LA FURIA DEL HOMBRE LOBO/THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN

1970

Director: Jose Maria Zabalza
Producer: Maximiliano Perez and Cesar Gallego for Maxper (Madrid)
Script: Jacinto Molina
Music: Angel Arteaga, Anna Satrova
Cast: Paul Naschy (Waldemar Daninsky), Perla Cristal (Ilona Wolfstein), Michael Rivers, Veronica Lujan (Karen), Mark Stevens, Diana Montes (Erika), Jose Marco, Miguel De La Riva (Heinrich)

Alternate title: WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS


Filmed in Eastmancolor and Techniscope
Running time: 84 min.

  

 

            

Review: A perverse, highly-erratic gem. Naschy's script is particularly good, exploring as it does the tension between man and woman (in this case, a woman's need to dominate a man's will). The scene where ice-queen Ilona (Perla Cristal) descends the stairs to the dungeon, whip in hand, to tame her chained, former-lover Daninsky summarizes perfectly the erotic subtext running throughout the movie. The Naschy trademark approach to horror (throwing in everything but the kitchen sink) is in full bloom here also. So we have Daninsky battling a man in a suit of armor and a "phantom of the opera" type, as well as a female werewolf and mental patients, or mutants, or whatever the hell they're suppose to be. The canned music ruins the film at moments; it use at the ending is particularly debilitating, while in the more frantic sequences, it works in a surreal/macabre way to underline the perverse fantasy playing out before us. But the film is at its most involving (and original) when it deals with the Ilona character, a scientist/professor played with a seductive bitchy sting by the Argentinian-born Perla Cristal. Her quest is nothing less than harnessing the love, and symbolically the testosterone, of Daninsky. "Be a man!" she goads the weak-willed Daninsky at one point. She forces the issue by resurrecting Daninsky after he has been apparently killed and forcing him to turn into a werewolf in an attempt to awaken his dormant manliness. A current of lesbianism also seems to run through the Ilona character (most of her helpers are bitchy, aloof women like herself), furthering the curious webs the film weaves. These noteworthy points only highten the film's obvious deficiencies. The director, Jose Maria Zabalza, was drunk most of the time, according to Naschy in his interview for Videooze magazine (P.O Box 9911, Alexandria, VA 22304). Naschy also revealed in the same interview that it was one of the few times he cried, as he saw what was happening with the movie as it was being made. Because the film came out too short, it was padded with scenes from LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO, and in certain long shots another actor was used instead of Naschy. So, coupled with really effective sequences, we have scenes of the Wolfman walking like a normal person (almost casually strolling!) down deserted city streets. (This was the double secretly employed by Zabalza.) The dubbing only adds to the heady confusion, for Naschy's character is called a variety of names at various points. Because of its unevenness, this is a frustrating film, to be sure. But it also works on the level of "I-can't-believe-what-I'm-seeing." Not to be missed. (Source print: Alpha Video, a sell-through label. Recorded in SLP mode, cut of any nudity; this is undoubtedly the soft "TV version" of the film.)

-- Mirek


     

Above: Front and back of the old Unicorn large-size clamshell video

Swedish Video cover on the VTC label, number 5148 ("Varulven" means "The Werewolf"); film was never released theatrically in Sweden. This PAL video is the source for the letterboxed dupes of this film. Cover scan and info thanks to Johan Karlsson.


Bits and Pieces: Perla Cristal (Ilona) appeared in the first two Dr. Orloff films, Gritos en la Noche (Cries in the Night/The Awful Dr. Orloff) and El Secreto del Dr. Orloff (The Secret of Dr. Orloff/Dr. Orloff's Monster), both helmed by Naschy's Spanish compatriot, Jess Franco.


 

   

Review of the Alpha Video DVD

by

Robert Monell

DVD REVIEW & Comparison with WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS

It's always good to have another Naschy film on DVD. But we wish that some companies would take the time to locate decent original elements. J M Zabalza's FURY OF THE WOLFMAN is a guilty pleasure among many Naschy fans (not a happy memory for Paul Naschy, though), but it certainly deserves a better DVD presentation than the 2002 Alpha Video disc .

First, the good news. The lurid, brightly colored cover ranks as high kitsch (so does the film). In the foreground is Waldemar Daninsky in his full fanged wolfman state. He looks out at us in... well, a fury. Behind his claw a blaze has ignited. Over his shoulder we see Ilona Wolfstein (the magnificently bitchy Perla Cristal), dressed in black, shooting crimson rays from her eyes onto poor Waldemar's hairy corpus. This is backgrounded with a forest scene complete with full moon overhead. Stamped onto this 1950s EC comic book style tableau is the film's title in melting red, yellow and ivory lettering. Naschy's name even makes it onto the cover, which will please his fans and introduce his name to a generation perhaps unaware of him. So much for the good news.

The troubles start with the runtime on the back cover, listing 90 minutes. Those hoping for an uncut print will be almost immediately let down. This is obviously the "covered" and abridged television version, hideously panned and scanned, color faded, noisy and given a generally wretched transfer. It looks like it came from a 16mm source. The picture quality is, at best, murky--dark, always fuzzy and obscured by some kind of crud which produces the effect of watching a battered drive-in print through a screen door miles away. It looks like a 99cent EP vhs which has been rotting in a convenience store bin for at least a millennium.

Up to 50% of Leopoldo Villasenor's compositions are brutally cropped off. After an opening pan shot of a mountainous area near the Wolfstein castle we are treated to stentorian narrator giving the epigraph: "When the heliotrope starts growing among rough rocks and the full moon shines at night, in a certain area of the earth a man turns into a wolf." Since this little prologue is missing from the longer, English language export version, WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS (at least it's missing from my grey market dupe) I was briefly buoyed by the hope that this would indeed be the uncut print. My optimism was shortly dashed when the print cut from the main credit to the names of Naschy and Perla Cristal, then it abruptly cut to Naschy exiting the car outside of his villa. The balance of the opening credits are gone, the rest of the cast, the technicians, the producer and director's credit consigned to oblivion. It gets worse. At this point it is probably best to list a few highlights, included in the partially letterboxed WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS that you won't be seeing here. These include Perla Cristal disrobing after whipping Naschy and sexually caressing him; Waldemar caressing the bare legs of one of the hippie experimental mutants; Veronica Lujan ("Miss Karen") showing some breast as she looks out a window and later as she lays in bed next to Naschy; a woman getting nude and laying down in bed just before being victimized by a werewolf attack; Waldemar molesting the nude woman by laying on top of her; a brief flash of the woman's vagina as the police inspector tries to cover her with a bedsheet (in the Alpha disc she is covered with a nightie throughout this scene).

The fullscreen presentation also manages to somewhat obscure the bloody attacks on Waldemar's wife and lover. With other missing bits, decor squeezed out of view and the already near incomprehensible compositing of scenes from THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN (PN's first wolfman outing) along with the clumsy body doubling from another actor in wolfman drag, this disc in most definitely NOT the way to experience this delirious mess. An entertaining mess, though, when seen as WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS or even in the cut CHARTER video. Alpha's disc is a grave disappointment with NO extras and only four chapter stops.

Paul Naschy compares director Zabalza to the legendary Ed Wood in his autobiography, and one cannot disagree with him. Everything is so out of whack in this film that it becomes fun to savor the numeous gaffes. Dubbed dialogue like "Very soon you'll be the beast that I dominate," also adds considerably to the entertainment value. Some of Angel Arteaga's score is recycled from THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN, but there are also some incongruent, jazzy cues and even a bit of Bach, which accompanies an auto accident! Naschy attempts to play it straight and sober under incredible duress and it's obvious that part of Waldemar's torment is the actor wishing he were somewhere, anywhere, else.

Curiously, Naschy's original script seems to be a rewrite or possibly a later draft of the scenario for the "lost" NIGHTS OF THE WOLFMAN (1968) , directed by the still to be located Rene Govar. As described by a "review" (possibly taken from a press release) in Phil Hardy's sometimes spurious ENCYCLOPEDIA OF THE HORROR FILM, NIGHTS also involved a ruthless scientist who controlled Daninsky through sound waves. In FURY, these waves are called "chemotrodes" and one has difficultly not laughing every time (and it's often) this pseudo-scientific term is used.

The climactic fight between Waldemar and the female werewolf (his cheating wife) is something of a novelty, but much less effective in this fullscreen print. There are also some very bizarre looking Triffid-like plants which are difficult to see or partially cropped out in the Alpha disc. The grey market WNS is hardly of perfect picture quality, but if you want to see this title in a watchable and reasonably complete form it's the only way to go.

Naschy's next werewolf project was Leon Klimovsky's seminal WEREWOLF'S SHADOW (soon to be on DVD uncut, properly letterboxed and with appropriate supplements from Anchor Bay).

Reviewed by Robert Monell --2002

 


The Alpha Video DVD is not in Alpha's catalogue anymore (ever since, at least, 2002). Instead, Front Row Entertainment has released the exact contents of the Alpha DVD, including the Alpha main screen.  Front and back cover below:

 

Bijouflix released a two disc VCD of the cut version of the title, while some time ago Spain issued a Super-8 version of the film on four reels, 180 meters, in color and sound:

       


 


The Different Versions

There are several versions of LA FURIA DEL HOMBRE LOBO worthy of consideration as each has at least one element that is distinctive. This may seem to compound the difficulty of assembling a "totally uncut" version, but this review will be a template for such an enterprise should someone desire to make such a meritable attempt. This review, however, cannot be considered complete, as other versions may exist, containing other minor variants, and the dialogue in the Spanish version certainly warrants more study. There are four primary versions I will deal with in my analysis:

1) The Spanish version released by Unicorn Video years ago and out-of-print.

2) The Alpha Video DVD version, which is considered the non-nude TV print variant of the film. This version is similar to ones the company released in video form once upon a time and the English-language version released by Unicorn, also once upon a time. 16mm prints of this version have appeared on eBay.

3) The Charter video release, likewise out-of-print, which contains alternate nude scenes. This was the release commonly available in the United States and for a while was considered "uncut."

4) The "Wolfman Never Sleeps" English language variant, sourced from a rare Swedish video, which contains even more nude scenes than the Charter version!

As of this date, the Swedish version is the most complete of this title, so we'll start with a look at this version and work our way from there. Unlike all previous video/dvd versions, this variant is available in widescreen format, though still not full using the 2.35:1 dimensions of the original Techniscope framing. Freed up from pan-and-scan, the film obviously takes on new dimensions. The running time clocks in at a misleading 1:23:06 (nearly a minute shorter than the cut version!), which is accounted for by the increase in frame-rate of the presentation.

WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS, though, is not fully integral. The film deletes the entire beginning narration, starting at a point slightly later in Daninsky's car ride through the mountains with the credit: "International Film presents". Unfortunately, half of the narration in the Charter version is missing! The full narration, a translation of the one in the Spanish version, is: "When the heliotrope starts growing among rough rocks and the full moon shines at night, in a certain area of the earth a man turns into a wolf."  The Charter version, which contains the visual information that accompanies the narration, is silent until: "In a certain area of the earth a man turns into a wolf."  After Waldemar Daninsky is back home, two very minor edits occur.  When a bare-chested Waldemar stands looking out of the window, a shot of the sky has been cut; a minute or so later, a shot of a reflecting lake that ends his nightmarish dream of his Tibetan experiences is also missing. These two cuts were probably made because the content is curious: the sky shot doesn't look anything like a night sky during a thunderstorm, which is occurring outside, and the reflecting water (a shot that seems to be lifted from LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO) is an odd transition.  [There are more curiosities concerning this reflecting lake shot: In the cut Alpha and Unicorn versions of the film, a close-up of the pentagram on Daninsky's chest dissolves smoothly to the reflecting water, but in the Charter version the dissolve is missing; the shot comes up instantly. Furthermore, in the Alpha and Charter versions, there is a bad edit to from the reflecting water to the subsequent shot of the university at which Waldemar teaches; the change is clumsily done, with a hint of an obscure fame and a second of a black screen. In the Unicorn video version (which is the censored version), this rough transition has been deleted, creating a well-done edit from one scene to the next.]

The Spanish version contains dialogue that is different and, at least in one case, missing from the English-dubbed version. More study needs to be done regarding the Spanish audio track, but this is what I was able to pick up from a brief sampling. After Ilona slaps Karen for suggesting that she is still obsessed with Daninsky, Ilona embraces Karen, asking for forgiveness, and, in the Spanish version, addresses her as "carino"--dear one, beloved. This accentuates the Sapphic, or Sapphic-tinged, relationship between the two. In the English dub, the line is simply, "Oh, Karen, oh, Karen, please forgive me." Later on, when Daninsky is wired up and in torment with radio waves pounding into his brain, the Spanish version has an over-dub of the Tibetan priest warning him about the pentagram (the audio is taken from the Tibetan nightmare Danisky has at the beginning of the film). In the English dub, these lines are missing, replaced only by the pained moans from Daninsky. Here, again, a important plot element is diluted, as it is Ilona who is behind the transformations of Daninsky into a full-fledged wolfman, and this shows how she is reinforcing his Tibetan experiences in his subconscious. Incidentally, all versions have the same print damage in the cellar transformation sequence before Ilona begins whipping Daninsky. 

A definitive edition must embrace all these variants. Perhaps the best way to do so would be a presentation of the Spanish original, employing accurate English subtitles, with inserted nude scenes from the uncensored English version if no such elements can be found in a hitherto unseen Spanish-dub. An English audio track should be an option, as the voices used are quite good.  (Whoever dubbed Ilona nailed her temperament down perfectly; the dubbing for Naschy is excellent also, voicing a person sympathetic and slightly bewildered.) Right now it is important that all original elements be located and saved from the ravages of time. Spanish vault elements are particularly important here. Spanish government and cultural institutions should be solicited to this end, and Swedish government and film institutions should be contacted regarding the WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS version. Indeed, a worldwide search for elements of this film is warranted, given its dismissive long-thought public domain status that could leave its variants abandoned in inadequate, even harmful, storages areas.  This mind-boggling masterpiece must be saved!

 


Screen Capture Comparisons

 

WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS version


Alpha Video's DVD


The two screen captures tell obvious tales: the full-frame version, while having better clarity, is painfully pan-and-scanned, eliminating much information. Throughout the full-frame version, individuals who share a frame on opposite sides in the scope version, lose one of the participants. Note, however, that the top/bottom framing is basically the same. The image on WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS is slightly squeezed in, and since bootlegs are sourced from a Swedish video, there is Swedish subtitling on the screen, though kept below the majority of the bottom of the picture frame.

 


The Extra Nude Scenes

Besides the important aspect ratio difference, the WOLFMAN NEVER SLEEPS versions contains two nudes scenes unavailable in any other known presentation. One occurs after Ilona whips Daninsky. Ilona approaches Daninsky, who at this time has been completely transformed into a wolfman, slips off the top portion of her dress, and the two share an embrace and fondlings. A side view of Perla Cristal's left breast is momentarily visible. The other nude scene occurs toward the end of the film when Waldemar and Karen share a bed after roaming the Wolfstein castle in search of a way out.  (It must have been tiring walking around the castle!). Both of Karen's breasts are shown when she lies back on the bed.

 


The New Spanish Divisia DVD

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