Werewolves, Sex, and Steamy Delinquents

December 28, 2019 | By

Yes, the poster art is awesome in emphasizing the lurid details of what’s often been written off as a forgettable Austro-Italian riff on Universal’s werewolf series, but Lycanthropus / aka Werewolf in a Girls’ Dormitory (1961) had been floating around on grey market DVDs before Retromedia commissioned a special edition in 2004 that sought to contextualize the production, and spotlight its obvious virtues.

Severin wisely ported over the great commentary between co-star Curt Lowens and still busy film historian / moderator David Del Valle for their laudable Blu-ray edition, which was reportedly made from a newly discovered print featuring the uncut Italian release.

Werewolf was made on a tight budget and is hampered by some preposterous dialogue exchanges, but that is part of the fun with these small gems – a European cast trying to give dignity and gravitas to a genre hybrid of horror and eurosleaze – but the production is also of note for being scripted by Ernesto Gastaldi.

I don’t think it’s a leap to argue Gastaldi is one of Italy’s greatest genre constructionists; in his prolific career, he’s shown a consistent skill in playing a clever shell game with obvious and newly dropped clues of which most are part of an elaborate camouflage of a simple crime. Werewolf is a monster movie, but the giallo elements give the story just enough credibility to keep us wondering whether the monster is real, or something else.


Only two elements within this U.S. poster are true. The other two are poppycock.


In Severin’s recently filmed interviews where Gastaldi reflects both on his career and the Italian film industry during the 1960s and 1970s, there’s a mischievous tone which is perhaps rooted in a pro who managed to inject enough craftsmanship when budgets, time, and derision by snooty critics were in play. Like fine wine (and cheese), there’s a maturity to his scripts which sometimes put contemporary overblown studio productions to shame. Where you might feel cheated for wasting time on a derivative start-studded shocker or dull indie homage, Gastaldi’s work is always worth revisiting, especially when it’s blessed with striking casts, great music, and agile directors.

Thanks for reading,



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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