I don’t know how, but somehow Paul Naschy ended up in Brazil for his next movie, this time directed by notorious smutpeddler, exploitation director and random madman Ivan Cardoso. For a long time, this was way before I really had more insight in the last years of Naschy’s career, I always confused A Werewolf in the Amazon with Fred Olen Ray’s Naschy-epic The Unliving, but they’re two different movies. Maybe it’s because of Cardoso’s being very hard to find it sooner or later in my mind melted together with Fred Olen Ray’s. Anyway, now I’ve seen it. Was it worth the wait? Let’s see…
A bunch of really stupid young people on vacation takes a guided tour in the Amazons with JP, a jungle expert. But what they don’t know is that a series of gruesome murders have been committed in the area, people ripped apart! And not by a coincidence, not far away, doctor Moreau (Paul Naschy) continues his experiments, trying to make a superior species of humans - and believe it or not, he’s been working on a (very small) army of Amazon warriors. And with that he means tall, blonde, bare-breasted women with spears! Oh, and he’s a werewolf also.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Fred Olen Ray have a secret identity as Ivan Cardoso somewhere in Brazil, with one of those rubbery Scooby Doo-villain masks over his head. Except that part of his personality takes down the boob-frequency a notch. I rarely use the word trash, because I think it’s a patronizing expression when it comes to exploitation cinema, but one might wonder if Cardoso actually set out to do a “trash” movie, something sleazy, silly and moronic? I mean, it’s hardly a serious movie. The humorous sequences aren’t that funny, but everything outside Naschy scenes feels more like a comedy, where Naschy in his dungeon chews away the scenery together with man-animals and boob-Amazons. We even get a chance to see Naschy after having sex, which once again proves what an amazing ego he had. Gotta love the guy!
It’s also the comedy that hurts the movie. I would be fine with Naschy doing his stuff in the dungeon and from time to time transform into a werewolf and killing women in the jungle, but we’re treated to more than a few obnoxious characters - including the “American” biologist Scott Corman (Nuno Leal Maia), who only can say “Oh my god” in English, which he does one time too many for my taste. Looking into the talents involved in front of the camera I discover a lot of veterans from Brazilian cinema, stretching their careers from the 50’s and up - one of them is evidently very famous for dubbing Scooby Doo (weird, two references to that in one review!) for +40 years. Kinda impressive.
But how’s the gore then? Nada, I must say. Not a single drop. Well, some blood, but just in quite tame aftermath shots. There’s more boobs, for those who like that. The best sequence, except when Naschy’s not in the shot, is one wacky musical number when a sacred Inca appears from the spirit world doing his best Las Vegas act! Played by veteran singer and actor Sidney Magal, this is the funniest part of the whole movie and it looks like this:
So was it worth the wait, A Werewolf in the Amazon? Not really. It’s a weak comedy with no gore, but it has a decent werewolf in the form of Paul Naschy and the above mentioned musical number. For some of us, like me, that’s enough to watch a movie all the way through.