Classic Horror Movie Review Of The Week- “The Wolfman” (1941)- Contributed by Andy Shultz
SPOILER WARNING! This review contains a synopsis of the film. If you haven’t seen the movie and wish not to be spoiled, watch the film and then read. If you have seen it, read the review and watch it again!
It’s safe to say that for the most part, our love of horror began with the movies. A form of entertainment designed to scare and thrill. What better way to say thank you than to give a weekly review of a classic horror film? To be considered for this review, the movie must be at least 25 years old or have a cult following.
To kick us off, I decided to turn to one of my favorites, the 1941 classic, “The Wolfman,” “The Wolfman” stars Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot, a wealthy man who returns to his family home in Europe following the death of his brother. Once home, he falls in love with a local woman, Gwen, and begins to court her. However, she is already engaged. While out one full moon night with Gwen, Talbot is attacked by a Wolf. Talbot kills the beast, but is wounded in the process. He recovers from his injury, but soon learns from a Gypsy that it was a werewolf that attacked Talbot, passing along the curse to him. Talbot has a literal internal struggle as he transforms into the wolfman at night and goes on a murder spree. He tries to take back control, but loses the fight to the beast. Ultimately, Talbot is killed by his own father, who doesn’t realize until the end that his son is the wolfman.
Out of all the Universal Monster films, this one is my favorite. It hits all the right notes for me. It’s the perfect story of a good guy who has the world going for him, then is suddenly thrust into a downward spiral as he is cursed to be the monster that terrorizes the locals. Chaney is charming as Talbot and you genuinely care as he goes from a playboy to man trying to survive as he struggles with the monster he has become. The tragic love story between Talbot and Gwen adds depth to the film.
To me, this movie is the epitome of the classic monster movies from the 40s. The dark, creepy music, the lighting, the foreshadowing, and the suspense. It’s all the makings of something truly wonderful.
I also love that the film has two other horror greats along side Chaney- Claude Raines and Bela Lugosi.
“The Wolfman” spawned numerous sequels, many of them, Chaney reprised the role of Larry Talbot/The Wolfman. Universal also made recent remake with Benicio Del Toro. The remake was a flop, not even making back its budget.
Overall, its fun trip to the past, a great date night movie and is just a lot of fun horror. I highly recommend it and I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And if you have seen it, watch it again and enjoy! But remember:
“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
Check back next week for the next classic horror movie review- “A Nightmare on Elm Street.”