The Fury of Wolfman
"The Fury of the Wolfman" (1972), a.k.a. "La Furia del Hombre Lobo", is one of a dozen Spanish wolfman movies starring writer and actor Paul Naschy. While some call this group of films a "series" there's little narrative continuity between them—just Naschy reprising the character Dr. Waldemar Daninsky as the unfortunate, titular wolfman. In "Fury", Daninsky is the sole survivor of an expedition to Tibet. He's been bitten by a yeti (whose bite pattern, apparently, is a pentagram) and cursed to transform into a crazed wolf man every full moon. He trusts his ex-girlfriend, Dr. Ilona Elman, to help him, little suspecting that A) she bears a bit of a grudge for his marrying another woman, B) she's a mad scientist who has discovered how to use "chematrodes" to control other people's minds, and C) she keeps insane hippies chained in the basement of her spooky castle.
The plot is remarkably convoluted and may not sit well with folks who want a director to hold them by the hand and walk them through a storyline in a sensible fashion. But if you're the sort who enjoys riding through an amusement park spookhouse, glimpsing strobe-light illuminated flashes of bizarre scenarios, then this one's for you. The weirdness is enhanced by lapses in narrative logic (what's a downed power line doing in the catacombs?) and some seriously choppy editing, some of which is due to the removal of content inappropriate for younger viewers and some of which seems to support rumors that director Jose Maria Zabalza's pubescent nephew took over the lot when his uncle was lost in an alcoholic stupor.
It goes without saying that the Mad Scientist type is as important to sci-fi and horror movies as other sorts of monsters. "Fury" offers a gender twist on the archetype by putting a woman in charge of the moral turpitude (though we learn, eventually, that she's just carrying on a legacy started by dear old dad). She also manages to recruit a fair number of lovely research assistants (helped by her mind-control technology). In fact, the film features more women in labcoats than men—something that might cheer college admissions committees and members of the Association for Women in Science…if only it weren't for that darn moral turpitude.
Kevin D. BunnellKevin D. Bunnell, Mammals Coordinator of the Utah Division Of Wildlife Resources, discusses the truth about wolves and the film “The Fury of the Wolfman.”
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