The Beast and the Magic Sword (La Bestia y la Espada Mágica/La Bestia y los Samurais, 1983)

US Mondo Macabro 2019 Blu-ray edition

Text below written 2020-11-10



This is the tenth entry into the Waldemar Daninsky saga, and Jacinto Molina AKA Paul Naschy made 16 of them
but the bluray sleeve says that this one is the last great film he ever made.
That could be the truth as i count to some 43 more films were made with Paul Naschy between 1983 and 2007, and
i think i've seen only 2 of these - the sexploitation 2004 "Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood" and 2004 "Rojo Sangre"
and for sure the 1970's was the decennium of El Hombre Lobo.

Yes, the era for Spanish horror films was about to end at this time, in 1983, and also so for the Italian one's too.
But Molina/Naschy continued making his films for some 25 years plus from here but then in very low budgeted
films. This film though Molina made for his new Aconito production company and was his second co-production
with Japan, and the first one was the 1980 El Carnaval de las Bestias (Human Beasts).
Clearly for The Beast and the Magic sword the budget was bigger than usual for Molina/Naschy projects, and
this can be seen in the film with the many lavish looking sets in the japanese part of the movie.

The film starts in year 938 AD with some background to how the Count Daninsky at first was plagued with the
Werewolf curse. How the polish knight Irinaeus Daninsky fought for emperor Otto and defeated a hungarian
warrior, Bulcho, whose mistress being a witch cursed the Daninsky family line that every 7th born son would be
transforming into a murderous beast. Then the film jumps ahead in time to the 16th century and 1580 Toledo
where a noble jewish man tells Waldemar Daninsky to go to Kyoto Japan for a possible cure.

And, the next big part of the movie takes place in Japan where Waldemar, his mistress Kinga (Beatrice Escudero)
and the daughter of the noble jewish man, blind Esther (Violeta Cela) meets wise man Kian (Sigheru Amachi)
who tries to find a cure for Waldemar's bad case of Lycanthropy.
The script and direction, as often when Molina handled it, are a bit dull and flat, but the nice sets, clothing, the
japanese actors and the action choreography makes up for it. Satomi (Junko Asahina) the witch was fine and
topless female ninja assassins are always appreciated.

Mondo Macabro presents the bluray film in a open matte 4:3 original ratio or a widescreen ratio with a Spanish
PCM mono audio with english subtitles, and the film was never dubbed into english, region ALL.
Extras: Introduction by Paul Naschy (13 minutes, in spanish with english subtitles) with many great anecdotes
Audio commentary by Rod Barnett and Troy Guinn (from The Paul Naschy Podcast)
Interview with author Gavin Baddeley (32 minutes), Spanish trailer
Documentary and interview with Naschy - "La sonrisa del Lobo/The Smile of the Wolf" (46 minutes)

 

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