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Nuno Leal Maia
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n the 16th Century, the lycanthrope Waldemar Daninsky goes from his native Europe to Japan, seeking a way to cure himself of being a werewolf. Only a Japanese sorcerer named Kian and a magic silver sword can save him.
I'm a Paul Naschy fan. One thing about him is that I usually enjoy his films when they are good or bad and there are certainly a number in each column in his filmography. This film is several big steps down from his best later career comeback movies. The thing to know about this movie is though it is a werewolf movie that's only one element to a really crazy plot that is mostly sort of a version of Island of Doctor Moreau. Naschy's character is named Moreau. Another character is named Corman--as in Roger Corman. So the movie isn't to be taken seriously. But it's not really all that funny either. There are three plot lines in the film and the story cuts abruptly back and forth from them and all combine in the end. One is the mad doctor which is where Naschy is. One is a detective and another guy investigating werewolf murders in the jungle. The final and most tedious is the "bunch of kids in the woods with a camcorder" story.
The kids at one point get high and we are treated to bizarre trip "visions" they have. One is an Opera singing Inca.
Naschy scenes are in Spanish so they are subtitles for Portuguese speaking Brazlians. I, of course watched it with English subtitles that appeared over the Portuguese ones making them very hard to read as all the letters blended together. Naschy is the only one in the film who can act and he's thankfully given much of the dialog but with this problem that was not a virtue. There is a lot of reuse of aerial shots of jungle. Did I mention that the crazy doctor is also somehow connected to Amazons, female ones? It's all really crazy but not too involving as it's pretty sloppy. Again there isn't that much werewolf action. It's tough to tell if Naschy is even really in the werewolf costume and there is no on screen transformation scene either. I just feel that the werewolf was the thing that interested the filmmakers the least of all the elements they had going. And, of course, Naschy's greatest fame is as a werewolf so it's wrong headed from the start.
There is one scene with Naschy mostly unclothed that is not flattering. There is some other more pleasant nudity regularly scattered about the film. Gore isn't too well done and the film has perhaps the worst looking fake moon in movie history.
I can't say there are many films like this. There is so much stuff in this film it should be much more entertaining than it is. It's just so poorly made and uneven that it can't earn too many points from me.
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