Universal Monsters have always had an impact on me, I’ve seen most of the movies, but not all are as intriguing to me as The Wolf Man (1941). This movie isn’t the first werewolf movie, but the most memorable. In fact, I don’t think I saw Werewolf of London (1935), maybe, I’ll put it on the watch list.
To me this movie also fits into the Gothic Romance genre, the sweetness of Larry meeting Gwen, well after he spied on her through a telescope, is a nice scene. Gwen is played by Evelyn Ankers, who is ravishing, stealing my eye in every scene she’s present. AND SHE SCREAMED, and what a delightful scream it is. I’m not sure what it is about these classics and the woman screaming, but there is something different than today’s scream queens.
The effects are mesmerizing and fascinating. Where in today’s world CGI would be all over the place distorting the view, they used a stop-motion, fade-in effect for the feet transformation; sadly, in this film, they don’t show the face changing. The fog machine is turned on high, filling the set with the mist’s eerie goodness.
This is one of those films that proves that you don’t have to be over the top with gore to be a great horror flick. The ending in this movie is abrupt; it just stops. Return to classic horror roots, and check out The Wolf Man, make sure it’s from 1941.
I give The Wolf Man 4 out of 5 Stars.
The next in the Wolf Man series of movies is Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), though it is the fifth in the Frankenstein series. Larry Talbot is resurrected by thieves who break into his crypt during a full moon. I’m thinking this is the first reference to the full moon, but I could be wrong.
Unlike The Wolf Man, they show the facial transformation in this one, using the same stop-motion fading, which I’m sure isn’t the correct term, as before. The romance level in this movie is almost absent. It’s more frantic than the first, and it doesn’t seem to flow as nicely as I’d have expected. I don’t understand why Maleva’s son died, but Larry didn’t when his father clubbed him to death.
This is a primarily male dominate film, especially in the first half. And even when we meet Baroness Elsa Frankenstein, she definitely doesn’t take center stage, though her alluring Hungarian accent forces attention. Ilona Massey is the beauty and deserved to have more face time. Patric Knowles, who I’ll never complain about seeing on the screen, plays Dr. Frank Mannering, which was a little strange since he played Frank Andrews in The Wolf Man.
At about 45 minutes left, we finally see the Monster. To say this movie is drawn out and slow at times is an understatement. Then they throw in a musical number, and I’m like, what’s happening? When we get to the meat of the movie (The Wolf Man and Frankenstein’s Monster fighting) it’s short lived, and the movie just ends.
I’m not really a fan of this one, but I will give it 3 out of 5 Stars.