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Film Review: The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman (1970)


“Elvira is traveling through the French countryside with her friend Genevieve, searching for the lost tomb of a medieval murderess and possible vampire, Countess Wandessa. They find a likely site in the castle of Waldemar Daninsky, who invites the women to stay as long as they like. As Waldemar shows Elvira the tomb that supposedly houses the countess, she accidentally causes the vampire to come back to life, hungrier than ever. Daninsky has a hidden secret of his own, but will it be enough to save the two girls from becoming Wandessa’s next victims?” (courtesy IMDB)

Imagine what would happen if a group of twelve-year-olds decided to make their own version of the old Universal monster movies during the seventies. If you can picture that, then you have a pretty good idea of what The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman (1970) is like, both conceptually and technically. Consider yourself warned. I could complain about the bad dubbing, the threadbare settings, or the tacky sound effects in The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman, but what makes this a very bad movie is how the characters behave, compared to the way real people would act in the same situation. Many jokes have been made over the years about how stupid the characters in horror movies are, but The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman beats them all to the punch…line.

There’s the opening scene of The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman, with Two Men In A Morgue – sounds like a new hit sitcom – anyway, two guys examine the body of a gentleman who was supposedly a werewolf. One man posits that the corpse was indeed a werewolf. The other guy is obviously a Man Of Science, because his reply is a derisive one. However, he is willing to entertain his friend’s notions to the point of trying to disprove them. Now, anyone who has watched a few horror movies must have been covering their eyes in disbelief. Not only is this scientist Meddling With Forces He Does Not Understand, he is doing it in the middle of the night, during a full moon, which is of course the worst time to do anything around a werewolf, even a dead one.

Meanwhile in Paris, Elveera says goodbye to her boyfriend. It must be Paris, because the windowless bar in which this scene takes place has a small display of postcards featuring Paris landmarks. Really! I’m not saying that a film must be made on location to be convincing, but they could have tried just a little harder at faking it. Even a bit of Seine stock footage would have helped this case. Elveera doing some kind of study on a notorious figure in French history named Countess Wandessa. Wandessa drained virgins of all their blood, and then killed them. How exactly she managed to drain their blood without killing them first isn’t made clear, but they’re described as separate acts.

Wandessa is obviously based on the notorious Hungarian Countess Elizabeth Bathory, though the movie has moved her to France. Oh, and Elveera has determined that she may have been a vampire. You reckon? Elveera’s hot girlfriend Genevieve is played by Barbara Capell, and she’s the main reason not to change the channel. They head off into the, ahem, ‘French’ countryside. It also happens that this estate comes equipped with Waldemar’s crazy, homicidal sister and a shack out the back with chains and bloodstains on the wall. But none of this deters Elveera, who manages to fall in love with Waldemar and disturb Wandessa’s grave, releasing the vampire lady to stalk the land again.

If the scene in the morgue wasn’t bad enough, there’s an even dumber scene later on. When Elveera, Genevieve and Waldemar find the tomb of Wandessa they find the remarkably well-preserved corpse with a silver crucifix sticking out of its chest. Genevieve blithely pulls the crucifix out. Then she cuts herself on something and the blood drips in the corpse’s mouth. Waldemar proceeds to recount the legend about how Wandessa will come to life if the crucifix is removed and the red breath falls into her mouth. And then they all just walk away, apparently unconcerned that they have released ultimate evil. Come on, it’s not like these people don’t believe in the supernatural! One of them is a damn werewolf, after all!

Jacinto Molina aka Paul Naschy aka James Molin, the screenwriter, has squeezed out dozens of mediocre horror flicks, twelve of which feature the Waldemar Daninsky character. Through the application of tenacity and fake fur, the multi-monikered man has made himself a screen legend. I think the real, ahem, ‘showpiece’ of The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman is the final few minutes, when Wally goes on a hairy rampage and gets around to fighting the titular vampire woman. It makes Mexican wrestling look like Jackie Chan, and might be the best time to wander off to the kitchen to put the kettle on. Anyway, please join me next week when I have the opportunity to give you another swift kick in the good-taste unit with a far better terror-filled excursion to the dark side of Hollywood for…Horror News! Toodles!

The Werewolf Versus Vampire Woman (1970)

About Nigel Honeybone

"Rondo Award Winner Nigel Honeybone's debut was as Hamlet's dead father, portraying him as a tall posh skeleton. This triumph was followed in Richard III, as the remains of a young prince which he interpreted as a tall posh skeleton. He began attracting starring roles. Henry VIII was scaled down to suit Honeybone's very personalised view of this famous king. Honeybone suggested that perhaps he really was quite skeletal, quite tall, and quite posh. MacBeth, Shylock and Othello followed, all played as tall, skeletal and posh, respectively. Considering his reputation for playing tall English skeletons, many believed that the real Honeybone inside to be something very different, like a squat hunchback perhaps. Interestingly enough, Honeybone did once play a squat hunchback, but it was as a tall posh skeleton. But he was propelled into the film world when, in Psycho (1960), he wore women's clothing for the very first time. The seed of an idea was planted and, after working with director Ed Wood for five years, he realised the unlimited possibilities of tall posh skeletons who dressed in women's clothing. He went on to wear women's clothing in thirteen major motion pictures, including the Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) and Star Wars (1977), heartbreaking as the remains of Aunt Beru. With the onslaught of special effects came the demise of real actors in these sorts of roles. After modeling for CGI skeletons in Total Recall (1990) and Toys (1992), the only possible step forward for a tall posh skeleton was television, imparting his knowledge and expertise of the arts. As well as writing for the world's best genre news website HORROR NEWS, Nigel Honeybone also presents the finest examples of B-grade horror on THE SCHLOCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW seen every Friday night on TVS Television Sydney." (Fantales candy wrapper)

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