The Werewolf and the Yeti (1975) Review
The Werewolf and the Yeti or La Maldicion de la Bestia or Night of the Howling Beast and probably a few other titles as well was the eighth of twelve films in which Spanish horror icon Paul Naschy (Count Dracula’s Great Love, The People Who Own the Dark) played the lycanthropic Waldemar Daninsky. While they didn’t have any kind of continuity they did tend to fall into one of two general categories. While doing something heroic Waldemar gets bitten by a werewolf or an already cursed Waldemar goes in search of a rumoured cure for his condition only to find himself caught up by something even more evil.
This time out he joins his mentor Professor Lacombe (Castillo Escalona, Superargo vs. Diabolicus, God in Heaven… Arizona on Earth) and his daughter, Sylvia (Mercedes Molina billed as Grace Mills, Exorcism, The Fifth Season) on an expedition to Tibet to find another scientist who went looking for the Yeti. Thanks to the prologue we know he found it, or it found him as the case may be.
Unfortunately, once they get there they find that early snowstorms have blocked the mountain passes they planned to take. Waldemar is introduced to Joel (Víctor Israel, Horror Express, Hell of the Living Dead) who claims to know the way through the “Pass of the Demons of the Red Moon” but flakes out halfway through when they hear some strange howling leaving our hero stranded.
Up to this point, director Miguel Iglesias billed as M.I. Bonns and working from a script by Naschy treats The Werewolf and the Yeti as an adventure film. This isn’t surprising because he had no experience with horror but had previously directed Kilma, Queen of the Jungle and a Tarzan knockoff, Green Inferno.
Now however the film switches gears abruptly as is saved by a pair of women living in a cave who save him in order to have the world’s most awkward threesome before infecting him with the curse of the werewolf. This is quite possibly the only time lycanthropy could be considered an STD.
Actually, it’s a good thing he’s been bitten, he’s going to need those fangs and claws because the rest of the expedition has been captured by bandits under the command of Sekkar Khan (Luis Induni, The House by the Edge of the Lake, Devil’s Possessed) and his alchemist consort Wandesa (Silvia Solar, Eyeball, Man Called Gringo). He needs to rescue them, find a cure for his condition and, since the film is called The Werewolf and the Yeti, fight a yeti before the credits roll.
If all this sounds absolutely batshit that’s because it is. Very little of The Werewolf and the Yeti makes any sense at all, like the opening shots of London with bagpipes playing Scotland the Brave on the soundtrack. When the expedition leaves we see still pictures of their destination, but the film itself is very obviously shot in Spain. It also consistently seems to confuse India and Tibet. The two women in the cave have an altar to Kali, and the head sherpa Tiger looks and acts like a Sikh. Just to add to the confusion he was played by a Cuban actor, Gaspar ‘Indio’ González (The Vampires Night Orgy, Dig Your Grave Friend… Sabata’s Coming).
But the cast enthusiastically throws themselves into their roles and the script races from one set piece to the next trying to work in enough violence and nudity to keep its audience happy. And it might have succeeded a bit too well as The Werewolf and the Yeti was one of the films to make the UK’s infamous “video nasties” list. While it’s not particularly gruesome now, I can see where it would shock the censors at the time. Severed limbs are gnawed on, skin is flayed from living victims, and a character is found, still alive after being impaled through the ass and out the shoulder.
Severed limbs are gnawed on, skin is flayed from living victims, and a character is found, still alive after being impaled through the ass and out the shoulder. Throw in a few werewolf attacks and, some naked, bloody torture victims and Waldemar bedding his friend’s daughter and it’s a wonder the Brits didn’t ban it outright.
But what about the fight between the werewolf and the yeti? That unfortunately is a disappointment and feels almost like an afterthought. It comes at the very end of the film and is over almost before it starts. The yeti itself is ratty looking, not even in the league of the American yeti in Shriek of the Mutilated or Mark Polonia’s Frozen Sasquatch for that matter. As for the werewolf, just remember this was made in 1975 so don’t expect Howling style transformations, the Universal’s Wolfman instead.
If you’re familiar with Naxhy’s work then you know what to expect. If not, and you enjoy this kind of old-school Eurosleaze, then you’re in for a treat. While in terms of horror, it’s not Naschy’s best, that would probably be Horror Rises from the Tomb. But in terms of sheer fun The Werewolf and the Yeti is up there with The Hunchback of the Morgue.
The Werewolf and the Yeti has been issued on a variety of DVDs and Blu-rays ranging from cheap transfers from public domain specialists to restored prints. It’s also available on Digital platforms including Tubi.