Director: Enrique López Eguiluz
Shriek Show/Media Blasters

A Spanish-made horror film (originally screened in 3-D) with hefty German financial backing, LA MARCA DEL HOMBRE LOBO (“The Mark of the Wolfman”) was the first starring role for actor Paul Naschy, introducing the character of Waldemar Daninsky. Naschy also wrote the script under his real name, Jacinto Molina, and the film spearheaded him to genre superstardom, as we would continue to star in, write, and later direct movies of this type. Though having nothing to do with Mary Shelley’s monstrous creation, it was released in the U.S. as FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR with a new prologue and the running time trimmed, but was a success at the drive-ins nonetheless. This is the first time the film has been available here on home video, and Shriek Show/Media Blasters have put together a pretty spectacular package for this long-awaited DVD.

In a rural European village, a gypsy couple (the female played by Spanish horror regular Rossana Yanni) stop their coach and spend the night at the castle of the long-dead Count Wolfstein. While ransacking the crypt in hopes of buried treasures, they remove the silver cross lodged in the Count’s heart, bringing him back to life as a vicious werewolf. With a monster on the loose, the men of the village assemble a hunt, and it’s here that nobleman Waldemar Daninsky (Naschy) is bitten and cursed as a lycanthrope. Knowing he’ll transform into a beast when the moon is full, he gets help from young Rudolph (Manuel Manzaneque) and Janice (Dyanik Zurakowska), a countess who quickly falls in love with him. They decide the best thing to do is to lock Waldemar in the vacant confines of the castle in order to prevent him from attacking the villagers while trying to come up with a solution. They eventually write to the one man who might cure him, the strange Dr. Janos Mikhelov (Julián Ugarte) who arrives in town with his bewitching wife Wandessa (Aurora de Alba). But in actuality, the couple is bloodthirsty vampires and their intentions are not all that good.

FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR is really the starting point for Spanish horror, as the genre hardly existed before its production. Naschy was not originally meant to play the lead role here, but luckily he did when the producers coaxed him into it, and the rest is history. His script owes a lot to the Universal horrors of yesteryear, and even the British horrors of Hammer, with a fairytale attitude and a nice mix of classic monsters. Sometimes confusing, and at times showing its low budget, the film is nonetheless a colorful, comic book-styled slice of gothic cinema that’s quite entertaining and well shot in widescreen, with some truly striking lighting, putting most modern horror films to shame in terms of appearance. It’s interesting to note that the film was set in the time it was made, despite having the rich look of a period piece, with the castle interiors and woodsy exteriors bringing the production value up a great deal.

When the film was released in the U.S. in the early 70s, Sam Sherman of Independent International (the Stateside distributor) removed about 15 minutes from the beginning of the English-dubbed version he obtained the rights to, which was known as “Hell Creatures.” An animated prologue explaining that the famous family of monster-makers had been cursed as werewolves was added, and it was now called FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR. Some purists think this opening is blasphemous, while others hold it as momentous ballyhoo. That opening is still present on this DVD release, and the footage once removed for theatrical showings has now been restored, bringing the running time up to about 91 minutes.

Media Blasters presents FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR on DVD in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio with anamorphic enhancement. The transfer was taken from different print elements, and although it’s far from perfect, it’s satisfactory overall, and it’s nice to finally see the American version more restored and receiving an official home video release. The image is clean for the most part, with only a few print blemishes. Colors are nicely saturated, never being too bold or striking, yet sometimes they are inconsistent and look a bit faded. Picture detail is fairly sharp throughout, with most of the nighttime scenes looking appropriate, but occasionally the picture is soft. The English-dubbed mono audio is well rendered, with music being vigorous, and dialogue coming through nicely and only a bit low in some scenes.

The disc is truly loaded with extras that represent this title to good measure. There’s a new lengthy video interview with Paul Naschy, who looks in very good health. Speaking in Spanish and accompanied by English subtitles, Naschy talks about how the film got off the ground, how he ended up being cast in it, the influences for his screenplay, the make-up, the locations, his favorite werewolf movies, and much more. Naschy usually does an excellent interview, and this one is no exception. There’s also a full running commentary with the film’s American distributor, Sam Sherman, that’s very informative. Among other things, Sherman discusses how and why he acquired the film, why he retitled it, why he edited it down, and he also describes its ill-fated and brief U.S. 3-D run. As usual, Sherman’s talk is thoroughly enjoyable and he tells just about everything you need to know about FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR’s American release.

Other extras include the rarely seen full length American trailer, a TV spot, radio spots, a superior but awkwardly organized still and art gallery, as well as extended and deleted scenes. These scenes are bits taken from the lengthier Spanish cut, apparently removed from most versions of the film to reduce the running time. Taken from a video source, these bits are shown in Spanish (accompanied by English subtitles where appropriate) and the bottom of the screen is marked with an “X” when there’s footage shown not seen in FRANKENSTEIN’S BLOODY TERROR. It’s here that you will also find the alternate title sequence from the Spanish version (although the title card mistakes it as being from the German version) and the “Hell’s Creature” title sequence, the version mostly seen in England. An Easter Egg on the extras page will play some amusing never-before-heard bloopers from the radio spot recordings, and trailers for other Shriek Show releases round out the extras.

My biggest criticism of the disc is probably miniscule to most, but has to do with grammar and text. I wrote the liner notes found on the enclosed booklet, but my first draft was used rather than the altered second draft I sent to the company after speaking with Sam Sherman over the phone. I submitted it to them in a timely manner and made it clear that this was the version to use, but apparently this went ignored. There’s also a number of grammatical errors throughout.’s Mirek Lipinski (who contributed a lot to this release) has his name badly misspelled when thanked on the still gallery, and there are lots of spelling mistakes during the subtitled translation of the Spanish deleted scenes. Worst of all, during Naschy’s video interview, whenever he mentions the character of Lawrence Talbot (doubtless one of the most famous names in all horror fandom), the subtitles read, “Lawrence Stewart,” and this happens on at least four occasions! Mistakes aside, this is one disc that’s highly recommended for your classic horror collection, and it was a long time coming! (George R. Reis)