I’ve always liked werewolves as one of the traditional American Halloween monsters. I’ve seen movies like Teen Wolf, American Werewolf in London and many more. I’d probably check out the new Teen Wolf show if I wasn’t almost nearly certain that it was a big ploy to ruin my childhood. So I checked out three movies that I had never seen about werewolves and I was surprised. I also haven’t checked out the newest Wolf Man movie with Anthony Hopkins, so I’m going to watch that in the near future and maybe watch a few more Werewolf movies as well.
What follows are my reviews of The Wolf Man, The Werewolf and The Howling.
The Wolf Man (1941)
The film stars Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, a man who travels to Llanwelly, Wales to reconcile with his father Sir John Talbot (played by Claude Rains) after the death of his brother. Larry falls in love with a local girl who works at an antique shop and while there purchases a walking stick that has a silver wolf. Gwen, the local antique girl, tells him it stands for the sign of the werewolf and regales him with a poem:
- Even a man who is pure in heart
- and says his prayers by night
- may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
- and the autumn moon is bright.
They travel to a fortune teller and later he is bitten by a wolf, who turns out to be the fortune teller’s son Bela, played by Bela Lugosi). The rest of the film deals with him thinking he has gone crazy and everyone else looking for a wolf that has been killing people.
The movie has some decent acting and the story is well written, as is the case in many of the older films. Not having the ability to rely on effects they had to make the movie believable. While the writing of the story was great, the main problem I had was that Larry Talbot is supposed to be in England and yet, no one except the gypsies have accents and possibly Sir John Talbot has a slight accent. However, I suppose that American accents are preferable to terrible British accents which may have been the alternative. Overall superb! 4 out of 5!
The Werewolf (1956)
This movie is about a man, played by Steven Ritch, who after suffering from amnesia caused by a car accident. It turns out he has been injected with irradiated wolf blood which is supposed to protect against fall out and seemingly the best guinea pigs are random amnesiacs. He has to deal with the problem of having amnesia. The scientists later decide that they must help the man by killing him. Not only to protect their secret but because who wants to be a werewolf, even if a bunch of crazy scientists made him one for no sensible reason. This movie is the first science fiction based werewolf story.
The movie is kind of cheesy and lacks some character development and some of the writing is horrendous. However, the movie has one of the greatest lines ever; one cop says to the other at about 53 minutes in, “You know, Jack when this is over with, I’m going to get drunk, and stay that way for a whole week.” Barring none it is quite possibly the best line from a movie ever and totally encapsulates the intense anguish a person can feel as well as the need to escape from your memories. Overall magnificent! 3.5 out of 5 (I’d give it a four if it weren’t for some insanity, plus The Wolf Man is great)
The Howling (1981)
The howling is a 1981 film loosely based on a book by the same name. A television news anchor, Karen White (played by Dee Wallace), is being stalked by a serial killer and agrees to meet him in a porno theater where he shows her a video of a woman being raped. He then tries to kill her and the police come in and shoot him saving her. Karen doesn’t remember the event but seems to suffer from some post-traumatic stress disorder so her therapist Dr. George Waggner (played by Patrick Macnee), sends her to an experimental resort called “The Colony.” Eventually, her husband is bitten by a wolf and becomes a werewolf, while others from the news cast come to aid Karen and continue the search for Eddie who has gone missing from the morgue.
This movie was terrifying. I believe that had I seen this movie during the 1980’s it would have made me love werewolves much more than I do currently. The way that the production staff really stepped up to the plate and made some excellent costumes and special effects. The acting was okay although some of it wasn’t believable. I still don’t understand how someone can go to a place where they don’t feel comfortable and think the whole place is weird but still stay? Other than going to your in-laws for holiday dinners, any situation that you find uncomfortable you should hightail it out of there. Overall Good! I give it 3 out of 5.
What’s your favorite werewolf movie?
These movies are available on Amazon.com for purchase(see below for links), however; I watched The Werewolf on Crackle for free see above youtube link, and The Wolfman and The Howling on Netflix with my streaming account. For more werewolf movie reviews from people who must love werewolves checkout Werewolf-Movies.com Also Check out Werewolves.com for all things werewolves (they have werewolf music and a top 10 list of werewolf movies)
The Werewolf is available for purchase either on Amazon Insant Video for 2.99 rental or 9.99 purchase. And it is available as a 2-Disc DVD set along with The Giant Claw, Creature with the Atom Brain (I hear is superb), and Zombies of Mora Tau.
The Howling (Special Edition) DVD is available for purchase on Amazon.com. There is also a reboot of the franchise called The Howling Reborn which is told from the stalkers perspective. You can check out some reviews on the Amazon website here.
Also, since I missed a few days of postings, I will include posts all the way up to All Soul’s Day. Enjoy!