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The Curse of the Werewolf

UK 1961
produced by
Anthony Hinds, Michael Carreras (executive), Anthony Nelson-Keys (Associate) for Hammer
directed by Terence Fisher
starring Oliver Reed, Clifford Evans, Hira Talfrey, Catherine Feller, Yvonne Romain, Anthony Dawson, Richard Wordsworth, Warren Mitchell, Josephine Llewellyn, Justin Walters, John Gabriel, Anne Blacke, George Woodbridge, Michael Ripper, Ewen Solon, Peter Sallis, Martin Matthews, David Conville, Denis Shaw, Serafina Di Leo
screenplay by John Elder (= Anthony Hinds), based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore, music by Benjamin Frankel, cinematography by Arthur Grant

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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On his wedding day, the Marques (Anthony Dawson) is visited by a beggar (Richard Wordsworth), but instead of giving him food from his overflowing tables, he humiliates the man, then throws him into jail. There, the beggar is forgotten by everyone but the jailer's mute daughter (Yvonne Romain), who makes friends with him. But the jailer's daughter eventually grows up to a beautiful woman, and eventually, The Marques, who has grown peculiar over the years, tries to rape her. When she refuses, he has her thrown into jail, where the beggar rapes her for real (why escapes me though, after all, she was his friend).

Eventually, the girl gets out of jail again, and pays a visit to the Marques, pretending to want to apologize ... but actually, she just stabs him, then runs off ...

Eventually, the girl is found, totally exhausted, by Don Alfredo (Clifford Evans) and his maid Teresa (hHira Talfrey), who take care of her and soon discover that she is pregnant. Eventually, she has the baby and disappears from the picture, while Don Alfredo and Teresa raise him, named Leon, as their own son.

A few years later: Several sheep are killed by a wolf, whom the local watchman Pepe (Warren Mitchell) seems to be unable to find - until one day their ways cross, and Pepe shoots the wolf in the leg. But somehow the wolf manages to disappear completely. Only that same night, Don Alfredo finds out that little Leon (Justin Walters) was hit by a bullet, even if he claims he hasn't been out. And another thing, Leon starts growing body hair every time he is in a stressful situation and it is night ... so in case you wondered, yes, he is a werewolf. But Don Alfredo figures he can cure the boy's predicament with love and understanding, which works nicely for a while.

Years later: Leon is now grown up (and played by Oliver Reed) when he decides to leave home and work at a winery. There he soon falls in love with Cristina (Catherine Feller), but she is promised to someone else by her father - reason enough for him to encounter emotional distress and once again turn into a werewolf, killing both a prostitute and his best friend José (Martin Matthews). However, the next night when he's with Cristina he finds out her honest and true love can subdue his condition ... but by then the police has already found him out as the killer of the prostitute and José, and he is thrown into jail.

Don Alfredo makes a desperate attempt to have the boy set free, but to no avail, since noone seems to believe his werewolf-tale - but that night, Leon turns into a werewolf once again, breaks the bars of his prison with the greatest of ease and roams the city, with the terrified townsfolks reduced to watch in horror.

Only Don Alfredo figures what to do, and so he fetches a gun loaded with a silver bullet and shoots his son ...

 

Part horror and part period piece and as such divided into two seperate parts - the very long prologue about the beggar and the mute jailer's daughter and the actual werewolf story - this film is probably not on par with Hammer's/Terence Fisher's earlier horror-outings like Curse of Frankenstein or Dracula, however taken on its own terms the film is still pretty good: Despite falling into two seperate parts the film's story remains pretty involving throughout (even despite some plotholes or leaps of reason), the acting is of course first class and Terence Fisher's direction is marvelous (if traditional) and his full use of lush colours in the context of the horror genre to this day remains breathtaking. Watch it !

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
Amazon!!!

 

 

 

On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD