‘You’re not an ordinary woman…you’ve got personality.’
Near the start of The Werewolf and The Yeti, there’s an establishing shot of London, with Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament visible. The choice of soundtrack? Scotland The Brave. Close, guys. So very close. Unfortunately, this mistake is indicative of the whole movie, which keeps getting close, so very close to being a great movie, without ever quite getting there.
The Werewolf and The Yeti is notable for being one of only two Paul Naschy films on the Nasties. Wait, you thought there was more? No, you must be thinking of the Video Naschies.
Sorry guys, I’ll stop now. For those unfamiliar with the man, Naschy (real name Jacinta Molina Alvarez) is a one man Spanish horror film making institution, whose films generally harken back to a more innocent time. He specialises in outrageous monster mash-ups, with titles like The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman and Dr Jekyll and The Wolfman. Yeah, there’s a lot of wolfmen, as his most famous recurring character is Waldemar Daninsky, the tortured lycanthropic hero of this film.
Waldemar begins this film uninfected with the curse, roaming around Tibet looking for The Yeti, who we saw murdering some mountaineers in the opening. Remember this, because you’re not going to see that yeti again for a long, lo-o-o-ong time. He stumbles upon a cave where two beautiful women live, who decide to keep him alive as he would make a ‘passionate lover’. Of course, they turn out to be werewolves, and before Naschy can kill them he is bitten.
Meanwhile, a group of Naschy’s pals back at base camp head out to rescue him, despite the numerous warnings of bad weather, bandits and yetis. By the the end of the film, the entire group has died trying to rescue old Paul, apart from – can you guess? – a beautiful woman. You see, in Paul Naschy movies, he is irresistible to women, despite having the hair of a Lego man.
I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, but this is another one of those films that does not belong on the list. Despite some mild gore and bare bums, at heart this is an old fashioned adventure romp, with the main antagonists being neither the werewolf women nor the yeti, but a gang of bandits. The most violent scene is when a nude woman has the skin from her back flayed, but it’s certainly no worse than some of the stuff Hammer was putting out at the time, and even in the early 80s this must have seemed pretty tame. Perhaps the man impaled on a spike gave the DPP Cannibal Holocaust flashbacks or somethin’.
Regardless, this is one hell of an entertaining film. It’s not a patch on Naschy’s best work, which often transcended camp to become genuinely twisted and weird, but it’s a solidly entertaining action film. The climax sees Naschy taking on the chief bandit in a hair-raising duel that sees him just barely ducking out of the way of a real flaming torch and avoiding booby trapped spiked floors. It’s like Raiders of the Lost Yeti, which is 100% a film I would pay to see.
Then finally, the yeti (remember him?) puts in a last appearance for a knock down drag out scrap with our hombre lobo. The last shot sees our two lovebirds (Naschy and his woman, not Naschy and the Yeti) walking off into the snow together, presumably to die of hypothermia, while the happy music swells.
Naschy’s deep love for cinema is apparent in every frame, and his enthusiasm infectious. It’s not exactly a ‘Nasty’, despite it’s prosecution by the DPP, but it does make for a fun afternoon.