I mention the first of those two films because it is that character of werewolf Waldemar Daninsky that Paul Naschy (nee Jacinto Molina Álvarez) is most famous for having played. In fact, he has played "The Wolf Man" in one form or another in more films than any other actor has ever played such a character. And that includes the Son of the Man of a Thousand Faces! I mention that one with the Naked Lesbians because... well, that's me!
It isn't terribly surprising that Paul Naschy's only entry onto the UK's infamous Video Nasty List was a film in which he played Waldemar once again (his eighth out of thirteen times so far). It's even less surprising that this film, La Maldición de la bestia (or, as it was known, and banned, in the UK: The Werewolf and the Yeti) also features Naked Lesbians. I didn't know that when I bought it, I swear! There are more shots of the "Full Moons" on the bottomless women running around this flick than there are shots of the actual Wolf-Beckoning Celestial Body known as "La Luna" (or "Cynthia", or "Diana", both of whom I've slept with).
But it's more than just Boobs, Butts and Bush (sounds like the 2004 Presidential Election, doesn't it? And that was just the Republicans). The Werewolf and the Yeti (a title even more descriptive than Snakes on a Plane) is a fun B-Movie of the Midnight sort with plenty of melodrama, overacting and inane dialogue (written by Paul Naschy himself). The film details a jaunt into the Himilayas with the renowned adventurer Waldemar Daninsky and his crazy crew, including the remarkably beautiful Sylvia Lacombe (the occasionally nude Grace Mills) another hottie named Melody (Veronica Miriel) and one guy named, no shit, Larry Talbot (Gil Vidal, not nude).
The whole thing starts with Sylvia's dad Professor Lacombe gathering together an expedition whose purpose is to seek out traces of another expedition whose purpose was to seek out traces of the Abominable Snowman. For some reason Lacombe insists upon inviting Daninsky on this journey of Spanish Actors with American-Dubbed voices from London to Kathmandu. I wonder if Lacombe starts regretting bringing ol'Waldemar along when he starts hitting on Sylvia like mad. Don't get me wrong, she's hot enough to melt the considerable snow around her, but how about a little professional decorum, Wolfy? Anyway, it all ends in a bad '70s horror movie.
It isn't long before this new "Wolf Gang" also gets lost in the snowy mountains (in an incredibly unintentionally funny sequence), causing the Professor to seek them out himself (with sexy Sylvia in tow). Unfortunately for them, Wald-o seeks shelter in an ancient Buddhist temple guarded by two Sisters who make the Orgy Dancers in The Girl Slaves of Morgana Le Fay seem almost overdressed by comparison. Naturally (because Paul Naschy wrote this), both women are soon rolling around naked on him and giving him all kinds of sexual favors... which is great until he discovers that they're actually not Buddhists in the Siddhartha tradition, but more in the whole Cannibal/ Vampire/ Lycanthrope tradition. Must be a "Reform" church. He also discovers that they don't cover their teeth, a fact that results in his slow but sure transformation into a Werewolf.
He also catches them eating human flesh like its Alpo or something in the back of the cave. That pisses him off so much that he engages in mortal combat with both women (a fight scene that actually exists just to allow more female body parts to "accidentally" pop out of their costumes... not that I'm bitching or anything). You can almost see the pained look on his face crying out "I just had bad, unconvincing simulated sex with you and you eat human flesh? Well... Well... To heck with you! To heck with both of you!"
But, hey, at least we now know what turned Waldemar into a Werewolf, once and for all, right? Folks, this is the eighth film in the serious series. Eighth. That's two more than Star Wars has come out with and one more than A Nightmare on Elm Street! Of course they didn't wait this long to show us how he became a Werewolf. They make up a new way each movie just about. This time it happens in the Himalayas, next time, who the hell knows? He... gets bitten at a Gregory Benford book signing, maybe! Hell.
What follows does not, in any legitimate way, constitute a "plot", but more of a weak linking of a series of vaguely connected points that seem to be connected almost arbitrarily. Daninsky gets hairy (well, hairier) and starts stalking the night (though he can't bring himself to eat Sylvia). The rest of Sylvia and the Prof's group get nerd-napped by the very Sherpa Tartars that were guiding them. Sylvia gets lost and ends up seeking refuge at the same Monastery that Waldemar Daninsky ends up at. He immediately and unceremoniously gets her naked, all the while warning her to stay away from him. He acts out a scene or two from The Golden Child, gets sent on a Monty Hall quest to take down the Sherper Tartar Warlord (Luis Induni's Sekkar Khan) who took the Expedition(s) hostage. We discover that Khan (Khaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaan!) is also not immune to the wiles of Beautiful Women, judging from his witchy (and Sexy) advisor Wandesa (Silvia Solar). Inside the Palace of Sekkar Khan, we learn that a great deal of the prisoners are bottomless women, with another significant percentage being topless women and still some more who are nude, just to mix it up a bit.
Eventually, if you can believe this... the Yeti actually shows up. He looks like Alfred E. Neuman in Blackface and the movie's almost over by the time that happens, but hell... did, would or could anyone watch this corn flake for the logic?
I hope not, because The Werewolf and the Yeti (by any name) makes almost no sense whatsoever. This is, ironically, one of the reasons to watch this celluloid leak. The Werewolf and the Yeti is hilarious in a way that can only be unintentional. There are films this bad that are made today, but they can't even think about approaching this level of ironic quality. There are very few scenes that don't evoke some form of laughter here, there and everywhere.
Audiences in England must surely have laughed their asses off... until, that is, the DPP had it ripped from the shelves and banned as a Video Nasty (a list it still resides on, as The Werewolf and the Yeti is one of only fourteen out of 74 Video Nasties that is banned in England to this day).
So what qualified this film for its "Obscene" label? Well, the Obscene Publications Act 1959 and the Video Recordings Act 1984 are both violated by this little Gem in varied ways. Here's the thing, though, it's hard to really think of this flick as being truly malicious or damaging in spite of its title. This is no Bestia In Calore. This film seems almost harmless, due to its comic undertones. Yes, there is eroticized violence, which is impossible to condone, yes there's plenty of blood, including one execution scene that is sicker than a Plague Dog and yes there are more nude whippings in this film than in The Story of O! But calling this thing "Nasty" is tantamount to calling Kung Pow, Enter the Fist a shockingly violent movie or accusing Johnny Dangerously of being profane and damaging to our youth.
This is one weird, weird combination of what appears to be every thought that popped into Paul Naschy's head and/or that of director Miguel Iglesias. You've got witchcraft, erotica, vampirism, cannibalism, lycanthropy, Women-in-Prison, revenge, Buddhism, Asian Warlords, Bigfoot and the first time ever I've seen a Werewolf grab its chest and act almost exactly like Fred Sanford, screaming out "Elizabeth... I'm comin' to join ya, honey!"
I could almost hear Lamont in the background scoffing "Pop... you're not a Werewolf, so just get over it, all right? Aw, hey Aunt Esther!"
The Werewolf and the Yeti is, by all rights, a movie deserving of the ol' dog rating, but the camp value alone makes this flick worth at least a star, man... so Two Stars out of Five for The Werewolf and the Yeti (AKA: La Maldicion de la Bestia). Never before have I seen an adventure film take the term "pitch camp" so literally. If you love a good, accidental laugh, love beautiful women and really enjoy some serious cheese once in a while, La Maldicion de la Bestia deserves a spot on your Movie Shelf right next to The Adventures of Hercules (if you can find it)! Not even the distributors seemed to take this one seriously. My hard won VHS copy from Super Video not only provides a synopsis on the back cover, but actually gives away the ending. Thanks! Somebody pass the preservatives because I'm detecting some spoilers. So until Naschy just goes for broke and makes a movie called La Maldicion de la Lesbos Nudo, I'll see you (with bells on) in the next reel.
Man, what a silly movie.
When the full moon rises and changes come upon you
And you're trapped in a three-way sex trial
In a Buddhist Temple...
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