This 1975 Spanish film is known by several titles. In Spain, it was called La Maldicion De La Bestia. In some other European countries, it was released as either Night of the Howling Beast or Hall of the Mountain King. In the United States, it was released under the title The Werewolf and the Yeti.
Regardless of which title you see the film under, this is the eighth of 12 films in which Paul Naschy starred as Waldemar Danisky. Waldemar was a Polish nobleman who, in film after film, transformed into a werewolf so that he could battle some other monster. What set the Danisky films apart from other horror franchises is that each film was totally unrelated to the one that came before it. Every film featured Danisky getting transformed into a werewolf for the first time and the majority of them ended with Danisky dying. Even though Naschy was playing the same character, each film seemed to take place in a separate universe. Apparently, regardless of the reality that he found himself in, Danisky was always destined to become a werewolf. Talk about rotten luck!
Despite their bizarre lack of continuity, Naschy’s werewolf films were popular across Europe and, to a lesser extent the United States. Of course, in America and the UK, they were only released in badly dubbed versions. Indeed, the plot was often changed during dubbing depending on where the film was set to be released. As a result, it’s difficult to fairly judge both Naschy and his films. Paul Naschy had a definite physical presence but it’s rare that anyone ever heard his real voice. In most of the Danisky films that I’ve seen, Naschy seems to play Danisky as if he is in a permanently bad mood. But, I guess if your entire existence revolved around getting turned into a werewolf every year or so, you’d be in a bad mood too.
In this film, Waldemar Danisky is an explorer who is romantically involved with the daughter of Professor Lacombe (Josep Castillo Escalona). Lacombe is planning on leading an expedition into the Himalayas, despite the presence of pirates, warlords, and Yeti! Danisky warns Lacombe against attempting it but, in the end, he still agrees to serve as the expedition’s guide. Unfortunately, this film’s version of Waldemar Danisky isn’t very good at his job and he soon gets separated from the expedition. The professor and his daughter are captured by a group of mountain pirates who torture them and make plans to sell them into slavery. Meanwhile, Danisky stumbles across a cave that is inhabited by two women who also happen to be …. WEREWOLVES! It’s not long before Danisky gets bitten and finds himself transformed into a werewolf. He uses his new werewolf powers to kill the women in the cave and then he heads off to rescue the professor. It’s a good thing that Waldemar’s a werewolf because it turns out that the pirates have a …. YETI!
Yes, this is a weird and incoherent film. Of course, that’s the main reason why it’s hard not to enjoy this silly little film. It’s quickly paced and, like many of Naschy’s film, it operates on its own strain of dream logic. The most interesting thing about the film is that no one is particularly shocked to discover that Waldemar Danisky has been transformed into a werewolf and Danisky himself seems to accept it as having been inevitable. One gets the feeling that the expedition watched a few Paul Naschy films before heading to the Himalayas and, as a result, they knew exactly what to expect. As I mentioned above, it’s hard to judge Naschy as an actor because his films were so poorly dubbed. But, you can judge him as a werewolf and he really puts his heart into fighting that Yeti. Waldemar Danisky is the werewolf that you want on your side.
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