(aka 'El Retorno de Walpurgis' or 'La Noche del asesino' or 'Return of the Werewolf' or 'The Black Harvest of Countess Dracula' or 'The Return of Walpurgis')

Directed by Carlos Aured
Spain / Mexico 19
73

 

In the gold-tinted prologue, knight Irineus Daninsky (Paul Naschy) duels with and decapitates sorcerer Count Bathory. The Countess Bathory (Maria Silva) and her coven (the count seems to have been the only male member) are interrupted during a black mass seeking vengeance for her husband's death. Before she is burned at the stake, the countess puts a curse on Daninsky's descendants in which one of them will accidentally kill one of her descendants and suffer hellish torments. Centuries later, Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy again) accidentally shoots a gypsy while hunting a wolf. The gypsies summon up the devil who selects Ilona (Ines Morales) to seduce Daninsky and inflict the mark of the werewolf on him. Ilona does so and is then killed by an escaped killer (while the US title emphasized the devil over the werewolf, the Mexican title emphasized this red herring mad killer). Meanwhile, Waldemar has fallen in love with the elder daughter (Fabiola Falcon) of a professor (Eduardo Calvo) from Budapest. When the younger daughter (Maritza Oliveres) sleeps with Waldemar, he turns into a werewolf and kills her. Waldemar's his first few killings are attributed to the killer until his rotting corpse is found. Pretty soon, the villagers are rounding up the torches and pitchforks and hunting the werewolf.

Sporting a better script and special effects than its predecessor LA NOCHE DE WALPURGIS, CURSE OF THE DEVIL is also better photographed, at times evoking the imagery of Hammer Films with Francisco Sanchez's fluid tracking shots, mannered compositions, and more control over the location photography despite intermittently effective library music cues (used to better effect in later Naschy films such as NIGHT OF THE WEREWOLF - review HERE) and - in the case of the English version - some poorly chosen dubbing voices (particularly for Naschy). There is a strong sense of tragedy as both Daninsky (Naschy's characterization in this film is more effectively guilt-ridden and tormented than in some of the other films) as well as Ilona as the countess' descendant are destined to pay for their ancestors' sins and of injustice against the self-righteous characters (from Daninsky's ancestor to the mob of villagers). CURSE OF THE DEVIL will likely appeal more to viewers looking for serious horror thrills rather than the possibly-unintentionally campy fun of WEREWOLF SHADOW.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: March 1973

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DVD Comparison:

BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for all the Screen Caps!

1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC LEFT

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

BCI/Eclipse

Region 0 - NTSC

Deimos

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:21:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:21:00 (4% PAL speedup) 1:24:06
Video

Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.74 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.77:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.40 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1.85:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: N/A mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

 

BCI - Replacement disc

 

Bitrate:

 

Deimos

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor Bay Entertainment

 

Audio Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono); English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono) English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono); Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)

English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono)

Subtitles English, none English, none none
Features Release Information:
Studio: BCI/Eclipse

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic -

Edition Details:
• Spanish Theatrical Trailer (3:11)
• English Export Theatrical Trailer (3:41)
• Photo Gallery (6:59)

DVD Release Date: October 08'
Amaray

Chapters 16

 

Release Information:
Studio: Deimos

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.77:1

Edition Details:
• Spanish Theatrical Trailer (3:11)
• English Export Theatrical Trailer (3:41)
• Photo Gallery (6:59)

DVD Release Date: 10 June 2008
Amaray

Chapters 16
 

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.85:1

Edition Details:
• Interview with the Werewolf - A Conversation with Paul Naschy (14:50)
• English Export Theatrical Trailer (3:20)
• Paul Naschy Poster Gallery
• Paul Naschy Biography

 

DVD Release Date: 6 August 2002
Amaray

Chapters 23

 

Comments

ADDITION: BCI / Eclipse (replacement disc) - Oct 08':

The replacement disc from BCI to correct the motion problems has a slightly lower bitrate than the original release. Color is also comparable to the Anchor Bay disc which is preferable in most scenes though some are a tad too bright (see capture 5). Framing is also improved over the original BCI release and is comparable to the Anchor Bay disc vertically but is slightly cropped on the left (note the third capture where the faces are no longer squeezed). Unfortunately, it is still a PAL-NTSC conversion (note the ghosting in capture 4; only the Anchor Bay disc runs at the correct speed). BCI did not take advantage of the reissue to add any extra features (like the Spanish title sequence).

 - Eric Cotenas

****

Like BCI's WEREWOLF SHADOW (review HERE), their CURSE OF THE DEVIL is a PAL-NTSC conversion (the previous OOP Anchor Bay release ran at the correct NTSC speed) and is slightly cropped along the top and squeezed to 1.77:1 from the original hard-matted 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Not only is the image darker and less detailed than the Anchor Bay release, it also exhibits more pronounced motion problems than noted in the comparison of BCI's WEREWOLF SHADOW (both masters were provided by Germany's Atlas International who prepared the English versions of both WEREWOLF SHADOW and CURSE OF THE DEVIL). BCI's disc is disappointingly light on extras though Anchor Bay's disc only featured the trailer and the same Naschy interview present on their WEREWOLF SHADOW disc.

BCI's disc does feature a Spanish language trailer, the onscreen hyperbole suggests that it is a Mexican trailer (the film was a Spanish-Mexican co-production). The bitrate program could not display Anchor Bay's bitrate but since both discs are single-layer and light one extras, the bitrates should be somewhat similar (with Anchor Bay having a more detailed and brighter source to work with). BCI has not included the Spanish title sequence (although an early time-coded screener did contain the Spanish credits) so we are left with the condensed and Anglicized credits of Atlas International's export version. While the film plays better in Spanish with English subtitles, the Anchor Bay disc is the better choice for the film's visuals (though it is rumored that the BCI disc may be corrected).

 - Eric Cotenas

 



DVD Menus
(
Deimos/BCI - Region 0 - NTSC - LEFT vs. Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - RIGHT)
 

 

 

 


 

Screen Captures

 

1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

Subtitle sample

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


1) BCI/Eclipse (replacement disc) - Region 0 - NTSC TOP

2) Deimos - Region 0 - NTSC - MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay Entertainment - Region 1 - NTSC - BOTTOM

 

 

 


 

Report Card:

 

Image:

Anchor Bay

Sound:

BCI (for Spanish track and English subtitles)

Extras: Draw (since the AB interview is the same as on WEREWOLF SHADOW)
Menu: Anchor Bay

 

DVD Box Covers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distribution

BCI/Eclipse

Region 0 - NTSC

Deimos

Region 0 - NTSC

Anchor Bay Entertainment
Region 1 - NTSC

 




 

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