As pertaining to motion pictures, describes any film that exploits, in its marketing or promotion, the use of stereoscopic (3-dimensional) filmmaking techniques.

This blog is my notepad as I research a nonfiction book spotlighting 3-D genre films of the last century. While the book will focus primarily on films from the 60's, 70's and 80's this blog has no restrictions.

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Jason Pichonsky, unless otherwise stated.

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La marca del Hombre lobo

An opportunity to see La marca del Hombre lobo (1968) in 3-D is something akin to finding the Holy Grail for me.   It's a film that through repeat viewings never fails to fascinate me with its imagery. It is a lushly shot film, blending elements from its two major influences; the gothic high contrast black and white cinematography of Universal’s 30’s and 40's monster fare with the colourful eroticism of Hammer’s 50’s and 60’s counter parts.  Yet the film also manages to weave its early cinematic roots into a modern story of good and evil --in this case a present day setting in 1968.

Unfolding like so many of its sister lycanthrope films the plot of La marca del Hombre lobo reworks many elements from the film that heavily inspired its screenplay; Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943).  Irme Wolfstein, a werewolf, is awaken by a pair of grave robbers, in this case a Gypsy couple when they remove the silver cross from his heart that has keep him dormant for almost 50 years. Free to hunt again, the beast kills the gypsies and a pair of local villagers,  Joining the hunt to find the creature film’s tragic hero, Waldermar Daninsky (Paul Naschy), is bitten by the man-wolf.  He immediately knows the implications of this beast’s bite; by the next full moon he too will become a wolf.  And like Lon Chaney Jr.’s Larry Talbot, Naschy’s Daninsky seeks outside help.  Rather than seeking out a member of the Frankenstein clan as Talbot had done, Daninsky he enlists the aid of Dr. Janos Mikhelov and his wife Wandessa. Not decedents of the doctor who had been treating Irme Wolfstein, they are in fact vampires, bent on controlling the beast Daninsky has become.

Gypsies release the first werewolf, Imre Wolfstein.

It’s a synopsis that that reads like a first-time screenplay written by a professional weightlifter in a month while living at his parents home and influenced by a matinee movie he had seen when he was eleven.  Which in fact aptly describes its screenwriter Paul Naschy at the time.  While the screenplay contains many leaps in logic (what can the vampires really gain by controlling the werewolf?), the film engages its audience, like so many euro-horror films do, by creating a fantastical dream world that is somewhere close to, but outside our own. The film also includes a bloody battle between werewolves and some gorgerous temptress women, significant pluses for the drive-in crowd of the seventies.  Yet within its his juvenile monster story, Naschy also manages to present a unique and complex love triangle, between Daninsky, his love interest Janice (Dyanik Zurakowska) and her childhood friend / potential fiancé, Rudolph (Manuel Manzaneque). Naschy’s screenplay introduces us unsympathetically to Daninsky.  He is presented as a playboy, flirting with Janice in front of Rudolph, and an outcast in the village who has returned only because he has squandered his inheritance. Janice falls for the playboy Daninsky, while Rudolph becomes indebted to him for saving his life from the werewolf Wolfstein during the hunt. Yet, from the moment he is bitten, Daninsky begins to evolve into the hero, a good man battling the beast inside him.  It is as if the dark side of Daninsky is channeled into his werewolf form, leaving his good characteristics to surface in his human form.
Janice (Dyanik Zurakowska) and Rudolph (Manuel Manzaneque) discuss the the fate of Daninsky 

While it’s Naschy’s ability to transform from gentleman beast to snarling hero that steals the show, credit needs to go to the film’s director, Enrique López Eguiluz, and cinematographer, Emilio Foriscot.  So in my next post it’s their contribution that I’d like to touch upon.

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