Sunday, 17 April 2016

The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975)

As there is still no legal release of The Werewolf and the Yeti, I watched a very good quality bootleg DVD with a dubbed English soundtrack.

On a trip to the Himalayas to search for the yeti, Waldemar is separated from his party and turned into a werewolf by a pair of half-naked, vampire-witches! Will Waldemar find the yeti? Will the characters realise that hiking the tallest mountain range in the world in nothing but ski jackets and slacks is not a good idea? Will Wandesa's (a Vapirella clone) dress fall off?

Okay, onto the werewolf design. Yes, it is just a man with a hairy face and fangs but at least it was better than the yeti, which reminded me of a partially-balding, meowing, teddy-bear. It wasn't even white! Paul Naschy's transformation into the werewolf was old school, stop-motion, which was fine. There is still the problem of a werewolf wearing clothes, although I can see why they did this: the costume is cheaper and there's no need to re-clothe a naked man after every transformation, which would be an issue in the Himalayas where shops, washing lines full of clothes and small children with a handy collection of balloons are pretty rare. No matter how poor the yeti was, I'd still like to have seen more of it and the final fight between werewolf and yeti was pretty funny - it looked more like two Care Bears cuddling than a pair of ravenous beasts tearing each other apart.

The Werewolf and the Yeti was nowhere near as bad as I was expecting. The photography was good with some nice lighting. Performances were fine, if a little hammy, with Naschy doing his usual hirsute man type of werewolf. The dialogue was okay (favourite line: "You're not an ordinary woman, you've got personality!"). The score was discordant and threatening when required although it was a little loud. There is a reasonable amount of gore including an impaling (a la Cannibal Holocaust), a flaying and some slashed throats - nothing too nasty. The film is pretty well paced with regular action sequences and at 80-odd minutes it never really outstayed its welcome.

As I mentioned at the start, I was watching a bootleg DVD and the quality really surprised me. The picture was clear and bright and the sound was excellent with a little background crackle and hiss. This was obviously not a VHS rip and if there's such a good source available then why doesn't someone do a proper release?

A decent, low-budget werewolf film that's worth an hour and a half of your time.

Letterboxd review

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