The Wolf Man Reviews
"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.
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