The Curse of the Werewolf
Directed by Terrence Fisher
Written by Anthony Hinds from a novel by Guy Endore
First viewing/Amazon Instant
Hammer’s take on the 1940 Universal classic is less a remake than a vivid reimagining.
The story has been moved from England to perhaps 18th or 19th Century Spain. It is a time of all-powerful cruel aristrocrats and sniviling yet corrupted peons. The moviebegins with a long prelude in which a Marques torments and finally imprisons a beggar. He is befriended by the jailer’s mute daughter. Years later when she rejects the Marques’s advances she herself is thrown into prison where she is in turned raped by her supposed friend.
The mute girl escapes and is taken in by a kindly landowner and his housekeeper. She gives birth on Christmas Day, considered a very bad omen and an insult to Christ at the time. The mother dies and the landowner raises the boy he names Leon as his own son. He is a beautiful child but as he grows he is plagued by nightmares and livestock start being savagely attacked in his vicinity…
Somehow, Leon survives to adulthood and grows up to be Oliver Reed. When he reaches his majority he goes to seek his fortune and finds work with another landowner. Leon and the landowner’s wealthy daughter fall in love. But the Christmas curse does not stay dormant for long …
I can’t think of a more perfect part for Oliver Reed than as a werewolf. He chews the scenery in the most delightful way and at this age is mighty easy on the eyes as well. It’s an interesting and intricate story which I actually preferred to the Lon Chaney version. This is a bloody version of the tale and all the gore is lovingly photographed in Technicolor and enhanced by beautiful atmospheric sets and costumes. Recommended for horror fans.
Trailer – color was much better on Amazon Instant print