With only a handful of novels under his belt, pulp horror author Guy N Smith was commissioned in 1976 to write an original werewolf novel to be translated into German by the German publishers Erich Pabel.  What transpired was the stand-alone werewolf novel under the title ‘Der Ruf des Werwolfs’ (Night Of The Werewolf) as No. 186 in the popular ‘Vampir Horror-Roman’ series.  ‘Night Of The Crabs’ (1976) had already been translated and published as No. 152 in the series (King Krebs Nachtmal).  ‘Bats Out Of Hell’ (1978) - No. 309, ‘Killer Crabs’ (1978) - No. 318, ‘The Slime Beast’ (1976) - No. 332, ‘Return Of The Werewolf’ (1977) - No. 336, ‘The Origin Of The Crabs’ (1979) - No. 375 and ‘Deathbell’ (1980) - No. 421, were all later translated into German and added to the series.  The tale later saw publication in to its original English language, initially through a twelve-part serialisation within the early issues (2–13) of the Guy N Smith fanzine ‘Graveyard Rendezvous’ and then later self-published via Smiths Blackhill Books in August of 2012.

DLS Synopsis:
In the small rural Scottish village of Glencaple, local shepherd, Angus Broon, is stalking through the Dumfries hills attacking and devouring the local farmer’s sheep.  For, during the hours of darkness, on the nights where a full moon shines down across the otherwise peaceful landscape, Angus Broon is transformed into a bloodthirsty werewolf.

The local villagers are all too aware of the horrifying truth of Broon’s curse.  Fearing for their lives and that of their livelihood, they summon the help of Odell – a veteran werewolf hunter who is somewhat notorious in the field.

Before long, Broon is causing a commotion in the local bar of Nith Hotel.  Growing up in the small community of Glencaple, Broon had spent many years lusting after a local girl named Ingrid.  Now aged twenty-five, she has married Englishman Ron Hamilton during a chance meeting in Munich where she had been living at the time.  Their return to Glencaple was for a quiet and relaxing holiday of happy reminiscing.  However, already Angus Broon has learnt of Ingrid’s return and is demanding her affections.  After a brief and somewhat humiliating scuffle with Ingrid’s husband Ron, Broon is sent away from the bar with his proverbial tail between his legs.

As the couple return to their room in the Nith Hotel, Odell corners them, introducing himself and explaining his own reasons for being in Glencaple.  After having heard much respect and hushed regard for Odell already, Ron and Ingrid are very willing to accept whatever Odell tells them; including the truth about Broon’s Lycanthropy.

Odell manages to convince the couple to be the bait in a trap to catch and kill Broon during his next midnight rampage as a werewolf.  That night, Odell lies in wait with his trusty gun loaded with shells containing silver pellets.  However, their plan collapses when the local villager McBain (who was the one who called in the help of Odell), stumbles across Broon in his werewolf form, and after accidentally setting fire to the hotel, he is brutally slaughtered by the blood-lusting beast. 

Odell and the Hamilton’s are offered shelter by Rob and Martha McPherson after the hotel has burnt to the ground.  However, whilst Ron and Odell are sleeping, Ingrid decides to go out for some early morning shopping.  During a nostalgic walk in the local countryside, Ingrid is knocked unconscious and kidnapped by Arthur Broon.  When Ingrid fails to return home, Odell and Ron Hamilton, together with the help of the McPherson’s, are faced with the fight of their lives to rescue Ron’s wife and bring down the beast of Glencaple.  Never before has Odell the great werewolf-hunter encountered such a bloodthirsty and evil killer.  And Broon has many despicable plans for the next night where a full moon hangs in the darkened sky.  For that night will truly be the night of the werewolf...

DLS Review:
From the very outset, Smith leaps into a flurry of energetic werewolf action, setting down the overall premise in almost a back-handed fashion whilst thrusting down one of the most ludicrous storylines to grace the pages of his prolific career.  With barely a moment’s grace, Smith dives in with repeated bouts of heated action, along with throwing down some comically clichéd, but otherwise typically ‘Smith-esque’ characters. 

Odell is your typical gritty ‘Gordon Hall’ style of character.  His calm and reflective nature is barely rattled throughout the novel, giving him a superior (although slightly arrogant) but nevertheless almost heroic quality.  However, when the true extents of Broon’s evil is unveiled in his planned night of vengeance, even Odell’s calm persona falls down in the face of the battle at hand.  Indeed, this is one of the only times throughout the tale that another intriguing dimension is added to any of the characters. 

Time and time again, Smith dismisses any notion of a sensible storyline in the face of producing almost a constant barrage of action and colourful horror.  As laughable as the storyline may be at times, you can’t help but get completely sucked in by the mindless and unashamedly over-the-top plot that unleashes buckets of blood and violence at every possible opportunity.

As the storyline careens towards the grande finale, and Odell’s showdown with Angus Broon gathers momentum, Smith (somewhat weakly) throws down every trick in the book in order to create some hopeful element of suspense.  However, with such a wildly over-the-top pulp novel, this is far from necessary, and instead the overridding bursts of gnarly action are what really keep the reader’s pulse pounding away at a hundred beats a second.

Don’t get me wrong, this is certainly not a particularly good example of Smith’s work.  Its laughable storyline, diluted characters and complete and utter disregard for any form of believability to absolutely any aspect of the plot, makes it one of Smith’s weaker efforts.  The ending itself has quite a poorly contrived conclusion as well as little in the way of forethought or any signs of planning.  That said, ‘Night of the Werewolf’ still has its charm; nestled away with its remote rural setting mixed with the contrasting non-stop action and bloodshed (again, how very typical Smith).  This is one to read with a grin on your face and nothing more.

The novel runs for a total of 173 pages.

© DLS Reviews

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