My friends…would October be the horror month without Paul Naschy? The Spanish horror enthusiast turned master of his own mythos? Could I really go this long without WALDEMAR DANINSKY??? Nope!
For anyone that has seen a Naschy werewolf film, Night of the Howling Beast (or my preferred title) The Werewolf Against The Yeti has to be a favorite! You get a little bit of everything in this film, which is one of Naschy’s strongest suits. A pre-titles expedition in Tibet is besieged by The Shaggy D.A. / A renegade Yeti! Ouch. Enter Waldemar Daninsky, the Wolf of many origins and man of many tragedies. He decides it is time to investigate Tibet and ends up…well, you can probably guess. Toss in bandits with bad skin conditions, a wicked she-bitch played by the wonderful Silvia Solar, the usual love story, lots of werewolf attacks, nudity, werewolf captivity kink and transformations and we have ourselves a Naschy classic!
Sure, there are some characters and plot, but lets get to the good stuff! Looking in to the missing Yeti Bait Expedition, Daninsky finds himself wanting to do something stupid that we just know is going to get him THE CURSE. Yep… After being told of a hidden passage that nobody wants to go near, our man ends up being stranded in the cold by his guide. Unlucky Waldemar stumbles in to a cave to find two beautiful women.
Alright, is Daninsky really all that unlucky? I’d love to say that it is because Naschy wrote many of his films that he always comes out on top in the sex sweepstakes. He can score as a Hunchback! He gets the kinky sex when he plays a necrophiliac gravedigger! And most of all, he can get tons of women when he is randomly wandering around a frozen Tibetan wilderness that happens to be stalked by a Yeti! Good one…
Alright, I’m not feeling sorry for the guy at all, but you lay down with sexy women that strip down to double team random strongmen and you end up with….THE MARK OF THE BEAST. Silly Daninsky, they may be tricks, but now you get the treat of being the werewolf. Luckily there is a woman that loves you enough to set you free. But results on that are usually mixed!
From there things get completely out of hand. His friends are captured by the grandiose and pulp styled villain Sekkar Khan and his crazy “doctor” Wandessa! He transforms into a werewolf and eats people! And just when it can’t worse for Waldemar and his pals, things take a nasty turn as the crazed witch woman decides to practice a little sliced thin deli meat / voodoo healing techniques to help out Sekkar Khan with some HyperAcne! Behold, one of the best bit of cruel gruel in Spanish Horror Cinema of the 70s…
The Werewolf and the Yeti is a classic of Naschy horror, it features a load of elements of traditional horror and adventure films from days gone by that are put into a spin cycle of love, affection and most of all imagination by it’s author and star. Sure, the direction is not perfect and I would like to have seen Carlos Aured take a clawed swipe at the material, but it is never so flat that you can’t enjoy the leaping werewolf snarling into the face of it’s victims or fellow monsters.
The cast is really good in every role, most especially Luis Induni as Sekkar Khan and Silvia Solar burns up the screen as Wandessa. When Khan says “Wandessa, you are a veritable devil” I wanted to cheer along. She and Naschy have great chemistry and the usual bound Daninsky and Vampire / Witch Woman sequence is outstanding.
Naschy looks great and does a lot of physical stuff (I assume that is a stuntman doing the horseback sequence, which I love) and gets the girls at every turn. The ending is so different that it is a welcome surprise…I love my downbeat Spanish Cinema-but watching Naschy and Grace Mills wander off into the middle of NOWHERE, TIBET is really shocking!
Fun for everyone, this is must see October viewing. Nothing says Halloween like Naschy in Werewolf make-up and I can’t wait to watch another one this month. Hmmm…which one shall it be?