillian track, the Blu-ray provided a dubbed English version. It lacked the Spanish mix’s roughness but it suffered from a dull, flat quality instead.

The English rendition also brought us pretty weak voice acting. The combination of iffy audio quality and awkward performances made the English dub a bad choice – even with its flaws, I preferred the Spanish track.

The set’s extras open with an audio commentary from film historians Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at cast and performances, story and characters, the movie’s place in Paul Naschy’s career, effects and music, sets and locations, and influences.

This was my third Guinn/Barnett commentary, and it matched up well with the other two. All three deliver good facts about the movie as well as insights about connected domains. Barnett and Guinn exhibit enthusiasm but they lack the annoying gushing tone one might expect of fans, so this offers a strong chat.

Two Deleted Scenes run a total of two minutes, 35 seconds. Both offer conversations between two supporting semi-comedic characters. We see enough of them in the final cut so these additions add little.

A Spanish Credit Sequence runs three minutes, 57 seconds. It’s identical to the opening/closing in the version found elsewhere on the disc except – surprise! – it lists the credits in Spanish.

In addition to two trailers, we get a still gallery. Its running montage lasts seven minutes, 50 seconds and includes 106 shots that mix publicity elements and shots from the production. It becomes a good collection.

The package concludes with a booklet. It provides production notes for Eyes and four other Paul Naschy movies. The booklet finishes the set in a positive manner.

Although I enjoyed my prior experiences with the films of Paul Naschy, Night of the Werewolf left me cold. Too slow and without much drama, the movie failed to turn into an effective horror experience. The Blu-ray offered mostly good picture along with flawed audio and some useful bonus materials. Night ends up as a subpar werewolf tale.

Note that Night of the Werewolf can be purchased only as part of a five-disc “Paul Naschy Collection”. The set also includes Vengeance of the Zombies, Blue Eyes of the Broken Doll, Human Beasts and Horror Rises from the Tomb.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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