What, oh what could be more painful than watching Lon Chaney Jr. attempt to play a role in a movie? Undoubtedly, it’s watching him play two roles in the same movie, as painfully demonstrated in the 1935 oddity; A Scream in the Night.
Ol’ Junior’s not the only problem;
- The film is dingy.
- It features the slowest-moving police inspector on the planet. You could be charitable and say he’s “inexorable” but no, he’s glacier-like. I can relate: t’s my personal default pace, but as entertainment?
- It features a parakeet who gives better line readings than any human actor in the flick. A parakeet.
- It features Mr. Chaney playing a scene with himself – badly on both sides. At least, when he played the Larry Talbot/Wolfman combo (over and over), one of his characters simply slobbered, slaughtered, and neglected personal hygiene.
Peter Sellers did this better; Dr. Strangelove (1964). George Zucco did it better; Dead Men Walk (1943). Hell, Hayley Mills did it better; The Parent Trap (1961).
Curious and dreadful.
I of course loved it.
Tonight’s delight is a perennial favorite from Spain and West Germany; THE WEREWOLF VS THE VAMPIRE WOMAN (1971). Maybe “perennial” is a bit strong. Maybe “favorite” is a bit strong.
What’s that? The title’s not familiar to you?
Perhaps you know it as SHADOW OF THE WEREWOLF, or LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS, or SATAN VS THE WOLF MAN…….or BLOOD MOON?
Could it possibly be you’ve never seen this epic?
This is a jolly little lycanthropic tale featuring Paul Naschy (aka Jacinto Molina), an ex-circus strongman who fashioned a career by playing a werewolf in about a dozen films. I guess you could think of Mr. Naschy as the Lon Chaney Jr. of Spain…I guess. But I think he just ran away from the circus to meet girls.
In this flick, he met Gaby Fuchs.
Gaby Fuchs plays a young vampire researcher with a mass of red hair and a mass of poor judgement as demonstrated;
- She falls in love with the werewolf within 24 hours of meeting him.
- She allows her girlfriend into her bedroom though she knows she’s a vampire with less than sisterly leanings.
- She accepts a ride to the town’s post office with a truly creepy guy who explains; “I’m afraid the post office is closed, but I’d like to show you our butcher shop.” Can I buy a ticket for that tour?
- Her outfits.
The titular vampire is veiled, impervious to bullets, adroit with chains and manacles, laughs a lot, and moves in slow-motion; an unusual skill set for 1971, but could perhaps qualify her to run for president today.
I loved it.