Werewolf Woman – Rino Di Silvestro – 1976

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Rino Di Silvestro’s Werewolf Woman is a blood soaked tale of mental illness and feral violence. The film begins with visions of a werewolf woman killing men and eventually being burned at the stake by a grip of men. The film is very casual in it’s portrayal of sex and violence and heightening every titillating situation as much as possible. However, the film always portrays it’s murderous female protagonist as crazy rather than evil, and in doing so, creates a devastating, existential, portrait of a monster.

The film actually has no supernatural elements. The opening sequence is the only one featuring an actual werewolf, and it is revealed to be a dream. Daniela Nesiri sees a photo of an ancestor accused of being a werewolf and begins to have these violent dreams where she is werewolf. Here, the media of a photograph, an article of the past affects the present. An individual witnesses the media and is changed by the interaction.

Her father hires a head shrinker that determines that lycanthropy in his daughter is possible and has been proven. Even though, there is never a transformation scene, the film’s resident physician basically says, if it walks like a werewolf and growls and bites like a werewolf, it’s basically a werewolf at that point. This is an example of action reflecting an individual over physical appearance. Daniela may act look like a princess, but if you rip out people’s throats with your teeth, you may need to be put down.

Daniela spies on her sister and her husband having sex. This scene is very long and voyeuristic. The sexual gratification Daniela is denied manifests in a volatile way. Is her father over protective? Does Daniela have no suitors because she is crazy or is she crazy because she has no suitors? It is revealed that she was raped as a child and fears most men. Yet, she clearly desires them. Out of this frustration, and the connection to the spirit of her ancestor she becomes a destructive force of nature.

Daniela runs into the woods, frustrated her sister is getting plowed and she’s scared of men. Her ghost self tells Daniela the circle is complete and gives her werewolf power. Fabian, the husband follows Daniela into the woods where she rapes him, rips his throat out with her teeth and throws his body into a ravine. At this point, Daniela has disposed of all morality and exists basically as animal drive.

Now crazy from her murder, Daniela becomes locked away in a nut house. She flies off the handle at every individual so they tie her down. In effect, the asylum is keeping her libido in a pressure cooker. Here, the repressed desires only grow in power, waiting for ignition. The flame comes in the form of a nymphomaniac patient who frees Daniela looking for a cheap thrill. What she gets, is killed with a scalpel.

Daniela escapes from the asylum in a daring scene featuring pulse-pounding music by composer Coriolano Gori. After her escape, she sees a couple making love in a barn. She watches them finish, then in a rage kills the woman after the man leaves. Here again we find that the film suggests an insatiable addiction. As if an addict couldn’t even do his favorite drugs even if they were right in front of him. This boiling frustration ends in murder after murder.

As in most euro-sleaze pictures, some ineffectual cops show up to try and piece together the crimes. In this case there isn’t much mystery, they just need to track this menace down and get her off the streets.

The film takes a crazy third act jump here, but as this is a true story, I guess this is what happened. Daniela meets and falls in love with a stunt man. Really. There’s a cute lovey-dovey montage of them doing stunts together. They are in love and it seems Daniela is over her complex. Until one night when Stunt Man is away, some thugs come in and go all Straw Dogs on her. Stunt Man comes in and they kill him. The next day we are treated to a kind of mini-Death Wish film. Daniela kills all three of the rapists, but unfortunately for her gives away her whereabouts in doing so.

The film begins with a woman dancing around a fire. At the end of the film, the cops trap Daniela in ring of fire. The woman is no longer the master of passion, but the passion and flame consumes the woman.

Werewolf Woman is sexy and gory. The women are beautiful and the countrysides are picturesque. The music is atmospheric and weird and the plot is never boring. I recommend this film to fans of werewolves, crazy people, and the ripping out of throats with ones teeth.

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