Sunday, April 15, 2007

Curse of the Werewolf

Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Directed by: Terence Fisher
Written by: John Elder (A.K.A. Anthony Hinds), based on The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore
Starring: Oliver Reed, Catherine Feller, Clifford Evans, Hira Talfrey, John Gabriel, Warren Mitchell, George Woodbridge, Ewen Solon, Yvonne Romain, Richard Wordsworth, Anthony Dawson, Josephine Llewellyn, Anne Blake, Michael Ripper, Desmond Llewellyn

One of many old Hammer movies, but one of their few werewolf pictures. They weren't big on werewolves. I guess werewolves aren't very sexy...

This is the basic werewolf story - young man becomes werewolf, young man is tormented by his being werewolf, young man falls in love with young woman, young man's being werewolf threatens young woman, young man's father shoots him with silver bullet. Practically every werewolf story goes along the same lines (except, of course, for those rebellious neo-werewolf stories). This one stands out because of it's unbelievably long intro.

Let me relate it as quickly as I can: A beggar comes to a village and finds it deserted. He learns that it is the Marques' wedding day and everybody is up partying at the castle. He goes to the castle. The Marques, being a mean fuck, makes him dance around then buys him for his bride. The Marques throws the beggar into a dungeon and forgets about him. The beggar is completely ignored by the world except for the jailer and his mute daughter. Time passes. The beggar grows more and more feral. The Marquesa dies. The Marques grows into a mean old fuck. The mute girl grows up. While cleaning the Marques' fireplace, he tries to rape her. She runs away, and he throws her in the dungeon with the beggar. The beggar rapes the mute girl and dies. They let the mute girl out of the dungeon. She stabs the Marques to death. She runs off to live like an animal in the woods for a while, and is eventually found by this dude who rescues her and takes her back to his house where he and his servant look after her. Her baby is born on Christmas Day (which is really bad). She dies. The dude adopts the baby. Some Holy Water boils. The baby grows up a bit and turns into a werewolf. They cure him of this. He turns into Oliver Reed and moves away. Then they get down to business.

(If you read all of that, good for you). Anyway, that's probably the longest fucking prologue I've ever seen. It took up at least half an hour, I should think, and it doesn't really matter. They probably just didn't have enough werewolf action to make a whole movie, and padded it out with that crap.

It was all very... dramatic (being a Hammer film), but Oliver Reed was pretty good. He was pretty. The only other thing I can remember him is was Gladiator. Imagine my surprise. He was very tall.

The werewolf, as usual, didn't look great. It was very square. It didn't look like a wolf. Also the blood looked really fake, but I'm not going to get into that right now (I like my blood to be realistic, God dammit. My blood is already realistic, because hey, it's real blood).

And it had the traditional sexy lady, so that's always good (sexy from the '60s is a little different than sexy now...). I dug the costumes and the sets, they were all very period and red (ew), and they looked nice. I recognized a few of them from other Hammer flicks, but that was okay. It was comfortingly familiar.

I kind of missed Christopher Lee, not that he really needed to be in it. I just miss him sometimes. Sniff. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if they did a House of Frankenstein type thing, but, like, Hammer (not going to happen, I'm afraid, seeing as many of the people who should have been in it are deceased. Chris Lee is pretty much the only one still living, and he's about 200 (no, he's 85, I just like to tease him))

Yep. Slightly more interesting than Wolf Man but not really as classic. It's not as old, either, so there you go.


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