Curse of Werewolf 1961 Horror Movie Review
Horror movies Review
After Hammer Studios rewrote the histories of Frankenstein, Dracula, and the Mummy it was only natural to take on the howling werewolf next. Doing away with the cursed gypsies, blooming wolfsbane, and chanted legends that swirl through Universal’s The Wolf Man, director Terence Fisher and screenwriter John Elder (a pseudonym for producer Anthony Hinds) returned to Guy Endore’s novel The Werewolf of Paris for inspiration. Switching locations to 18th-century Spain (to make use of standing sets from a canceled production about the Spanish Inquisition), this is a story of sex, sadism, and decadence, a curse produced from human evil. Young orphan Leon, the progeny of a mad, animalistic prisoner and a ravaged young peasant, is plagued with nightmares while village sheep are slaughtered, but it isn’t until he grows into the stocky young Oliver Reed that his curse takes its terrifying toll. Reed cuts an intense figure as the brooding, serious young man and makes a marvelous werewolf, moving with a boxer’s grace under feral makeup that looks as much ape as canine. Curse of the Werewolf has all the cleavage and blood you’d expect from a Hammer film, but it’s Fisher’s eerie touches that make the film so gripping: a dog’s howl anticipates the crying of the newborn Leon, holy water ripples as if coming to a boil before his christening, and the wild-eyed, fanged boy struggles against the bars in his room consumed in a canine bloodlust.