The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Article #519 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing date: 8-16-2002
Posting date: 1-9-2003

A woman who was raped by a mad beggar gives birth to a boy who turns out to be a werewolf.

The first time I saw this Hammer take on lycanthropy I felt the movie spent far too much time on backstory; this time around, I changed my mind. The backstory is, in fact, the most interesting part of the movie; it’s quite fascinating to follow all the events that actually lead up to the more standard werewolfery in the second half of the movie. And since one of the problems I regularly have with Hammer films is that they usually have more running time than story, the time spent on backstory on this one actually fills out the time very well. The fact that the curse is passed on in a very novel way also makes the movie quite interesting, and I do think this is one of Hammer’s best horror movies, filled with memorable character parts (including Richard Wordsworth, the tormented astronaut of THE QUATERMASS XPERIMENT as the beggar) and good performances. I’m not particularly fond of Oliver Reed here, as I do feel he’s a little over the top on occasion, but there’s no doubt he brings the required intensity to the role.

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