Review Date: May 18, 2002
Released by: Anchor Bay Entertainment
Release date: 8/6/2002
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes
The film opens during Medieval times, with King Daninsky (Paul Naschy) battling and ultimately defeating the leader of a witches covent. The remaining members of the covent are gathered up and hung. The last member of the covent, the leader's wife, is tied to a stake to be burned alive. Before dying she curses the king, promising that his future offspring will live a "hell on earth."
The local police office pays a visit to inform Waldemar that an insane maniac has escaped from custody. The officer believes the murderer is roaming about on Waldemar's property. Later, while out hunting in the woods, Waldemar rescues a damsel in distress. The damsel is Kinga, daughter of an engineer that just moved into town. Waldemar and Kinga begin to develop a romance. Kinga's sister Maria tries steal Waldemar away, but she's savagely murdered in the process. Before long many of the townsfolk are violently murdered. The suspicion is that the escaped murderer is responsible, until the townsfolk discover his body. Someone in town knows of Waldemar's curse. They believe he is a werewolf, responsible for all of the recent murders. They gather their torches and shotguns, determined to stop the monster before it can kill again. Kinga, believing her love for Waldemar can overcome the curse, sets out to confront him after his transformation. Will she end up as the werewolf's next meal? Or can her true love for Waldemar overcome the curse?
Curse of the Devil is the Spanish take on The Wolf Man. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I didn't expect much, yet it turned out to be an entertaining movie. It's a bit slow at the beginning, but once Kinga appears the story begin moving at a good pace. I like how many scenes were shot on location, unlike The Wolf Man which was clearly shot on stages. Many shots take place outdoors in the forest, which adds environment and atmosphere to the movie. The makeup of the wolf man is a bit dated, especially after movies like The Howling and American Werewolf in London. However, considering that this is a wolf man, I think the makeup is decent. If I were to imagine a wolf man, the appearance of this one would just about fit the picture. In The Howling and American Werewolf in London, it's a transformation into a werewolf - there's no 'man' involved after the transformation, so it isn't really fair to compare the two.
The acting is decent all around, and even the story itself is enjoyable. I like the mix of witches briefly thrown in as an explanation for the curse. There's a lot of eroticism in Curse of the Devil, which obviously isn't present in The Wolf Man (considering it was an American film from the 40's, that isn't very surprising). There are numerous murder scenes and plenty of gore shots featuring the infamous red paint blood. If you're a fan of the original Wolf Man, give this Spanish take on the story a try. I'm sure you'll enjoy it.
Curse of the Devil is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Anchor Bay did a great job as usual with the transfer. The image is very clean overall with only a few scenes containing light grain. There are a handful scenes where minor print damage - nicks and scratches mostly - is present. Colors are a bit on the pale side and the image is a bit soft; that's not too surprising considering its a foreign film from the early 70s. This is certainly the best Curse of the Devil has looked since it was first released, and I doubt it's possible to get it looking any better then this. I'm rating the Image Quality with a B.
The English dubbed soundtrack is in stereo. Not much to say on this except that both dialogue and music are consistently clear and audible. No problems were found.
Curse of the Devil is light supplements, but the ones included are enjoyable. First is a 15 minute "Interview With the Werewolf." It features an interview with Paul Naschy, who plays the werewolf. Paul also wrote various scripts to Spanish horror movies, including Mark of the Wolf Man. He explains how he got started in the movie business; how he jumped from movies to body building and then back to movies; and how he eventually landed into the role of a werewolf. It's an interesting and informative interview.
Next is a photo gallery containing dozens (well over 60) of artwork and stills from various Paul Naschy movies. Rounding out the supplements is a Paul Naschy bio and a theatrical trailer for Curse of the Devil.
Curse of the Devil was a pleasant surprise; it's a stylish take on the Wolf Man story that fans of classic horror will enjoy. I know many of the readers here will enjoy the ample amounts of nudity in the film as well. Anchor Bay did a great job with the DVD, providing a top notch transfer and a few enjoyable extras.
Movie - B-
Image Quality - B
Sound - B+
Supplements - B
- Running time - 1 hour 24 minutes
- 1 Disc
- Chapter stops
- Dolby Stereo
- 15 minute "Interview With the Werewolf"
- Photo gallery
- Paul Naschy bio
- Theatrical trailer