Plot: What’s it about?
Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) is a nobleman with riches & power, but thanks to the actions of his ancestors, his life will soon become tormented. A forefather of Waldemar defeated a warlock in battle, beheaded him, and then turned toward his coven, loaded with Satanic witches doomed to perish under Daninsky’s hand. But as they’re burned at the stake and hanged, one of the witches curses Daninsky, telling him one of his descendants will be forced to pay retribution for these actions. And of course, Waldemar is that descendant and soon enough, a new coven of witches is formed to make good on that curse. A wave of maniacal killers and temptresses are thrown at him, in hopes just one will succeed and open the window of chance, to let the curse blossom. He is able to battle back however, as whenever the moon turns full, his werewolf instincts kick in and his powers increase. But can even a powerful werewolf stand up to the devil himself, as well as his assorted minions?
This is one terrific horror picture, with Satanic witches, a serial killer, a werewolf, and Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy, a great assortment of core elements, to be sure. Curse of the Devil has ample violence, gore, and even sex, but this is no mere exploitation style picture, instead it is an effective, atmospheric chiller. Naschy (Werewolf Shadow, Night of the Werewolf) delivers a memorable performance as the werewolf, but perhaps the true star is the film’s visual style, which creates some lush backdrops that enhance the experience a lot. The time period also allows for some cool production touches and even on a low budget, the locations and costumes look good. Of course, you all want to know about the gore and makeup effects, which are well done and while somewhat limited by lack of resources, I think genre fans will be impressed. We’re even given some scenes of naked ladies, which spices things up in between the werewolf, serial killer, and Satanic coven. I found Curse of the Devil to be an effective horror picture, with excellent atmosphere and of course, enough gore & sex to keep genre devotees pleased. And as Anchor Bay has issued a nice disc, I’m giving this release a high recommendation.
Video: How does it look?
Curse of the Devil is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. I’ve never seen a release of this film that looked even halfway decent, so I had doubts here, but Anchor Bay has managed to work some magic, as per usual. The print is pristine in places and never less that superb, which means the dark scenes are unhindered and the image is never held back, simply terrific news for longtime fans. Aside from some light softness, I found no issues to complain about, as I never expected this movie to look this good. I found colors to be rich and vibrant, flesh tones were natural, and black levels are well balanced throughout. Once again, Anchor Bay has produced a top notch visual effort for a film that has never been given one before and as such, I commend them on behalf of all of the film’s fans.
Audio: How does it sound?
I heard no age related errors with the included mono track, but it remains on the thin side, so don’t expect too much here. The lack of hiss is nice however, as some previous tape editions were overloaded, so the additional clarity is most welcome. The awesome musical score comes across well, though this is just mono and by turn, it never gets too rich or immersive. As expected, the dubbed dialogue sounds hollow and unnatural at times, but fans should be pleased with subtle improvements.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This disc includes a fifteen minute interview with Naschy, a talent file & poster gallery on the actor, and the film’s theatrical trailer.