Sunday, March 8, 2015

La noche de Walpurgis - Subkultur Entertainment Blu-ray review

La noche del Walpurgis, a.k.a Werewolf Shadow, a.k.a. The Werewolf Against the Vampire Woman, a.k.a. Die Nacht der Vampire
Spain / West Germany, 1971
Directed by Leon Klimovski
Written by Jacinto Molina and Hans Munkel
Cast: Paul Naschy, Gaby Fuchs, Barbara Capell, Andres Resino, Yelena Samarina

Label - Subkultur Entertainment
Release Date - December 5, 2014
Running Time - 1.33.39
Aspect Ratio - 1.85:1
Video - 1080p, AVC
Audio - Spanish, German DTS-HD MA 1.0
Subtitles - German, English
Region Code - B

The Movie

As the movie starts we see two morticians rushing to a morgue at night to perform an autopsy on the recently killed Waldemar Daninsky. The locals killed him with two silver bullets claiming Daninsky is a werewolf. But the morticians think differently and in order to prove there's no such thing as a werewolf, one of them removes the silver bullets. Naturally Waldemar comes back to life, transforming into the bloodthirsty lycanthrope and kills both morticians. He flees to the nearby forests and kills a girl.

Two girls, Geneveive and Elvira are looking for the grave of vampire Countess Wandessa Darvula de Nadasdy. Of course they soon meet Waldemar who offers them his kind help to find the grave. Waldemar is looking for her grave too. He needs the silver dagger that killed the vampire to end his doomed life once and for all. They successfully find the grave but the vampire is brought back to life when Elvira cuts her arm and her blood drips onto the remains of Wandeassa. So begins the deadly battle between the two unholy creatures, the werewolf and the vampire woman.

La noche de Walpurgis is the fifth film in the Waldemar Daninsky franchise and one of the most successful ones. Paul Naschy (under his real name Jacinto Molina) once again wrote the screenplay but this time in collaboration with Hans Munkel. The director was Leon Klimovski, an Argentinian born director. La noche de Walpurgis was a starting point of a very successful collaboration between Klimovski and Naschy. They made some very successful movies together such as Doctor Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo a.k.a. Dr. Jekyll Versus the Werewolf (1972), La rebelion de las muertas a.k.a. Vengeance of the Zombies (1973), Una libelula para cada muerto a.k.a. A Dragonfly for Each Corpse (1974), El mariscal del infierno a.k.a. Devil's Possessed (1974) and Ultimo deseo a.k.a. The People Who Own the Dark to name a few. 

Besides working with Naschy, Klimovski made many other B-movies too, mostly spaghetti westerns and horror movies. Leon Klimovski was born on October 16th 1906 in Buenos Aires. He was a dentist. Klimovski was a big cinema fan and the founder of Cineclub in Argentina. He was financing theaters to show movies. Then he started to write screenplays and sometimes worked as an assistant director. In 1948 he directed his first movie El jugador. In the 1950's Klimovski moved to Spain. He was mostly directing comedies and melodramas. During the 60's when spaghetti westerns were very popular Klimovski jumped on the bandwagon and made some Spanish and Italian spaghetti westerns. One of the notable westerns made by Klimovski is Pochi dollari per Django. But he is most known for his efforts in horror cinema. Besides his aforementioned works with Naschy, Klimovski made a handful of other movies in the horror genre: La saga de los Dracula a.k.a. The Dracula Saga (1973),  La orgia nocturna de los vampiros a.k.a. The Vampires' Night Orgy (1974), El extra├▒o amor de los vampiros a.k.a. Night of the Walking Dead (1975) etc. In 1995, the Spanish Film Director Association gave him an honorary award. He died in 1996 at the age of 90 from a heart attack.

La noche de Walpurgis was a Spanish-West German co-production and was released worldwide under different titles. It was an unexpected hit and made Paul Naschy's name very well known outside Spain. The most important thing was the movie had success in the US too. So successful that after its release Spanish filmmakers were interested in making horror movies that they could sell in a big market like the US. Like La marca del Hombre Lobo, La noche de Walpurgis has good direction, excellent visuals and make up effects. Plenty of good gothic atmosphere too. As usual Naschy steals the show. I found some similarities with Amando de Ossorio's Blind Dead films but that's always a good thing. We get Paul Naschy, beautiful Euro babes, some boobs, gore, a rabid werewolf and a bloodthirsty vampire woman, old castles and crypts, wonderful dreamlike gothic atmosphere.  It is a kind of a homage to Universal and Hammer monster movies but with gore and nudity. Excellent Euro horror!


La noche de Walpurgis comes on a 50GB dual layer Blu-ray with the aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Like with La marca del Hombre Lobo, Subkultur did a wonderful job on this release too. Again there's a healthy and natural looking layer of fine filmic grain. No traces of DNR, edge enhancement or artificial sharpening. Colors look natural. Some white specks and scratches are present but one must keep in mind that we are talking about a 44 year old low budget horror movie. Overall La noche de Walpurgis gets a solid release from Subkultur Entertainment. Also I must mention that we get 2 cuts of the movie on the disc - unclothed export and Spanish clothed versions.  


We get Spanish and German audio options in DTS-HD Master audio. Optional German and English subtitles are available. Both audio options sound nice. I haven't noticed any distortion or background noise. Both are well balanced and are easy to follow. The English subtitles are easy to read.


Subkultur provided the following extras for this release:

Paul Naschy: Interview with the Werewolf. In this 15 minute documentary that was made by Blue Underground, Paul Naschy talks about his career and life. His relationship with Leon Klimovski. This documentary is in Spanish with English and German subtitles.

Interview with Gaby Fuchs. This interview runs for 9 minutes. Unfortunately I don't understand German and there are no English subs for this interview.

Next is the German Super-8 version of the movie in German with no subtitles. It runs for 33 min. 

International opening and closing credits, 7.24 min.

German and US trailers


Easter Egg 

Klimovski vs. Naschy - Interviews with Paul Naschy (in German) and actor Jack Taylor (in English). 

Final Thoughts

La noche de Walpurgis is an essential Paul Naschy movie. A real treat for all Euro horror fans. Heavy on atmosphere, featuring gorgeous girls, monsters and some gore. Subkultur Entertainment once again pulled out all the stops releasing this beautiful Blu-ray / DVD combo edition. Like La marca del Hombre Lobo it's limited to 1500. Standing ovations to Subkultur Entertainment!

Purchase La noche de Walpurgis from DiabolikDVD or from Subkultur directly. 



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