If the name Paul Naschy doesn’t ring a bell, put down your beer and pay attention. Paul Naschy (real name Jacinto Molina) is a truly under-appreciated horror legend. When you think legendary horror personalities you think of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and The Chaney’s (Senior & Junior) but rarely will you hear Paul Naschy and in my opinion, that’s a damn shame. Though newer horror fans may not be familiar with the name, many are familiar with his long-running character, Waldemar Daninsky…The Werewolf! In my opinion, Naschy’s Daninsky belongs right up there with Chaney Jr.’s Larry Talbot in The Wolf Man and Naughton’s Kessler from American Werewolf in London.
Irenius Daninsky (Paul Naschy) meets Lord Bathory on the field of battle as he’s sworn to rid the land of the cursed Bathory Coven and their evil practices. After besting (and beheading) Bathory, he heads to the Bathory Castle in order to crash a black mass being performed by Elizabeth Bathory (Maria Silva). All of the witches are taken into custody and hung from the draw bridge of Daninsky’s castle. Like any good Crusader, he saves the “burning on the stake” thing for Elizabeth Bathory who curses Daninsky’s with her last breath. One of Daninsky’s descendants will accidentally kill one of the Bathory descendants and thus will set in motion the vile curse.
Decades later, Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy in a dual role) is the last remaining Daninsky having been raised by his housemaid Malitza (Ana Farra) and Maurice (Fernando Sánchez Polack) , Waldemar’s servant. He’s a man of privilege and great loneliness.
While tracking a wolf in the woods he accidentally shoots a man in the bushes (actually the wolf) and the dead man’s gypsy family (actually the Bathory Family) aren’t happy campers. This tragic death sets in motion the curse placed on the Daninsky family by Elizabeth Bathory. The curse involves one of the Bathory women, Ilona (Ines Morales), posing as a helpless damsel in order to get into his home. Once inside and trusted, she marks Waldemar with wolves’ teeth and curses Waldemar with the Grey Shadow. In other words…he’s going to turn into a werewolf.
The townsfolk look upon this attack as a bad omen as Daninsky was marked on Walpurgis and strange things happen on holidays with strange names! Fortunately for Daninsky there’s a murderous madman loose in the forests killing people which diverts the town’s attention.
Right up until they find the madman dead in a barn…dead for quite some time as a matter of fact. They immediately know this murdering monster is none other than a werewolf and it can be none other than Waldemar Daninsky. As the mob gathers, only one thing can stop the rampaging beast…a silver cross dagger is to be thrust into Daninsky’s heart by the woman that loves him…Kinga Wilowa (Fabiola Falcón).
Vile Satanists abound in this beautifully film Hammer-esque production! Not only was this a fun film but we get nudity and sex, the kind of nudity and sex that would see major cuts today if it were to play theatrically. Naschy is in top form in this Daninsky film and he looks as good as always. The man was a weightlifter back in his day so he’s built like a brick wall. It’s easy to see how he became such a famous star in Spain.
Anchor Bay’s release of Curse of the Devil looks fantastic! We don’t get a ton of extras but what we do get is quite cool. The extras include a 15 minute interview with Naschy, a bio, poster gallery and a trailer. I don’t see a 2-disc Special Edition of this release anytime soon so I’ll take what I can get. Take note, the film is dubbed. Whiners form a line to the left…then jump off a cliff. Subtitles are great but for older films like this, nothing beats dubbing. The more over-the-top the dubbing is, the more fun I have!
If you’re a fan of those old 60’s and 70’s Hammer Horror type films you’ve gotta check this film out. I believe you can purchase this film separately or in one Anchor Bay’s Fright Pack (The Devil Made Me Do It).