We know we have many viewers who always have a hankering for the horror from England’s fabled Hammer Studios, so tonight- we have brought back their solitary lycanthrope tale - in which young Oliver Reed's life progresses from a childhood filled with strange happenings to an adult life turned upside down by- the "Curse of the Werewolf"!
We travel back a couple centuries to a small Spanish town- where an amiable beggar finds the town almost empty-and, confused, wanders into a tavern, where, at last, he finds some of the locals. They are quick to explain to him why they are keeping a low profile – it is the day that the despicable and heartless nobleman the Marquis- who rules the town- is getting married and is hosting a celebration- for his fellow crass aristocratic associates only-at his estate. The beggar, who isn’t quite smart enough to know not to, dares to enter the celebration. Naturally, he is mocked ,treated cruelly, and used as entertainment for the Marquis and his guests. All it takes is an ill-timed remark by the poor soul, which the Marquis brands as insolence, to have him tossed into the dungeon where he spends years in a cell, completely forgotten by the cruel ruler. His mind and body slowly deteriorate, with the only comfort coming from the kindness of 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 years have not made the aged marquis any kinder either- and, when the lecherous old coot spots the gorgeous woman, and is unaware that she cannot speak, he tries to take advantage of her. The poor woman fights back- which leads to her being thrown into the same cell as the crazed beggar- with horrid consequences.
She eventually makes her escape, fleeing into the woods, but collapses – only to finally be found, fortunately, by a kind and learned man-Don Alfredo. The gentleman brings her to his home, and, as his housekeeper tends to mute beauty, they discover she is with child! As the time of birth nears, the housekeeper is worried by old folklore that states that a child such as this, if born on Christmas, is considered an aberration to God, and would have a life inflicted with some nameless evil. As if to fulfill this evil prophecy, that's just what happens-the child is born on this holiest of days!
Regardless, the good-hearted and generous 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 there is concern when the torn apart bodies of livestock, seemingly attacked by some brutal animal, start showing up.
In spite of the strange occurrences of his youth, 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 his first employment in the cellar of a vintner, bottling wine- and finds himself attracted to his employer’s young daughter, who unfortunately is spoken for by a pompous young aristocrat. And yet- she seems to prefer Leon! His happy-go-lucky co-worker convinces Leon to forget about his troubles of the heart by heading to a local tavern, loaded with drinks and women. Leon’s unhappiness is only made worse by excessive drinking- and when the full moon rises it brings about a horrible transformation and deadly consequences. Leon soon is caught between his curse and his love for the young girl- all of which leads him into unspeakable horror !
This 1961 film has all the features Hammer is known for- with brilliant color, shocking violence, sultry women, 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 to lighten the mood. We do want to point out that this film does have some situations that may not be suitable for younger and more sensitive viewers, due to violence and adult themes-so discretion is advised. PLEASE take the warning seriously!
“Curse of the Werewolf” is on Me-TV is tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, or check for time and channel in your local listings or at www.metv.com . As always, you can live-Tweet along with viewers during the show on Twitter- use the hashtag #svengoolie and help us to trend high among the most talked- about topics, as happens almost every week! Chicago viewers are blessed with an encore of the classic “Bride of Frankenstein" this morning at 11 am on our local sister station, the U !
Rumor has it that a special item may appear in the Sven store next weekend- make sure you take a look! Also rumored- next week you may just see Sven working from his home base!
Tonight, though, tune in for hairy Hammer horror!