El retorno del Hombre-Lobo (Night of the Werewolf) (1981) is the culmination of a strong career in the fantasy genre for Paul Naschy. While Naschy was often solely the screenwriter and performer on most productions, Night of the Werewolf afforded him the opportunity to direct himself as his most famous character, Waldemar Daninsky. Utilizing very familiar themes from his past work, such as the heavy burden of history upon the present, tragic and doomed love, and the eternal battle between good and evil, Naschy creates with El retorno del Hombre-Lobo a very personal and special work in his filmography.
Unsurprisingly, Naschy is quite proud of the film. In his autobiography, Memoirs of a Wolfman, he writes:
"El retorno del hombre lobo contains all the coordinates of my own life, fitting together like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle: the claustrophobic castle, the Gothic tombs, the ill-fated love affair, the menace of the undead, the ostracism of someone who is despised for being different and the all pervading shadow of death. All of these elements go to make up my personality and my work. Movies, even horror fantasy movies, can carry real depth of meaning because through fantasy we can convey a far deeper message than would appear possible at first sight." (Midnight Marquee Press. Baltimore, Maryland. 1997. p.150.)
El gran amor del conde Drácula (1973) (as in other films, for example), Naschy’s monster character may only find peace in death from the hand of a woman who completely loves him. The appealing irony of this theme is through love life is worth living, but a happy life is impossible when a violent creature stirs also inside that same heart. Finally, one can see the lasting influence of the Universal Studios’ classic, Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), in several of Naschy’s films, especially its classic final battle. One needs only to look to Naschy’s previous La noche de Walpurgis (1971) as evidence. El retorno del Hombre-Lobo contains all of these themes, and these themes are dramatized in sequences that eerily resemble their predecessors.
DVD and Blu-Ray about six or seven years ago by BCI/Deimos). For those who have seen it, Night of the Werewolf is worth revisiting, especially during this Halloween season.