Curse of the Devil DVD Review
Written by Bad Ash
DVD released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Directed by Charles Aured
Written by Paul Naschy
1973, Region 1 (NTSC), 84 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 6th, 2002
Paul Naschy as Waldemar Daninsky
Fay Falcon as Kinga
*Note* there are no credits at the end of this film to specify the actors and their roles. Info above provided by IMDB.
The movie starts off in Medieval Times, where a Satan Worshiper is duelling the King to the death. Once the Satanist is defeated in battle, the rest of his Coven are rounded up and summarily executed. Before one of the witches is burned, she pronounces a curse on the descendants of the King. Cut to (presumably) the late 1800’s where one of the King’s descendants (Waldemar) is out hunting and accidentally kills a werewolf. (Why his assistant is carrying silver bullets is not explained.) Upon doing this, the Satanists promptly invoke the curse and transform him into a werewolf.
At this point, the local Sheriff informs him that a madman is on the loose in his area. While out hunting one day, Waldemar rescues a young lady (Kinga) who is hanging from a cliff, and they develop a romance. However, Kinga’s sister tries to seduce Waldemar and is murdered by him after he transforms into a werewolf. More murders occur and the townspeople, unaware of his nature, blame the madman for the murder. Once the madman turns up slaughtered, the townspeople discover that he is, in fact, a werewolf, and set out to kill him. At the same time Kinga is determined to cure him of his curse before the townspeople can destroy him. Will she succeed, or will the townspeople have their justice?
I’ve never been a big fan of the old Italian/Spanish Horror movies of the 70’s (some zombie movies starring a certain Danger Seeker being the exceptions), and this movie has not changed my mind in that regard. Extremely slow pacing, bad acting, bad gore effects, and probably the worst looking blood on screen ever. (Was there a sale on pink latex paint at the local hardware shop?) The title is also very misleading, as the movie is actually a werewolf movie, and other that the above mentioned Satanic Cult, really has nothing to do with the Devil. Although this movie was not my forte’, it definitely had its positive side also. The movie was apparently filmed on location, and as a result, everything has a genuine look to it. I particularly liked the overall look of the movie, and felt that all of the locations were very well designed, from the interiors of the various locations, to the forest areas, as shown in some of the included screenshots. Also, the movie features a generous amount of nudity, which is always a plus.
Video and Audio:
Considering this is a lesser known movie from the '70s, Anchor Bay has done a phenomenal job with the video. Presented in Anamorphic Widescreen, other than the occasion speck, the picture quality is exceptional given the source. Blacks are deep, colors are vibrant (which unfortunately makes the blood look even faker), and there is no discernible edge enhancement, graininess, or artifacting. The beginning scene set in Medieval Times, has a yellowish, soft look to it, but I believe this was intention to convey an ‘In the past’ feel. An amazing transfer.
Nothing special with audio here, the film is presented in basic Mono sound. All sounds were clear, with no audible hiss or chopping. There is minimal use of music, mostly for dramatic effect. The dialogue, while crystal clear, has that ‘studio’ sound to it, and as a result does not sound natural within the movie, particularly during outdoor scenes. This is a result of the original dubbing process, and is no fault of Anchor Bay, who have produced the sound as it was originally made. Extra point for the clarity of the sound, excellent transfer.
Not a lot of extras included in this movie. Of note, though, is an interview with Paul Naschy, who plays the Werewolf in the movie. He speaks on a number of things from body building to how he got the role in the movie. Actually an interesting interview to read. (The interview is actually subtitled.) Also of note is a Gallery of images from Naschy’s many old Movie Posters. Some of these are quite interesting to view. Rounding it out was a Bio of Paul Naschy, and a trailer for the film that was unbelievably entertaining in a pure cheese way. Normally this would rate lower, but given the fact that this is a very obscure movie, I give it an extra point just for the fact that it contains what it does.
While ultimately I didn’t particularly care for this movie, that would be a matter of personal taste. However, if you are a fan of Paul Naschy or Spanish Horror in general, then you will be happy to know that Anchor Bay has done an amazing job in bringing this obscure title home on DVD. Audio and Video transfers are about as clear as they could be, on par with most major film transfers, and they have even seen fit to include some extras for the fans of this movie.