Dr. Jekyll versus the Werewolf (1972)

a.k.a. - Dr. Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo (ESP)

Paul Naschy returns as the cursed Wolf Man in the fifth film of the Hombre-Lobo series. Mondo Macabro UK release.

The Film

Deep in Transylvania, newly weds Imre Kosta and his young wife Justine are visiting the grave of his parents when the couple are attacked by bandits and Imre is killed - but just as they set on Justine, a man appears and brutally kills one of the bandits scaring the rest away. The man takes Justine to his castle and turns out to be Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy), a man stricken with the curse of the werewolf. While Justine is nursed back to health, Otvos - the leader of the bandit group - plots his revenge on Daninsky, eventually summoning up the townspeople to destroy the monster. Justine and Waldemar flee back to London where Justine contacts her friend Dr. Henry Jekyll (Jack Taylor), the grandson of the legendary doctor. Jekyll proposes a way to cure Waldemar of the werewolf curse - by injecting a serum that will turn him into the evil Mr. Hyde. When the moon rises, Hyde and the Werewolf will occupy the same body and hopefully kill each other. However, things soon go wrong and first the Wolfman then Mr. Hyde are set loose on an unsuspecting London, and the bodycount starts to rise...

Despite the schlocky exploitation title, this film actually boasts a very strong script written by lead actor Paul Naschy (he would script the vast majority of his films throughout his career). While the preceeding Werewolf Shadow (1971) had a very simplistic plot, full of holes, Dr. Jekyll versus the Werewolf has a surprisingly detailed, multi-part plot with lots of characters. After the London opening, for the next 30 minutes we are in Eastern Europe - Imre, who is built up as a major character gets killed off very suddenly and the character of Otvos, the local bandit, takes over the lead for a while while we are introduced to Daninsky and his past - when we head back to London, Dr. Jekyll and his assistant Sandra become major characters. This mix of leads gives the film the advantage in being able to kill off its major characters without damaging the flow of the storyline. The concept of turning Waldemar into Hyde may seem like nothing more than a marketing gimmick but it is obviously well thought through with some very clever twists and ideas and it is more entertaining and original than the basic monster mash movies, like Naschy's previous Assignment Terror (1969).

Director Leon Klimovsky is usually regarded today as little more than a workman-like director and most of the film looks very straight forward - but he does bring some interesting flair to the film in a couple of sequences - Waldemar's transformation to the Wolfman in a nightclub at the end of the film stands out as very impressive, with rapid shots of the full moon and some strobing effects. The Wolfman himself is impressive even in close-up, stylistically the same as the 1940s Lon Chaney Wolfman rather than the full-body-wolves of the 1980s exemplified in The Howling (1981). Anton Garcia Abril returns from Werewolf Shadow (1971) to score this film and we get a mix of the minimalist horror scores heard in the earlier film and the Blind Dead series and various contemporary jazz tracks in the London scenes.

Certainly in his earlier films Paul Naschy's acting is not always the most impressive, but he looks okay here - he particularly seems to be enjoying the role of Mr. Hyde (and the sneering in the part is remniscent of his later part as de Marnac in El Espanto Surge de la Tumba (1973)). Josť Marco fills the role of Imre very well and makes the short-lived character very likable. Although Euro-cult regular Jack Taylor acts well, he doesn't quite have the gravitas to play the experienced doctor Jekyll and simply seems too young.

Quite possibly the most original of Naschy's entire Hombre-lobo series, Dr. Jekyll versus the Werewolf is highly enjoyable, courtesy of a strong script and solid production. A must see for Naschy fans and of interest to all Euro-horror followers.

In Brief
Anyone famous in it? Paul Naschy - the Spanish horror icon who also starred in El jorobado de la Morgue (1973)
Jack Taylor - a Euro-cult regular who also appeared in Jess Franco's Count Dracula (1970)
Directed by anyone interesting? Leon Klimovsky - an Argentinian director who made a number of films in Italy and Spain during the Euro-boom, including the Spaghetti Western Su le mani, cadavere! Sei in arresto (1971).
Any gore or violence ? Some blood and a couple of brutal deaths.
Any sex or nudity? Nothing onscreen (see note in 'Cuts?' below)
Who is it for? Certainly of interest to Euro-cult/horror fans and a must see for Naschy collectors.

Visuals Original Aspect Ratio - 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen. Colour.
The disc is strong visually, good colours, very light grain, some light print damage is evident in certain scenes.
Audio Spanish mono - some hiss, but generally strong.
Subtitles English
Extras The disc includes:
  • 'Interview with Paul Naschy (Spanish language, English subtitled). Illustrated with stills from various films. Covers much ground, and provides extensive background to the film. (19m 06s)
  • "The Pain in Spain" - lengthy, detailed on-screen essay on Spanish Horror, some illustrations. English.
  • Biographies - some background and filmographies of the main four cast, director and composer. English.
Region Region 0 (ALL) - PAL
Other regions? Available in Spain, without English options. The unclothed print is available on bootleg discs in the US, although picture quality is low.
Cuts? The print is uncut as per the 'clothed' version of the film intended for Spanish domestic use. Therefore it is missing a few nude/sex scenes shot for export prints. Print language is Spanish.



All text in this review written by Timothy Young - July 2005, Feb 2006 and 11th January 2011.
Text from this review not to be used without authorization.

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