The topic for this week’s halloween feature is one of my favorite monsters, the Werewolf.
The first on my list, Hammer film”s Curse of the Werewolf directed by Terence Fisher starring Oliver Reed, is one I’d been curious about for years. First because it’s based on one of the closest thing to a classic in Werewolf literiture, The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore also as a fan of folklore I was drawn to a werewolf film that didn’t rely on all of the usual Hollywood cliches.
Regrettably while it’s may be a classic of the genre it is far from being a masterpiece. The story is hackneyed, acting mediocre and while the monster makeup looks great in stills in the movie itself there is something sadly lacking about it. The only good thing about it was Reed’s performance. He has an incredible intensity that goes back and fourth between looking like he’s trying to keep the horror in and being nearly mad with guilt
The 2010 remake of the Wolfman starring Benicio del Toro and Anthony Hopkins was something I was looking forward to.
The movie starts off as a big budget high production of the original (which always felt like a filmed play to me.) but in the second act starts to diverge radically with Lawrence Talbot captured and taken to an assylum in London where he inevitably runs ammuck… other changes occur until in the end it is something very different.
I had heard that the screenplay had borrowed quite a bit from Endure’s novel so I had thought that the two movies would make for a good double feature. As I viewed it I found other similarities as well including focussing on relationships between father and son and doomed romances. Another factor about it was Del Toro has quite a passing resemblance to the young Oliver Reed.
I wanted to like it so much. It had some good performances, excellent effects and spectacular sets but ultimately my reaction was “meh” But still it is probably one of the best Werewolf films out there which, regrettably at this point isn’t that much of a compliment.