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Die Nacht Der Vampire (Werewolf Shadow)

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    Ian Jane
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  • Die Nacht Der Vampire (Werewolf Shadow)



    Released by: Subkultur Entertainment
    Released: December 5th, 2014.
    Director: Leon Klimovsky Naschy
    Cast: Paul Naschy, Gaby Fuchs, Barbara Capell, Paty Shepard
    Year: 1971
    Purchase From Diabolik DVD

    The Movie:

    When this Paul Naschy/Leon Klimovsky collaborative effort begins, Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy) lies dead on the table of an operating room. An assistant watches as a surgeon removes the bullet from his chest. Bad move on his part, for as the surgeon explains to his assistant about the legend of the werewolf, Daninsky, now free from the silver bullet, transforms into the werewolf. Now transformed into a creature more beast than man, he makes short work of the pair and then moves on to devour a foxy young woman roaming the area.

    With the werewolf now on the loose and having already claimed three victims, the film shifts focus to two students: Genevieve (Gaby Fuchs) and Elvira (Barbara Cappell). These two lovely ladies are determined to uncover the truth behind the legend of Countess Wandessa (Paty Shepard), a horrible women from the past who reportedly drank human blood. They hike into the remote area where she's buried and who should they run into but Daninsky who is hiding from everyone in a rundown old house. He's nice enough to feed them and show them where Wandessa was laid to rest. The girls explore the tomb and when they find the body, Elvira accidentally cuts herself. When he blood lands on the corpse, it comes back to life.

    Later that night, Wandessa pulls Genevieve under her spell and soon the pair is running around causing trouble. Meanwhile, Daninsky has got the hots for Elvira - the only problem being that he's a werewolf. Chained up in the house one night, Daninksy gets his fur up when Elvira proves to be Wandessa's next target. Will he be able to free himself and save his lady friend? Will he be able to stop Wandessa? Will he turn into a werewolf and bite a lot of people in the process? Absolutely, and you wouldn't want it any other way.

    A mish-mash of monsters and odd urban legends from across Europe, Werewolf Shadow (or, Die Nacht Der Vampire, as it is titled on this release) is a really enjoyable monster film. The picture once again lets Naschy strut his stuff both with and without werewolf make up on. He's great as the tortured Daninsky, consistently having to deal with his nocturnal alter ego and trying to balance out the werewolf's doings with some semblance of a normal life. While Fuchs, Cappel and Shepard provide an ample amount of eye candy for the film, this is Naschy's show through and through. He obviously wrote the script with himself in mind and he makes the most of his part.

    Leon Klimovsky's direction is strong and controlled. There's plenty of style and atmosphere in the film and it's never boring. While it's hard to top the excellent opening scene the film at least comes close a few times. The set piece with the chained Daninsky in the house stands out as a fine, tense moment that highlights the dichotomy of the character. The makeup and gore effects are on par with the other films in the series and as such, they work well. All in all, Werewolf Shadow is a fine effort and one of Naschy's more beloved films for good reason. It's a completely enjoyable slice of Spanish horror with a great cast, great sets, and a fun story. It isn't always deep, but at least it's entertaining and a whole lot of fun.

    Note: This Blu-ray release contains both the uncut export version (1:34:37) as well as the alternate clothed Spanish (1:33:39) cut of the movie. There aren't a whole lot of differences between the two versions, the clothed cut runs shorter as it has the nudity removed but it's definitely a legitimate alternate version and it's nice to see both cuts included for posterity's sake.

    Video/Audio/Extras:

    Die Nacht Der Vampire arrives on a 50GB Blu-ray disc in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 1.85.1 widescreen with the average bit rate hovering in the mid 20's offering strong detail throughout. Though the opening scene is a bit dark (as it has been on past releases as well), colors look great here - the reds look quite splashy and bold without coming across as artificially boosted (see the cap below with the drops landing on the corpse) while skin tones look nice and natural. The image appears free of any artificial sharpening, edge enhancement or noise reduction so a fair bit of film grain is present, just as it should be. Minor white specs and the odd scratch will show up from time to time but for the most part the picture remains quite clean and clear throughout. Black levels are quite nice and there aren't any problems with crush or compression artifacts. This is a nicely detailed and very film-like transfer, the movie looks very good here.

    Audio options are provided in German and in Spanish PCM Mono with optional subtitles provided in German and English. The Spanish track is clean and clear and properly balanced, the film's unusual score sounds quite good here and there are no problems with any hiss or distortion. The English subs are easy to read and free of any obvious typos. Sadly the English audio, which differs from the Spanish track in places, hasn't been included here.

    Extras for this release start off with an Interview With Paul Naschy that runs just short of fifteen minutes in length. It's presented in Spanish but it features optional subtitles in both German and English. He talks about how he got into acting, how he decided he wanted to direct, and how at this time Spain was lacking in horror movies. From here he goes on to discuss writing a horror picture introducing the Daninsky character originally intended to be played by Lon Chaney Jr. When he was too old to take the part, Naschy stepped in and the rest is history. He talks about changing his screen name from Jacinto Monlina to Paul Naschy, working in a 'Post-Franco soft dictatorship' and the filmmaking climate that came out of that environment, the makeup effects used in his films and some of the dangers involved in doing stunt work. Naschy comes across as quite amiable and rightly proud of his films and this detailed and interesting featurettes is a real treat.

    Also included on the disc is an interview with Gaby Fuchs that runs nine and a half minutes. Unfortunately it's in German language only with no subtitle options but some nice stills from her work and some footage of her reuniting with Naschy make it worth watching even if you can't understand the language spoken. We also see her interacting with fans and signing memorabilia at a convention which is kind of nice to see.

    Subkultur has also included the German Super 8 version of the movie, transferred in high definition and running just under thirty-three minutes in length. The only audio option is a German language Dolby Digital Mono track and there are no subtitles but this is a very cool piece to see. The transfer is rough and grainy but this has got to be pretty rare. It's interesting to see Super 8mm films like this just to see what was left in and what was taken out when compared to the feature version.

    The disc also includes 'Internationale Vor & Abspanne' which is an interesting seven and a half minute long compilation of alternate title and credit sequences showing off title cards for the film under the Nacht Der Vampire, Werewolf Shadow and The Werewolf Vs. The Vampire Women.

    Rounding out the extras on the disc are an extensive still gallery of behind the scenes and promotional photos as well as poster art and some black and white stills, a German theatrical trailer, the U.S trailer under the Werewolf Shadow title (“Vampire Versus Werewolf In A Battle To The Death!”), and a U.S. TV Spot under the Werewolf Versus The Vampire Women title (completists may want to hold onto the U.S. DVD released by BCI years back which includes that version of the movie, which has some interesting differences, with the English audio track). Menus and chapter selection are also included on the disc.

    There's also an Easter Egg included here called Klimovsky Vs. Naschy that runs 4:37 and which features Naschy talking (in German sans subtitles) about Klimovsky that also features input from actor Jack Taylor (in English).

    As this is a combo pack release, a DVD version of the movie with identical extra features is also included, though it only contains the unclothed version (the alternate clothed clips are provided separately in the extras section, this is not on the Blu-ray disc as it has both cuts on it). Both come packaged inside a DVD sized case that contains a full color booklet of lobby cards and promotional materials. The case fits inside a cardboard slipcover and the cover insert that fits inside the plastic case is actually a reproduction of the original poster art. Also included along with the two discs in the case is a booklet of liner notes in German that offer up credits for the film as well as some biographical information on Naschy and some thoughts on the feature.

    The Final Word:

    Die Nacht Der Vampire/Werewolf Shadow is one of Paul Naschy's finest moments. It's a fantastic slice of gothic horror with everything you could want out of a picture like this - atmosphere, great characters, beautiful location footage, gorgeous women and some great monsters. Subkultur's Blu-ray release of the film presents the picture with some fun extra features and in very nice condition with a solid transfer and good quality audio. The disc is limited to 1500 pieces.
    Click on the images below for full-sized Blu-ray screen caps!


































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