FILMED IN CHILL-O-RAMA. So say the opening credits.
Originally titled La marca del Hombre-lobo this is a Spanish production from the pen of Jacinto Molina that was picked up for North American distribution by Independent International. As was customary at the time, the title was changed and the film promptly dubbed. Apparently U.S. distributor Samuel Sherman was supposed to supply a Frankenstein title so voila, here we have one. Problem is, there isn’t a lumbering giant in sight or a mad scientist named Victor either.
Don’t let that stop you from watching this game effort starring the screenwriter Molina under his North American screen name, Paul Naschy. At the end of the day the film is a bit of a throwback to the glorious days of the Universal Monster films where we team up a couple of boogie men from the crypt. This time out Naschy stars as the character Waldemar Daninsky who he would play numerous times over the ensuing years being bitten during a wolf hunt. His fate is sealed. His loved ones try to find a cure and bring in a mysterious doctor and his rather tempting wife with the low cut outfit. They turn up in a fog shrouded night in capes and looking rather pale. Need I say more?
Films like these are of course never taken too seriously and are generally panned. In many cases rightly so. Despite the poor dubbing on the North American print full marks should be given for the time and care taken to film an old fashioned werewolf thriller in the Lon Chaney Jr. mode. There is some really good camera work and the sets are appropriately done up in the dungeons of a ruined castle. We get Gypsy’s and crypts as well as silver daggers and bullets to combat the forces of evil. And of course a love interest for Naschy whose own hand must be the one to set him free which is part of the genre’s folklore.
The film sent Paul Naschy on his way to a long career in Euro horror films covering everything from countless incarnations of his wolfman character Daninsky to playing Dracula, Zombies and other assorted monsters for years to come. He would pass away in 2009.