The Film (4/5)
It's common knowledge to any one who has been a fan of Italian genre cinema for any significant amount of time that these films were not sound recorded on set. This was done so that the films, primarily made for the export market, could be dubbed into multiple languages with greater ease, and distributed internationally. Rino Di Silvestro's (Deported Women of the SS, Hanna D: The Girl from Vondel Park) Werewolf Woman was a film which for decades could have been considered an unfortunate victim of this exercise. The film was thrown in with the B-Movie trash heap for a few reasons, but most notoriously it's horribly inept English dub track, which made an absurd film, even more so.
The liner notes to this Raro Blu-ray edition by Fangoria's Chris Alexander (to paraphrase) suggest that watching the film in it's native Italian changes the overall mood and feeling of the film, and finally over a decade after seeing Werewolf Woman for the first time I am prone to agree. The film certainly does have certain weak spots such as the effects for the werewolf itself, and certain elements of the plot do not resolve as well as they could have. However, with the bad dubbing out of the way (and bare in mind as I said earlier this film wasn't even recorded in Italian), it allows those weaknesses to fall into the background, and become part of Werewolf Woman's psychosexual landscape, and turn a film that could remained part of the B-Movie trash heap into what could almost be construed as a feminist revenge masterpiece.
Annik Borel plays Daniella the titular (pun not intended) Werewolf Woman. She is obsessed with a woman, an ancestor, that was burnt at the stake for lycanthropy. Her obsession if so deep that she fantasizes about being a wolf, and takes men back to her home under the impression that they are to have sex only to kill them in wolf-ish ways. This is until she meets the man of her dreams, which turns her away from her desire to kill, that is until she is gang-raped, and her lover is murdered. She then decides to go on a revenge spree against her aggressors.
There should be a label on any film that Rino Di Silvestro directed EXTREME SLEAZY CONTENT CONTAINED WITHIN. This man could not direct a G-Rated movie if held at gunpoint, in Hanna D. he had someone shoot heroin INTO THEIR TONGUE, in Deported Woman a razor went into a woman’s genitalia. Anyone expecting a straightforward Werewolf film out of Di Silvestro (as I was 10 years ago) will probably walk away disappointed. Anyway who goes in expecting a RINO DI SILVESTRO WEREWOLF THEMED PSYCHOSEXUAL SLEAZE EXTRAVAGANZA. You will be rewarded, and also probably need a shower afterward.
Raro Video presents Werewolf Woman in a 1:85:1 1080p transfer that looks quite decent to my eye. The colors look quite nice, and detail is vastly improved from the Media Blasters edition (who is surprised there). There were some soft moments on occasion, but overall everything looks quite nice, and is certainly an upgrade.
The audio is presented in Italian with English subtitles. Everything sounds good from dialogue, score, to effects. I did not detect any anomalies with the audio on this listen.
Raro has put a slim, but decent extras package together for their release of Werewolf Woman. This includes liner notes by Fangoria's Chris Alexander, an interview with the director, and the film's trailer in both English and Italian.
This is a film that truly has been saved by it's Blu-ray release. The Italian language track changes it from a bad B-Movie to something much deeper and exciting, while still retaining that trademark Di Silvestro sleaze. The restoration from Raro is a marked improvement from Media Blasters release, and the extras though slim are quite nice. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.