Every so often, a movie comes along that almost prods one back to life. Rino Di Silvestro’s WEREWOLF WOMAN isn’t necessarily that movie, but this 1976 Italian horror picture does pack enough punch to warrant a mention. This is almost entirely the project of Di Silvestro, who’s also blessed the cinematic world with such outings as WOMEN IN CELL BLOCK 7 and THE EROTIC DREAMS OF CLEOPATRA.
WEREWOLF WOMAN is the tale of a young woman named Daniella (Annik Borel). She is, to put it plainly, going through some stuff. She has what some hirsute clinicians refer to as a “sexual phobia” and it’s not hard to determine why given the way men have treated her. This phobia branches out into what could best be described as a lycanthropic fixation, which is to say that poor Daniella imagines herself to be a werewolf. This is based on an ancestral legend and subsequently leads to a trail of blood, murder and nudity.
In a sense, WEREWOLF WOMAN runs like a road movie with flavours of revenge. It commences with a woman dancing around in a fire circle and ends in similar fashion, so everything burns in Di Silvestro’s pseudo-academic universe. Daniella moves through various episodic plot points, from a stay in an institution to a relationship with a stuntman (Howard Ross). Nothing overly goes well for the heroine and few encounters end without someone gnawing on someone’s throat.
Lest it be though that WEREWOLF WOMAN is not a semi-serious study of serious matters, Di Silvestro’s casts things as more psychological thriller than horror. That calls Mario Capriotti’s lens to commit to all sorts of tricks, including rapid zooms and befuddling wheels. It’s all part of the fun of putting the viewer inside Daniella’s righteously warped mind. The best and most troubling scenes toy with how quickly the sexual can become violent. And, truth be told, vice versa.