She-wolf of London (1943)
Director: Jean Yarbrough
Main Stars: Don Porter, June Lockhart, Sara Haden
Storyline: A young heiress finds evidence that she might be suffering from lycanthropy a family curse. She excludes herself from the rest of society.
Review (Spoils): The film falls under the Universal horror era but it not your typical horror storyline. The story takes place in London and it is based around a killer stalking the park at night. Some witness saying it is a woman that is part beast. Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) hears of this and thinks of it as herself as her family name has a history of being tied to a cult dedicated to wolves. As the murders continue she finds blood on her hands in the morning, muddy shoes and soaked night gowns. She believes she is going mad and isolates herself from her lover and everyone. In truth she is not going mad but setup by her family so that they can steal her inheritance. The film plays on that thriller and who setup who type movie.
The set itself is beautiful as usual for Universal and the film is very clear and crisp. The downfall of the film is, it is really not a werewolf film at all and the acting can be very poor. The film moves very slow and after awhile you catch on that it is all just a setup. Too bad because a female werewolf would of been fun.
Rating: Universal could have done something really really fun with this but instead they chicken out and made a murder mystery. I do not understand why Universal had an issue of actually making female monsters and showing them. This is too bad because this killed the Universal age of horror.
House of Frankenstein (1944)
Director: Erle C.Kenton
Main Stars: Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr, John Carradine, Anne Gwynne, Elena Verdugo, Glenn Strange
Storyline: Dr. Niemann and his hunch back assistant escape the asylum. In their journey they revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and find the Frankenstein Monster.
Review (Spoils): Being the fourth in the Frankenstein series this movie kind of falls all over the place. First we Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchback assistant trapped in prison. They escape by a strange lightning storm that hits the building. The doctor stumbles upon the coffin of Dracula (John Carradine ) from a freak show circus and they revive him from removing the stake. To add to the madness of their plan they come across the frozen body of the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr) and the Monster (Glenn Strange). They start a fire and revive both to use in their plan for revenge. All in this jumble of a storyline the hunchback falls in love with a gypsy woman (Elena Verdugo) but learns that she truly loves Larry Talbot which a silver bullet leads to both their deaths.
Boris Karloff does an amazing job playing a madman that wants to bring all the monsters back to life for his own revenge and pleasure. The ending scene is memorable to the fate of the Dr. Niemann character.
Lon Chaney Jr always plays the Larry Talbot character perfectly. In my eyes he will always be the Wolf Man.
Rating: This movie was not bad but it was a kind of all over the place with storyline. The whole Dracula plot could have been left out as it held not meat top the film. As time grows with the Universal films of horror they do become weaker.
An American Werewolf in London (1981)
Director: John Landis
Main Stars: David Naughton, Jenny Agutter, Joe Belcher
Storyline: Two American tourists hike through London and get attacked by a werewolf. One is killed and one lives with the curse.
Review(Spoilers): The special effects in this movie are over the top and werewolf at its best.We have two young men who are traveling and get mauled by a werewolf that nobody wants to admit lives in the surroundings. From there we have the curse of David (David Naughton) coping with the slow change at night, the haunting nightmares and undead visits from his best friend Jack (Joe Belcher) and others that he killed. The decaying of Jack through the movie is a nice touch and even leads to be a little bit of a comedy but the best part is the transformation of David to becoming a huge nasty hairy werewolf is beyond great and none of that lame CGI crap that we see so much of nowadays. Lots of movies can learn from this one. Also to top it off we have the sexy nurse Alex Price (Jenny Agutter) which adds a nice love story to the movie also.
Rating: One of the best if not the best werewolf movie out there. Grab a case and enjoy a true werewolf classic movie that has over the top effects, gore, sex and laughs.
The Howling (1981)
Director: Joe Dante
Main Stars: Dee Wallace, Patrick Macnee, Belinda Balaski, Robert Picardo, Elizabeth Brooks
Storyline: A newswoman is trying to track down a serial killer story and she gets more than she bargains for as she and her boyfriend end up in a colony of werewolves.
Review: Karen White (Dee Wallace) is trying to track down the greatest serial killer story of her career, the story of Eddie Quist (Robert Picardo). After following trails of smiley face stickers and porn shops she tracks him down and gets attacked and her career and her life was never the same again. Through some mental health her doctor Dr. Waggner recommends her and her boyfriend (Patrick Macnee) take a holiday to his colony, not mentioning it was a werewolf colony!
This movie is one of the first horror movies that I remember watching and I did enjoy this film. The movie has great special effects such as some of the werewolf transformations and decent gore (the axed off hand or the ripping of the brain from Eddie’s head are memorable). The storyline does have holes and there are some cheesy effects like when Marsha Quist (Elizabeth Brooks) is transforming into a she-wolf or her mad love fest or the cute little werewolf at the end of the film but it is not so bad as there are way worse out there for werewolf films (please see the rest of The Howling series for some examples).
Rating: “I’m gonna give you a piece of my mind” This movie bit me and I enjoyed it. Maybe it is because it was one of the first I have ever seen but even after seeing it over and over I still enjoy this film. It’s not the greatest werewolf movie but like said before there is a hell of lot worse out there.
The Wolfman (1941)
Director: George Waggner
Main Stars: Lon Chaney Jr, Claude Rains, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers
Storyline: Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr) goes back to Wales and stays with a group of gypsies. During this stay a werewolf (Bela Lugosi) attacks the group and Larry gets bite during the battle. Larry Talbot becomes the Wolfman and haunts the nearby forest as he battles his inner curse.
Review: Another great Universal Film of horror. We have Lon Chaney’s son playing the cursed Wolfman to become one of the most classic horror characters of its time. This film has a very solid storyline and the haunting wood is done very well. This is one of my favorites of this time period and the make-up is very well done for its time. Yes the film editing can be lame when the Wolfman (Lon Chaney Jr) does the transformation but hey its 1941!
Rating: We have Lon Chaney Jr and Bela Lugosi together what can go wrong? Great storyline and I love the added touch of the pentagram. Crack out the pints as this werewolf howls a good time!