Some hairy horror from the Hammer Studios returns tonight- as Oliver Reed’s promising young life is turned upside down by the “Curse of the Werewolf”!
We travel back a century or two to a small town in Spain- where an amiable beggar is confused to find the town almost empty-and wanders into a tavern, where the locals give him a spiteful insight into why – the despicable nobleman who runs the town with a heartless iron hand is getting married and is hosting a celebration for his associates at his estate.The beggar unwisely enters the celebration, only to be mocked and treated cruelly by the Marquis as entertainment for himself and his guests. An ill-placed remark by the poor soul results in the Marquis having him tossed into the dungeon. Completely forgotten by the cruel ruler, he spends years in a cell- slowly losing his mind- and being treated kindly only by the mute daughter of the jailer.
As years pass, the girl blossoms into a beautiful woman- as the beggar has devolved into a mad, animalistic wretch. The aged marquis has become no kinder- and, spotting the gorgeous woman, and unaware that she cannot speak, tries to take advantage of her, only to have her fight back- leading to her being thrown into the same cell as the beggar- with horrid consequences.
She eventually makes her escape, but collapses – fortunately to be found by the kind and learned Don Alfredo. The gentleman brings her to his home and has his housekeeper tend to her-and they discover the poor mute woman is with child! As the time of birth nears, the housekeeper is worried by old folklore that states that a child such as this, being born on Christmas, is considered an aberration to God, and could portend evil. Unfortunately, that’s just what happens!
The good-hearted Don Alfredo raises the child as if he were his own son. As the boy, Leon, grows, he begins to show some odd -even frightening- tendencies – and then the bodies of livestock, torn apart as if by an animal, start showing up .
Prayer and kind treatment accompany the maturation of young Leon, who becomes a handsome adult, and goes out into the world to make his own fortune, feeling he has left his troublesome past behind. He finds employment bottling wine in the cellar of a vintner- and finds attraction to the man’s young daughter, who is spoken for by a pompous young aristocrat- but seems to prefer Leon. His happy-go-lucky co-worker convinces Leon to forget his troubles at a local tavern- loaded with drinks and women – but the full moon rises, and brings about transformation and deadly doings. Leon is caught between his curse and his love for the young girl- all of which seems to point towards tragedy!!
This 1961 film has all the features Hammer is known for- with strong violence , brilliant colors, and , yes, a touch of cleavage ( make up your own joke)- and one of the most unique werewolf make-up designs ever! We’ll discuss the make-up, and our cast, including young Oliver Reed and the breath-taking Yvonne Romain; and add some Sven fun, as well as restoring some footage from our better print of the film!
“Curse of the Werewolf” is on Me-TV is tonight at 10 pm eastern/pacific, 9 central, or check local listings or at www.metv.com for info on channel and time where you are. Chicago gets a second fly-by from “Rodan” this morning at 11 am on our sister station, WCIU!
I hope you’ve gotten the chance to check out the Dick Tracy comic strip, where I’m making a guest appearance! The story will be continuing into early May, so watch for me to pop in here and there along the way- and in color on a couple Sundays!
Also, this is the last chance to vote in the Rondo Awards-you must vote for your favorites by midnight Sunday night the 16th! Go to www.rondoaward.com . Make sure your vote will count- follow all the instructions!
And- next week at Chicago’s McCormick Place- it’s the C2E2 Comics and Entertainment convention! MeTV will have a cool booth there- and I’ll be signing in the autograph area on Saturday! Please check the “appearances” tab on our site!
Join us tonight for “Hammer Time” of the hirsute manner- that fuzzy creature sure isn’t the Easter Bunny!