José María Zabalza, 1972
Starring: Paul Naschy, Perla Cristal, Verónica Luján
Completely ignoring the events of the previous two El Hombre Lobo films, The Mark of the Wolfman and Assignment Terror, Waldemar Daninsky becomes a werewolf because he is attacked by a yeti (!) on a scientific expedition to Tibet. When he returns home, he learns his wife has been having an affair with one of his students. He transforms into a werewolf and kills them both, but then is accidentally killed himself. One of his colleagues, Dr. Ilona Ehrmann, reads some Tibetan manuscripts and revives Daninsky in order to subject him to mind control experiments. It turns out that Dr. Ehrmann has an asylum hidden in an abandoned castle full of her abandoned experiments. Daninsky is unaware that Ehrmann has also revived his wife, who awakens to turn into a werewolf by the light of the full moon…
Written by Paul Naschy aka Jacinto Molina, La curia del Hombre Lobo aka The Wolfman Never Sleeps is undeniably one of the most insane entries in the El Hombre Lobo series, though also one of the weakest. Though the release date is 1972, the film was actually made in 1970, but a distributor wasn’t found until two years later. Allegedly most of the blame should go to director José María Zabalza. I’ve heard varying stories that he was drunk the entire time, cried over the production, and occasionally sent his 14-year-old nephew to direct scenes. No wonder Naschy was embarrassed by this film.
The plot is simply too confusing and fast paced. The editing is a major issue. As early as the beginning, the film cuts abruptly from the Tibetan scenes with no explanation. A lengthy scene is randomly added in from an earlier El Hombre Lobo film, there are jarring flashbacks, and enough subplots that if you look away for a minute, you’ll be thoroughly confused. The acting is mostly subpar and the atmosphere pales in comparison to The Mark of the Werewolf. I will say that the film is an improvement over Assignment Terror — another plot about mad scientists experimenting on Daninsky — but it is far from the best entries in the series.
I don’t even know where to start, because there is so much randomness and insanity going on within 90 minutes. I’ll try to take it chronologically. The concept of a yeti transforming Daninsky into a werewolf was further explored in La malediction de la bestia (1975), but here it is not given more explanation. Why does he go to Tibet? No idea. Dr. Ehrmann’s mind control experiments are also barely explained, though she is willing to go to any lengths (torture, death, werewolf resurrection) for science. It is refreshing to see an attractive woman as a thoroughly un-ironic evil scientist.
In addition to all that, Daninsky has to deal with a serious car wreck, his wife cheating on him, being struck by lightening, grave digging, and a castle full of brainwashed lunatics who regularly break out in orgies and violence. There is a mysterious, Phantom of the Opera-like masked man, someone in a suit of armor who attacks Daninsky and his lady friend out of nowhere, Dr. Ehrmann whips Daninsky in a lengthy scene, there are detectives scurrying about, werewolf murders, dead bodies, babes, Nazi doctors, and so on. It’s absolutely dizzying.
A lot more could have been done with the two main separate plots. Daninsky being turned into a werewolf in Tibet and coming home to learn of his wife’s infidelity could have some interesting implications, considering that his response is to murder her in cold blood. Dr. Ehrmann’s weird Pit and the Pendulum-like torture dungeon and dangerous, illicit experiments are enough of a plot to be a feature film on their own. These elements certainly have their entertaining moments and there’s plenty of fun within the film.
Though it is out of print, The Fury of the Wolfman is available on region 1 DVD. It’s also floating around online and I recommend watching it this way first. This is definitely not the first film to watch in the series, but anyone who loves trash cinema is going to have a great time watching this. It is in keeping with the kind of B-grade insanity found in House of Dracula, the script and editing are just far too much of a mess to please the average horror fan.