Doctor Jekyll Versus the Werewolf aka Doctor Jekyll y el Hombre Lobo (1972)
Directed by León Klimovsky
Starring Paul Naschy, Jack Taylor, Shirley Corrigan, Mirta Miller, José Marco, Luis Induni, Barta Barri, Luis Gaspar
If there is one thing you have to give credit to Paul Naschy for, it is the fact that he made so many Waldemar Daninsky werewolf pictures and always tried to throw something new and different in them. And this film is a prime example of it, as well as how creative and inventive Naschy was for even coming up with a plot like this!
Without going into too much detail, Dr. Jekyll, played by Jack Taylor, is going to try and cure Daninsky’s hairy curse by using his grandfather chemical cocktail. His theory is that by transforming him into a Hyde character, he will be strong enough to beat out the urge to turn into a werewolf. Seems legit, right? But no matter how crazy the theory is, what it does do is give us a chance to see Naschy not only bust our his usually entertaining lycanthopic side, but also become one of the best Mr. Hyde performance I’ve seen since Frederic March in 1932.
Naschy plays the sad and depressed Daninsky with his usual charm, which always makes you feel sorry for the guy, who wants nothing more than to end his curse. Although, this is one of the few entries where it really isn’t explained why or how he got this curse, but just has it from the beginning. But once he becomes Hyde, it seems he really relishes this character, letting all the most devilish of thoughts and actions come out. And he is one nasty son of a bitch too!
How could a film go wrong when casting Jack Taylor in anything let alone as a decendent of Dr. Jekyll??? Of course, he plays his role here with the same subtle passion that we love him for! Shirley Corrigan plays the love interests for Naschy and does a decent job. She’s very striking and looks great on screen, and holds her own, even when being naked and whipped by Hyde. Mirta Miller, who plays Jekyll’s devious assistant, would go on to appear in two Naschy films in 1973, Count Dracula’s Great Love and Vengeance of the Zombies. Actor Luis Induni appears as one of the villains in the first part of the story. Induni had been making movies since the early ’50s and had over 200 film credits to his name. He would work with Naschy again in Devil’s Possessed (1974), as well as the sadistic bastard Sekkar Khan in Night of the Howling Beast (1975). Here he just plays a local baddie, but makes his small role very memorable.
Of course, there are many sequences that you can definitely check off your “never seen that before” list, such as the famous “werewolf in a disco” sequence. Plus the very effective scene with the poor nurse caught in an elevator with our favorite hombre lobo. Sure, wearing the clothes he has on during parts isn’t what one would expect a werewolf to be wearing, but this was London in the ’70s after all.
Overall, this is one of Naschy’s best werewolf outings. It might not be one of the best looking makeup jobs in the Daninsky series, but that might have something to do with the clothes he’s wearing a couple of times. But if you can overlook that, and maybe not paying too much attention to the whole sciene part of it, there are plenty of monsters, violence, nudity, and all the other things you’d be looking for in a ’70s Spanish horror flick. I think you’ll enjoy this one crazy ride.
While looking for the right print of this to watch, might be a little troublesome. It was originally released on an import disc from Mondo Macabro, but that was the clothed version. If you’re new to the wonderful world of Spanish horror (actually Euro-horror in general), it was not uncommon for the filmmakers to shoot a sequence twice. One version would have the female in the scene naked while a second one would be filmed where she would have some clothes on, or at least her naughty bits covered up. This film is a prime example of this, as you can see below.
Then a few years ago, Code Red released a version of the movie on a double bill with another Klimovsky film, The Vampires’ Night Orgy, which was the un-clothed version. Or at least, for the most part. There is another version that comes from the German VHS that features even more nudity that is not featured in either of these versions. So…unless you can get your hands on one of those prints, I would highly recommend seeking out the Code Red version. But no matter what version you can find, you need to see this film.