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Werewolves haven’t fared too well in movies, at least when compared to other monsters like vampires and zombies. If pressed to name a classic werewolf movie, most people would probably mention The Wolf Man; some may note An American Werewolf in London, and others may even talk about the Jack Nicholson/Michelle Pfeiffer movie Wolf (which is actually one of my favorites). The point, of course, is that there just not that many truly great werewolf movies out there, and this one is definitely not going to change that.
The impetus behind this movie seems to be “You know what The Wolf Man really needed? More tits and blood.” Because other than that there aren’t that many differences between this movie and the Lon Chaney Jr. classic: you have your standard pentagrams, your standard gypsies, and your standard repressed, tortured soul from the upper crust of society. Even the werewolf effects are practically the same.
The movie begins with two knights fighting with cardboard swords and shields. It turns out that one of them was the husband of the leader of a coven of Satan-worshiping witches. After he’s dispatched the lord of the land sends soldiers to capture the coven members. The witches are all hung except for the leader who needs to be burned at the stake for some reason. As she’s burning, the witch rattles off an incredibly vague curse—filled with more provisions than a legal document—on the lord. Essentially she says that one day a descendant of the lord will harm one of her people (Gypsies, I’m guessing), and when that happens a horrible curse will befall him (women seem to be exempt) and his descendants. How this affects the actual lord who put her to death, I’m not sure, but she seemed pretty happy with it and goes to her death praying for Satan to take her to Hell.
Fast forward a couple hundred years and the witch’s ridiculously circuitous plan is nearly one quarter complete when the current Lord Daninsky accidentally shoots a Gypsy while he’s hunting a curiously dog-looking wolf. This seems to be the sign, because an old hag who may or may not have been part of the original coven declares that it’s time for revenge (take that former lord!). So she gathers the rest of her coven, has them strip naked, and summons Satan or else one of Satan’s middle managers who is dressed in black from head to toe. What follows is about five minutes of what I can only describe as French Impressionist porn where the faceless, black clad figure has simulated sex with each of the women in the coven. Somehow this determines who will be the one to deliver the curse to the lord. The lucky girl then seduces the lord, bites him on the nipple with a wolf skull covered in what looks like tomato soup (but is supposed to be her blood), and then runs away.
Oh, and there’s also stuff about superstitious peasants, an insane killer wandering the woods, and the daughters of some geologist from Budapest, but by the time the curse is invoked you’re probably turning off the DVD player and watching a rerun of American Idol or something equally important and interesting.
Now there are times when a bad movie can be fun to watch, but this isn’t one of them. Quite frankly, it’s boring. Even the crass exploitation scenes are dull and semi-disturbing. The description on the back of the DVD case promises copious nudity and graphic violence, but when the nudity takes place with faceless, black clad minion of Satan (or Satan, it wasn’t clear), and the graphic violence ends with veins spurting tomato soup instead of blood, then it’s not worth watching.
The movie was presented in 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, and most of the time the picture was fine, but there were moments during night scenes where it was very difficult to tell just what was going on. The sound, though, was much worse. There were two audio tracks, English and Castilian, both Mono 2.0. The dialogue was so low that I had to turn on the subtitles so I could follow the story.
Castilian Trailer (running time: 3:42)
English Trailer (running time: 3:12)
Coming into this picture, I thought this would be pretty fun, like the old Hammer Horror films. Unfortunately, this is just a bad movie; there’s nothing fun or scary about it. Not recommended.
Navarre Corporation presents Curse of the Devil. Directed by Carlos Aured. Starring Paul Naschy, Faviola Falcon, Vida Molina, and Maritza Olivares. Written by Jacinto Molina. Running time: 85 minutes. Rated NR. Released on DVD: June 10, 2008. Available at Amazon.com.