Paul Naschy: La Marca Del Hombre Lobo

Global horror fans must now say their prayers at night for Paul Naschy, the Spanish actor who became a sensation in LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE (1968) and kick-started a long career in genre exploitation films, who passed away apropos under the full moon on December 1. Naschy was one of the few horror stars who sought out to carve that niche for himself, and triumphed with his first hit, given the more subtle title, FRANKENTSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR, by dear old Sam Sherman for American consumption. Here’s my Netflix Streaming review:

From the sublime to the outre, I like to cover the waterfront. And this is an influential Spanish genre film whose silly title always popped up in the pages of Famous Monsters Of Filmland, Cinefantastique, The Monster Times, and the late, lamented Psychotronic. Paul Naschy became an international horror superstar with his lead role in LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO (THE MARK OF THE WOLFMAN) re-titled for American release as FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR only because Sam Sherman, famed exploitation distributor, needed a Frankenstein movie — hence the outrageous animated opening that explains the history of “Wolfstein.” Whatever the title, you can see why this film became a global hit. Shot in gorgeous Super 70 mm “Chill-O-Scope” (and 3-D!), stylishly directed by Enrique López Eguiluz, each frame is perfectly composed with lush depth of field and positively Bava-esque colored lighting. Naschy wrote the script, did the make-up and brings a great physicality to his role, leaping, snarling and biting, and he’s undoubtedly one of the screens great werewolves. Even better, halfway through the film the coolest vampire couple in cinema history arrive to try and use the poor werewolf for their satanic ends. This is an absolute 60’s Euro-horror classic and I’m dying to see this in 3-D.

I still haven’t seen a vast amount of Naschy, but I did recently pick up a one dollar VHS “Sinister Cinema” tape at Amoeba that only said “Drive-In Theater” on the sticker. Who could turn that down? Lo and behold, the tape turned out to be a rare, uncut copy of Naschy’s DR. JEKYLL VERSUS THE WEREWOLF (1972) replete with trailers and intermission fanfares. The film is of course ridiculous and non-sensical, but Naschy again turns in a dynamic physical performance amid the surprising sex, violence and sado-masochism. He was a one of a kind genre icon, and the twilight world of cinematic werewolves and vampires won’t be the same without his bloody growl.


One Response to “Paul Naschy: La Marca Del Hombre Lobo”

  1. RIP – Paul Naschy, 75, who drank blood, howled at the moon, swathed himself in bandages, and didn’t let a hunched back deter his dreams. But the “Boris Karloff of Spain” was no match for an even more horrific monster: pancreatic cancer.

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