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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Frankenstein's Bloody Terror
Frankenstein's Bloody Terror
Media Blasters // Unrated // October 25, 2005
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by John Sinnott | posted November 26, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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A staple of late-night creature feature TV shows for years and drive-in theaters before that, Frankenstein's Bloody Terror is a Spanish monster movie (dubbed in English) that was influenced by the old Universal horror films of the 30's and 40's and has a similar charm. Never released on home video before, Media Blasters, under their Shriek Show imprint, finally brings this atmospheric movie to DVD.

Movie Background:

Movie distributor Samuel Sherman had promised his theaters a Frankenstein movie that, for various reasons, he couldn't deliver. Rather than get the theater owners upset, Sherman looked overseas for a completed Frankenstein film to purchase. He didn't find one, but came close. He bought the rights to La Marca del Hombre Lobo (The Mark of the Wolfman) a Spanish film written by and staring Jacinto Molina (who acted under the name Paul Naschy.) This film had a werewolf and vampire, but no Frankenstein's Monster. Not letting a little detail like that get in the way, Sherman retitled the movie Frankenstein's Bloody Terror, and added a short animated intro that explained the Frankenstein family had changed their name to Wolfstein, and didn't worry about the fact that no one who looks remotely like Frankenstein's Monster is in the film. (He does appear on the movie posters promoting the film though.)

This movie, the first written by Jacinto Molina aka Paul Naschy, was so popular in its native country that it started a Spanish horror film boom, and Naschy became a big star. He ended up writing and starring in nearly a dozen films playing the same character, Waldemar Daninsky, a poor soul who bares the curse of the werewolf and is always looking for a cure.

The Film:

When a gypsy couple gets run off the road (by a nifty looking Triumph TR-4) the owner of a local estate, Waldemar Daninsky, tells the couple they can spend the night in a nearby crypt. The gypsies decide that this is their chance to strike it big, and rummage through the coffins taking jewelry off the bodies.

Little do they know that a werewolf has been interred there too. When they remove the ornate silver dagger that is stuck into his heart, the beast comes to life and kills the pair that revived him. Quickly figuring out what happened, Daninsky searches for the monster and kills him, but not before being bitten himself.

Over the next month, a bloody scar in the shape of an upside down star appears on Waldemar's chest, signifying that he's now a werewolf. He searches the ancient areas of the estate for cure to the curse, and discovers a letter from a doctor who says that he has an antidote. Though it was written 30 years ago, a young man answers Daninsky's request for assistance. A young man who just happens to be a vampire.

This was a good film that has a lot of atmosphere and a decent story. Though it is slow in parts, especially the beginning where it takes 25 minutes for the first appearance of the werewolf, the show picks up after Daninsky becomes cursed, and gets really interesting when the vampires arrive. It has the feel of an old Universal horror movie, without too much blood and none of the sex that some of the future movies in this series featured.

This is the American release of the film, and it has been edited from the original Spanish release. While I usually abhor edited films, I have the feeling that this cut might be the more enjoyable. The first thing Sherman did to the film was cut fifteen minutes out of the costume party scene at the start of the film. This section really moves slowly as it is, and I can't imagine how slow the pace would be if this was included.

Paul Naschy, a champion weightlifter was excellent in his role as Waldemar Daninsky. He played the tortured soul very well. He physically fit the part, and his performance as the wolfman was top notch. From watching this film it is easy to see why he became such a big star in his native country.

The DVD:


Audio:

The two channel mono audio, dubbed in English, is satisfactory for this movie. The dubbing isn't great, but that adds to the film's charm. The atmospheric background music comes through in a satisfactory manner and adds a lot to the movie. The audio levels are uneven though, with some scenes sounding louder than the others. Happily there are no audio defects, hum and other background noise are absent.

Video:

The video quality was good, but not outstanding. The movie was presented with a widescreen (2.35:1) anamorphic image, which was nice to see. Unfortunately there were some problems. The print used has some defects, spots and the occasional line, but these weren't frequent. The image did accent red colors, and blues were faded more than the others. The level of detail was acceptable, though details did disappear in dark areas and black suits had no texture at all. There were several digital defects that plagued the film too. Color bleeding was frequent with bright red areas, and aliasing was fairly prevalent in the background. There was some edge enhancement, and digital noise was also present.

Having noted all of that, this transfer isn't as bad at it sounds. There are a lot of imperfections, but the picture was still very watchable, and head and shoulders above the bootleg videos that have been available for years. Overall this doesn't look too bad, especially when you take into consideration the movie's history.

Extras:

This disc features a good selection of extras, much more than I was expecting. First off is a long interview with writer/lead actor Paul Naschy. In Spanish with English subtitles, Paul talks about his influences for the film, how he went about getting it made, the censor's reactions and much more. A very informative interview.

There is also a full length commentary with Sam Sherman who dubbed and distributed the film in the US. This was an informative track, with Sherman discussing the changes in the story and the brief 3-D run of the film.

In addition, there are a good number of deleted and extended scenes taken from the original Spanish edition of the film. This was a nice treat, as much of this footage has never been seen in the US before. Three radio ads used to promote the film, a photo gallery and the original trailer and TV spots round out the bonus material.

There's also an Easter Egg. From the extras menu, highlight the deleted scene icon, then press 'right' on the remote. A face will appear. Press enter and you'll be treated to a reel of radio spot bloopers.

Lastly, there is an informative text piece included on the insert in the DVD case. It was written by George Reis from DVDDrive-in.com.

Final Thoughts:

Fans of the old Universal and Hammer horror movies will certainly enjoy this offering. It has the same feel and charm. Paul Naschy does a great job as Waldemar Daninsky, and it is easy to see how he went on to make a career out of playing the role.

Available legitimately for the first time on home video, this DVD looks much better than the previous bootlegs that have been circulating. Though the DVD doesn't boast a pristine image, the problems are easy to overlook in this widescreen anamorphic picture. Shriek Show also included a fantastic set of extras that really add to the value of this disc. The only thing that was missing was the original version of the film in Spanish. It's too bad it couldn't be included, but fans of this picture are sure to be happy even without it. A high Recommendation.

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