Made in 1996. Despite its problems (Naschy cried for only the second time in his career while making it), the film has some great sequences and the first time that morphing was used.
No preview exists, but the final minutes were shown in the Fangoria convention.
It is difficult to write about LICANTROPO. I'm always despondent when I think about it. The film was going to be a return to a character that had made such a positive impression. Despite his many other films, Paul Naschy was always known as Waldemar Daninsky, the cursed werewolf. But the film did not turn out the way Naschy had hoped. It was the second time that he cried when seeing what was happening. (The first was LA FURIA DEL HOMBRE LOBO.)
For me, it was the first time a Waldemar Daninsky film was done while I was active in Naschyana. I was very enthusiastic about the project and thankful that I could push the film whenever possible. But the results were seen when the film was done.
There are positive voices about the film. An American comic book of two issues was published. The film has been released on DVD in Spain a couple of times. The poster is excellent. The film was also the first time that computer morphing was used. Publicity about the film even generated articles in Fangoria, for one.
My first attempt was to get the film on video, a copy that was going to show me what the film was like. At this point, I heard various talk that the film was a disappointment. But I had to find out for myself.
Thankfully, there was an American distributor, RGH. I emailed them and introduced myself and THE MARK OF NASCHY site. The distributor sent me a tape (I believe) and also two or three pressbooks they had done. The pressbook was only one page, however. A front and a back. Nevertheless, the front was impressive and an English take on the Spanish poster. The film was now titled LYCANTROPUS - THE MOONLIGHT MURDERS.
The English dubbing of the video was a major letdown. Naschy's voice was horrible: old, raspy, not at all what previous dubbings were like. The worst dubbing of his voice. The film? Some good parts, but mostly small in scope and execution, without the normal Naschy elements one would expect. Naschy did not look good, too. His hair and his person were not suited to expectations, though I assume he wanted to look "normal" and not at all the hero type. As the werewolf, he looked impressive. The morphing was excellent and one of the few things about the film that is commendable. Despite most of my negative comments, I still was going to promote the film as best as I could.
I have to check, but somewhere in this mess of an apartment is the date of the Fangoria Convention in New York City. It took place at the New Yorker hotel on 34th Street and 8th Avenue. It was an old hotel, but stately in several areas where conventions and speakers would feel at home. What I do remember is the first time I met Naschy. He was invited from Spain to attend the convention and meet his fans. His close family came with him. But he arrived first to New York. I was already known to him with my MARK OF NASCHY site. I would greet him in New York at his request, for me not a problem as I was living within walking distance of about 20-30 minutes from the hotel. There are a few stories to tell about that first meeting, which have to await another time.
The convention was a delight. Not only did I meet Paul Naschy (again), but his close family: His wife, Elvira, his sons Bruno and Sergio, and his mom and another older female (aunt?). And I also met his fans for the first time. Shane, Derrick and more. I met Sam Sherman, the man who had presented the first Naschy film in the United States to American audiences, the retitled now FRANKENSTEIN'S BLOODY TERROR. The only disappointment is that the crowd for Naschy at his event was small. He was still not known by most of the American horror film community.
The Naschy event was probably on early Sunday (I forget the exact day) in the large ballroom. I gave a video to Fangoria for Naschy's introduction. The scenes I selected were at the end of the film out of necessity. (I had already seen the entire film and was disheartened.) It showed Naschy turning into a wolfman, attack the villain, and the werewolf shooting by his love Dr. Mina Westerna, played by actress Amparo Munoz, an excellent choice for this role. The choral music from Jose Ignacio Cuenca and Tonky de la Pena came in, too. The final scene between Waldemar and Mina, with the werewolf subtly nodding his head, is one of the best performances Naschy has done in this role. I needed to get that particular scene in, even though it was at the end of the film and a spoiler. This video is what you see atop.
The memorable convention over, it was time to keep plugging away at the film. RGH could not find a company that would buy the film. So, aside from that American poster, there was nothing on the film, not even a photo. (Though I suspect a couple of photos were sent to potential buyers.) The film never had a theatrical release in the States , though one occurred it Spain. There were at least two DVDs put out in that country, none in the States.
Should the film be released on Blu-Ray here? I would say yes, but the presentation should also have the Spanish audio, since it is much better. Naschy promoted the film, and there is a "behind the scenes" video that was shown on Spanish television. Hopefully, a few of the short films that starred Naschy would be part of the package. The original, unedited script would be welcome, as Naschy was forced to drop certain things because of the director's insistence. Let's see what the original vision was like.
Given some company's dedication to assemble the best possible package (?), LICANTROPO still may work, at least for the curious.