Hungry like the wolf

Anne Borel snarls it up in Legend of the Wolf Woman

As soon as The Legend of the Wolf Woman (a.k.a. Werewolf Woman ) (1976) begins we get some crazy nudity — a naked woman gyrating maniacally in the woods over the opening credits. This presents a challenge to those of us who have to write down cast and crew details for research purposes. According to my notes this movie’s set designer was “Jiggling Boobies” and the editor was “Thrusting Vagina.” That can’t be right.

The funky forest nudist is played by Anne Borel (I had to re-watch the credits several times to get that detail accurately) and she must be the wolf woman suggested by the title because after the credits end (“Directed by Naked McNudienude”) she starts drooling and hyperventilating before changing into a werewolf. A shapely buxom werewolf with a cute little black dog-nose tufts of fur on her arms and breasts and huge black pointy nipples. These nipples are really disturbingly fake-looking. Like if the props department just shrugged and stuck on a couple of pawns from a chess set. Anyway there’s an angry 19th century mob after the wolf woman brandishing torches and rakes(?). Wolfie chomps one of the men to death and then gets burned at the stake at which point we snap forward to modern times where Anne Borel is screaming and waking up from that crazy werewolf dream.

Surprise! This isn’t even a werewolf movie! Anne is playing a mentally disturbed woman named Daniella who thinks she’s a reincarnation of a 100-year-old ancestor who was… a werewolf I guess? Daniella thinks so in any case so now she goes around ripping men’s throats out with her teeth whenever there’s a full moon. Aroooooo!

Now that the introductory werewolf fakeout scene is out of the way we settle in for an amusingly clumsy and unhinged psycho-killer movie in which the main character performs most of her murders unarmed. She keeps getting naked seducing some of her victims before giving them fatal hickeys and there are plenty of flashbacks to the ridiculous werewolf scene accompanied by much bug-eyed panting and snarling from the lovely Ms. Borel.

Daniella gets bundled off to a mental hospital early on and is strapped to her bed but a wandering nymphomaniac unties her in exchange for sex. (Actually Daniella stabs her liberator in the neck as soon as she gets one hand free. Where’s the gratitude?) A really boring doctor keeps showing up to recite half a chapter of a psychology textbook every time somebody asks what Daniella’s deal is but we usually cut to another naked murder scene straight afterwards so things keep moving along nicely.

Eventually the film tires of having Daniella kill innocent (and not-so-innocent) victims and gives her a nice guy to fall in love with. This is just a setup for a trio of scumbags to invade their happy home and commit rape and murder so that Daniella can get onto a revenge kick slaughtering people who genuinely deserve it for a change.

The Legend of the Wolf Woman is crass enough to defy belief. Even diehard Machete fans will boggle at this film’s total lack of decorum. Borel’s go-for-broke performance as the feral temptress is unforgettable and the film itself gives viewers a skeevy exploitation rush. They certainly don’t make ’em like this anymore.

This film is part of Full Moon’s Grindhouse Collection a line of rare DVD re-releases that I’ve been enjoying the hell out of lately. Fans of grotty ’70s cinema are advised to check out these tasteless little gems.