WEREWOLF WOMAN (1976)
Director: Rino Di Silvestro
Shriek Show/Media Blasters
Originally released in the U.S. by Dimension under the more apt title, THE LEGEND OF THE WOLF WOMAN, this Italian-lensed terror is one of the most exploitive lycanthropy flicks you'll ever witness. Not really a werewolf movie in the classic sense, it's more or less deals with a woman with major psychological problems, mainly her believe that she's a modern-day reincarnation of a she-wolf. But with French actress Annik Borel in the title role, this film definitely has bounce and bite!
Borel plays a young woman named Daniela, still ruffled by a childhood rape incident. When Daniela discovers a photo of a look-alike relative accused of werewolfism, she enters a nightmare world and a downward path of psychotic violence. While under her wealthy father's (Tino Carraro) surveillance, she witnesses her sister and her husband (Dagmar Lassander and Andrea Scotti) making love, and subsequently lures the husband out into the woods to seduce him and take a chunk out of his neck with her bare teeth. His death is ruled an accident (blamed on ignorant watch dogs!) and Daniela ends up in a mental institution.
Now under restraints in a ward, Daniela shouts out Exorcist-like obscenities to a polite nurse and her still-mourning sister, and later escapes with the help of a nymphomaniac lady patient who is stabbed in the process. Along the way, Daniela munches on a number of other male and female victims and eventually falls into the hands of a friendly movie stuntman (Howard Ross of NEW YORK RIPPER fame) whom she trusts and falls in love with. More rape and revenge ensues, and a narrator attempts to convince us that all this was based on real events which occurred in 1968!
The only time we really see Borel as a werewolf is in the opening sequence. Set 200 years earlier, is shows her dancing nude by a campfire, subsequently turning into a furry creature (I would loved to have been the makeup guy who applied the strands of hair to her body), and being brought down by angry villagers. The rest of the show has her as the modern descendant who although is not really a wolf, acts as appropriately nasty as any of her celluloid counterparts. The film works on different levels of trash cinema (even borrowing from the popular 70s "exorcism" and "rape and revenge" genres), and only bogs down during the dull police investigations (by American 1960s spy film star Frederick Stafford). The wild escapades and hallucinations (including a horny lizard) of Borel's character keep things lively, and she's quite intense, keeping things unpredictable with a nice blend of sensuality offset by disturbing psychotic behavior. It's a wonder that the shapely and somewhat talented starlet didn't get better roles in her heyday (she served as leggy background furniture in films like BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE-DEVILS and TRUCK TURNER).
When released in the U.S., WEREWOLF WOMAN was viewed in a much-truncated form which also surfaced on home video. The only way we could see the uncut version was through blurry bootlegs from foreign sources. Now, Shriek Show redeems the problem with this excellent DVD presentation, delivering the film in its 100-minute full strength version. Presented in an Anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 widescreen transfer, the disc is a pleasure to behold. Colors are certainly acceptable, and the print is clean with some minor grain in several dark scenes. Detail is pretty sharp throughout. The mono audio is presented as the (preferable) English-dubbed track, rendered well in Dolby Digital Stereo.
I'm not a big fan of hairy women, but I'm sure some of you perverts are into that. :-P Enjoy some more sleaze.