Are you feeling that Halloween let-down? Sad that the costumed fun and frights have ended, now that November is here? Well, let me make you feel a little better- as we satisfy your appetite for British Hammer horror with what has been called that studio’s ONLY werewolf film- “Curse of the Werewolf”!
This story, based on a novel about a werewolf in Paris (rather than Spain, where this movie is based!), starts out with the wedding of a nasty heartless marquis- who invites a starving beggar into his banquet, makes fun of him, and then, throws him into his dungeon! The beggar is there for over fifteen years- forgotten- and slowly going mad- as the jailer’s young mute daughter grows from a child to a ravishing beauty. When she spurns the aging marquis’ advances, she is thrown into the same cell with the crazed beggar, who attacks her!
She manages to make her escape, and is taken in by a kind nobleman- and she is revealed to be pregnant! Odd circumstances have her nurse worried about how the child may turn out- made even more tragic by the mother’s death right after giving birth. Bizarre things happen at the child’s christening- and- as he starts to grow- odd things happen in his village- like goats and sheep being found, with their throats ripped out, and their blood drained! His adopted father begins to suspect the boy has been marked by a terrible curse, and seeks the help of his village priest.
The boy grows into a man, and seems cured- he heads out on his own, to find an occupation- but- when the full moon rises-he begins to transform…and even the woman he loves is not safe!
This is typical high-quality Hammer fare- with bright colors, plenty of action and a mix of lurid and horrific scenes (it is positively brutal at times!)- with Oliver Reed spectacular in his role as the cursed young man. His werewolf make-up is very definitive-based by make-up artist Roy Ashton upon the classic werewolf make-up of Universal’s Jack Pierce and unique in its coloration (although we never really saw Lon Chaney Jr’s make-up in color). Reed’s character’s inner turmoil regarding his fate seems even more distressing than Larry Talbot’s dismal nature! The stunning Yvonne Romain stars as the mute servant girl as an adult, with her cleavage obviously meeting the high standards of Hammer production. Keep an eye out for Desmond Llewelyn ( 007’s Q in many of the James Bond films) as the evil Marquis’ servant. On the Sven side, we’ll be bringing you more highlights from this year’s Flashback Weekend horror convention- including a surprise interview that may have you scratching your head!! ( No, wait- I think that’s in NEXT week’s show- that’s the danger of working far ahead- sorry!)Keep an eye on this week’s mail segment as well for a look at a couple of our celebrity fans- one of whom has a connection to one of this week’s big entertainment business news stories.
In the Chicago area, you can get a bit more werewolf action at 11 am on WCIU, the U, with “Werewolf of London”- featuring Universal Studios’ first werewolf- BEFORE “The Wolf Man”!
Enjoy our furry features this weekend, and, hopefully, they will bring back some of the Halloween feeling that you may have felt you lost. Meanwhile, you can keep in touch with me via social media, as well as at [email protected] – and please remember that I am on Twitter- I’m @Svengoolie !