The great inquisitor Ireneus Daninsky has Countess Bathory burned alive and her female followers hanged. Before perishing in the flames the countess puts a curse on Daninsky and his descendants. Four centuries later, Waldemar Daninsky accidentally shoots a gypsy while hunting a wolf. The angry gypsies, who knew of the curse, summon up the Satan and the beautiful Ilona is chosen to seduce the young lord. During a night of love, Ilona bites Waldemar who turns into a werewolf killing his preys on full moon nights. His murders are first attributed to a mad killer escaped from the asylum. Waldemar, who suspects the killer is none other than himself, falls in love with Kinga, the daughter of a professor from Budapest. When Maria, Kinga's jealous younger sister, manages to seduce Waldemar and sleep with him, she is killed by the young man, once again turned into a werewolf. Written by
This was my fifth entry from Paul Naschy's signature series of Waldemar Daninsky werewolf films the others, with their respective ratings, were FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR (1968; **), THE FURY OF THE WOLFMAN (1970; BOMB), WEREWOLF SHADOW (1970; *1/2), NIGHT OF THE HOWLING BEAST (1975; **1/2) and THE CRAVING (1980; **1/2). As can be seen, they're a pretty mixed bag considering their reputation among horror-film fans; what's interesting in them is that, as opposed to Lon Chaney's Lawrence Talbot series for Universal (which were clearly the template for the later Spanish variant), Naschy/Daninsky gets cursed with lycanthropy all over again with each new entry and the werewolf make-up is also different from one film to the other!
While I watched all the other films via ragged Public Domain and, as far as I can recall, pan & scan prints, CURSE OF THE DEVIL was culled from Anchor Bay's R1 DVD: however, this meant that the extra clarity and tidiness of the transfer also served to expose the film's budgetary limitations (particularly the fake gore) and slipshod technique all the more; the nail in the coffin, then, is supplied by listless dubbing and the ludicrous English dialogue (with a couple of sure-fire howlers when the police report with news of an escaped lunatic to landowner Daninsky, he can only offer the deadpan remark "Sounds bad" and, later, during a village meeting concerning the brutal killings by the werewolf, the locals lash out at the police's inadequacy causing the sole representative of the law, ridiculously outnumbered, to rebut this onslaught with the limp protestation "Look, man, I'm all alone here!"). One of the more risible moments occurs towards the end during the showdown between the werewolf and the Chief of Police: since the latter starts throwing stones at the former, rather than physically attack him as is his fashion, Daninsky chooses to lift a huge rock and smash his face in with it!
Anyway, the plot starts off with Naschy as a zealous medieval knight who despatches a Satanic cult: a witch subsequently curses him as she's being burned at the stake; the scene then relocates to a few centuries later, where the latest Daninsky lord shoots a gypsy werewolf while hunting: the latter turns out to have been a descendant of his ancestor's enemies and a young woman is thereby commissioned, after having cavorted with the devil during an invocation, to give Naschy the mark of the wolfman. The second half of the narrative sees our hero befriend a couple of young sisters one loves him (and is finally instructed on how to kill a werewolf by Naschy's long-suffering old servant-woman), while the other is a nymphomaniac (whom he kills when transformed, as he also does the girls' parents!).
There's little more to say except that the film is eminently watchable in a naïve sort of way but it's certainly not of the quality that the "Euro-Cult" stable could deliver at its best
5 of 8 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?