The Wolf Man Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 17, 2013
By the early 1940's, Universal Studios has released many memorable monster films. One of its most memorable is The Wolf Man, a standout classic monster horror film with a great story and terrific cast. Lon Chaney is one of the most memorable actors in a monster film, and he is a defining actor in the genre, along such greats as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff. The film is simple in its story, but the impact of the picture still resonates till this day. If you love the classic Universal monsters, The Wolf Man is yet another fine film that has shaped the face of modern horror. Simple, yet effective, the film is very well directed and has some impressive special effects. In terms of filmmaking, The Wolf Man is an accomplishment in the cinematic medium, and features some of the riveting use of effects since the Invisible Man. Although this is not among my favorites of the Universal monsters, the Wolf man definitely has its place in the famous of cinema's monsters. Chaney is unforgettable in his performance and this is a movie that you shouldn't pass up. The film has a brooding, melancholic atmosphere and it adds to the enjoyment of the film to make it a bit unsettling for the viewer. The film isn't scary, but it keeps you entertained due to its story, and Chaney's performance. The film is quite short, but it is never dull or boring and it moves at a quick pace. If classic films are your cup of tea, and you enjoy horror, then give this genre classic a shot. Although not as great as others in the Universal Monsters, The Wolf man has a secured place nonetheless.
Super Reviewer
October 3, 2012
Here we have another introduction to a universal movie monster. The Wolf Man was made in 1941, ten years after the success of Frankenstein and Dracula and it stars Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot/ The wolf man. Larry Talbot is just an ordinary guy who is bitten by a wolf while trying to save a helpless girl and he becomes the legendary wolf man. Lon Chaney Jr does such a great job in his role. AS Larry Talbot, he brings out the side of him who's haunted by what he's become and as a werewolf, all he has to do is just run around and growl and stuff, but he's still convincing. For the transformation scene, Chaney was required to stand still for countless hours while makeup was applied to him while the camera was still filming at times. It was all stop-motion and it still looks great to this day. What makes the werewolf scenes so great is the suspense and tension that's involved in them. The wolf man, like Dracula, has really big screen presence and you really do get a feel for the people who he stalks and attacks. The soundtrack for the movie is excellent; it does a really good job of providing suspense and there are even parts of it that sound like the score from 1989's Batman which is ironic because Danny Elman, the composer for Batman, did music for the 2010 remake of The Wolf Man. The thing that makes this movie stand out from the other monster movies is how much sympathy you have for Talbot. He has no control over becoming a werewolf and he wants to be normal, but he's cursed because he was dumb enough to try and save some dumb damsell in distress from a wolf. The climax for the film is also pretty emotional, but I won't spoil it. I also feel the need to mention that Bela Lugosi has a role in the movie. He's notablr for playing Dracula, but in this he plays a gypsy who's also a werewolf. It's always good to see Lugosi acting. I firmly believe that The Wolf Man has still stood the test of time and it's a must see for anyone who loves horror films. This movie, along with Frankenstein and Dracula are classic horror flicks that I have respect for since they have had a heavy influence on anything having to do with monsters and Halloween. Those three movies are all great and they deserve to be viewed more during October.
Super Reviewer
½ July 11, 2012
Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself. 

"His hideous howl a dirge for death!"

The Wolf Man is one of those must see horror classics for horror buffs. It'd early horror at its best. This may not have the same status as Frankenstein, but it is still an excellent classic in its own right. It's a lot of fun and has some really interesting performances, even though it times  in at a small hour and nine minutes. This isn't my favorite werewolf related movie, but it does deserve the most respect. It's the film we all look to when describing the werewolf movie, and everything after it, owes a lot to it. Movies like The Howling and An American Werewolf in Paris wouldn't exist without having The Wolf Man as a template. 

Some things to take away from The Wolf Man is Lon Chaney Jr's performance outside of the Wolf Man, and also the way they used common psychology to deflect that he was actually a werewolf. I loved the interplay of people who actually thought that a man could be a wolf and others who thought that a man could create a wolf persona through all the paranoia. There's obviously a lot of things you could make fun of the film for in today's world. Like a lot of movies back then, there are moments of drama that are ruined by overacting. The werewolf looks horrible by today's standards. But on a whole, for a movie that was made in 1941; The Wolf Man really has stood the test of time. This is an endless classic that will be enjoyed by many more generations.

This is a pretty important movie in my opinion. As a lover of the horror genre, I have a great deal of respect for the early classics, even if they can't possibly scare us 70 or 80 years later. It's just the fact that have inspired and thrilled audiences for that long. Plus, watching The Wolf Man was not a chore at all. I enjoyed every second of it, and when it was over, I couldn't help wishing it was longer. 
Directors Cat
Super Reviewer
December 29, 2011
Waggner's original Wolf Man is a tragic and emotional story enhanced with it's effective performances and it's wrenching suspense. The most original and most influential werewolf film of all time deservedly remains a remarkable spectacle of film making. This is the film that influenced the 2010 remake. Which I thought was equally amazing and stayed faithful to this; The first wolf man picture. A sophisticated horror classic with groundbreaking make up effects and an absolutely timeless story.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2010
The early years of horror, which gave us radio programs featuring The Shadow, The Sealed Book, and Black Museum, were ones that relied heavily on the supernatural. Many tales before that of the crypt, we were greeted with the star studded spectacle that is The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. Lon Chaney is a hulk, very tall, square headed, his persona is that of a buffoon with good intentions. The first half of the film introduces us to the legends of lycanthropy, the first tragic film to do so. We are introduced to a bevy of characters, and cameos featuring Claude Rains (The Invisible Man) and Bela Lugosi (Dracula) in order to set a mood best parodied by Mel Brooks' Young Frankenstein; the country is foreign, gypsies amble around the grounds, and thunder claps go off at the most convenient of times. It's classic monster mayhem, sending thrills up ones spine. The second half revolves around the transformation of Chaney into the wolf man, a laughable first attempt at what would become a Hollywood icon. This version includes a wolf man still wearing human clothing and resembling Wolf-Hirschhorn Syndrome more than an actual wolf. It's short, not very scary, and a bit clunky, but from a nostalgic point of view, it features big time names, and all the atmosphere of an episode of The Mysterious Traveler.
Super Reviewer
½ November 15, 2010
this campy classic is one of the most beloved and well known b movies of all time. unfortunately lon chaney jr. was strictly type cast in these monster roles, but his wolf man is iconic.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
My favourite werewolf movie so far! Cheney makes a great wolf man. The story is great and the actors are good. I highly recommend this movie if you love horror movies.
Super Reviewer
January 23, 2010
Universal's second stab at the legend of werewolves is a brisk but brilliant little horror film. It knows when to have fun and when to focus on the horror. The characters all interact well and manage to build well defined relationships in the hour and 10 minutes of film. It's very doubtful that this will be scaring any newcomers,but the atmosphere and pacing make it a delightfully exhilarating watch. My only complaint is that the end comes all too sudden. A bit anticlimactic under the circumstances.
Super Reviewer
December 13, 2009
It's definitely not my favorite Universal Monster movie, but it's definitely a fun and interesting movie. The sense of style and kooky storytelling actually fits very well. It has a lot of great elements, especially Lon Chaney's transformation. It still looks great for its time.
Super Reviewer
November 21, 2006
I can say in all honestly that The Wolf Man isn't a great movie. It's hokey, dated and generally flawed. But it also has a great cast and is well ahead of its time. The set design is fantastic, the photography is gorgeously eerie and for 1941 the creature design was exquisite. Unfortunately The Wolf Man will probably get more laughs than scares from today's audiences but its still one of the classics from the Universal horror den. I'm aware I'm giving The Wolf Man a higher rating than it probably deserves but childhood classics are funny that way...
Super Reviewer
½ January 11, 2009
If you contrast Universal's The Wolf Man with Val Lewton's The Cat People you'll see two distinctly different styles that both work extremely well. Where Lewton's "evil" is conveyed in shadowy silhouettes and off-screen transformations, Universal's formula called for extreme close-ups, protruding fangs and loads & loads of yak hair. Where one is artistically sophisticated the other is courageously blatant. Both are horror classics and revered staples of the genre, arriving at the same destination via their own distinct path.
Super Reviewer
April 26, 2007
Fun classic horror movie. Thank you AMC for keeping these movies alive.
Super Reviewer
August 12, 2007
Lon Chaney portrays psychological torment, guilt, and conflict so well in this film. These feelings are so absent in this century. Larry Talbot, in contrast to public officials and corporate executives, wants to do the right thing, and feels remorse at the suffering that he has caused. Chaney also does this in his later Inner Sanctum films. Maria Ouspenskaya is also great as Maleva, the gypsy. And the music is also marvelous. Films as these put contemporary horror films to shame. The former are fun and a pleasure to watch. This one is quite good.
Super Reviewer
½ August 11, 2007
not as good as franky and drac, the runt of the horror family, but still fun...although not truly horrorific
Super Reviewer
½ July 13, 2007
A classic and good as well. The story is complete and the make up was really good for when it was made.
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2007
This film made a star of Lon Chaney, jnr., created all the myths about werewolves that would be used throughout Hollywood ever after.
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2014
The Lon Chaney, Jr. classic Universal Monster Movie The Wolf Man is a provocative tale of a man's struggle against fate. While courting a young shopkeeper Larry Talbot is attacked by a werewolf, and is told by gypsies that he has taken on the werewolf curse and will become a killer. Co-starring Claude Rains and Bela Lugosi, the film has a strong cast. But the script is weak, and does a poor job of showing Talbot's struggle to come to terms with his affliction. And, Chaney too has difficulty bringing depth to the Talbot character. Still, the make-up effects are quite good, and the score is able to create an impressive atmosphere mood. While it has some flaws, at its core The Wolf Man is a compelling and frightful film.
Super Reviewer
March 5, 2007
This was not all that great, despite the fact I really wanted to like this classic. The anachronisms of English mansions, European gypsy bands, horse and carriage on one hand with the car, telescope, 1940's suits, and American Lon Chaney Jr. were hard to get past. Claude Rains doesn't make any sense as Lon Chaney Jr.'s father. "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright." This quote is repeated way too much. "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night...", is a load of crap. Lawrence Talbot is a creepy voyeuristic stalker. The movie is inconsistent when Larry Talbot kills Bela as a werewolf, since the creature just appears to be a plain ordinary wolf. You could assume that as someone remains under the curse of Lycanthropy longer they lose their human physical attributes, which of course has been borrowed for other werewolf movies. In fact Curt Siodmak freely created this story without much being borrowed from any earlier legend, so the silver bullet, silver knife, or stick with silver handle, everything is new. It is being created as they go and not consistently. The metamorphosis is not very impressive here and the movie relies on melodrama in the extreme.
Super Reviewer
½ October 21, 2014
An expertly told monster story, The Wolf Man might not boast the most complex manner of storytelling but it nonetheless claws itself to top of the Universal horror stable through pure entertainment value. With this, Universals werewolf do-over following in the claws of 1936's Werewolf of London, all of the components came together for one of its most atmospheric and iconic monster flicks to date. The story takes place in Wales (though the script never actually mentions this fact), but the whole package forever put audiences in that eerie shadow-laden stretch of woods so synonymous with 20th Century horror and pop culture. In fact, the journey was so fun and thrilling that they never left.

In this unrated start to the Universal franchise, a practical man (Chaney) returns to his homeland, gets attacked by a creature of folklore, and infected with a horrific disease his disciplined mind tells him cant possibly exist.

So long associated with the many monstrous roles he continued playing (he later realized Dracula, Frankenstein, AND the Mummy on-screen as well), Lon Chaney, Jr. deserves great acclaim far outside of the shadow of his more-famous silent screen icon father (1923's The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1925's The Phantom of the Opera). Afterall, he rightly garnered great critical acclaim for playing Lenny in 1939's Of Mice and Men two full years before donning Jack Pierce's legendary hirsute yak hair make-up. Under the handsome direction of George Waggner, you truly feel sorry for his tragic once-bitten full moon conundrum. Much credit belongs to screenwriter Kurt Siodmak, however, who single-handedly invented most of the werewolf lycanthropy himself, coloring outside the lines of the legend. Twilight and so many other wolf tales owe his legacy a fat royalty check.

Bottom line: King of the Beasts
Suneel J.
Super Reviewer
½ November 22, 2011
An exceptional tale of the werewolf and a Universal classic by all means. A notch below Dracula and Frankenstein, but still a must-see including a great performance by Lon Chaney Jr. It has creative special effects for the early 1940's and uses great sets to accentuate spooky scenes. However, there are a few inconsistencies with the pentagram myth and the actual look of the wolf man compared to Bela's wolf form. The characters and skepticism are believable and it translates to an enjoyable film experience.
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