Directed by: George Waggner
Starring: Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Warren William
The Wolf Man is a classic, one of the “Universal monster movies” of the 30’s and 40’s that were so influential their cultural fingerprints are still found all over. Apart from that, it’s just a good movie with neat (though extremely campy from a modern perspective) special effects. Given all that, I just can’t believe that it had such a piss-poor movie poster.
Larry Talbot, a spoiled rich American visiting his father’s castle in Europe somewhere, gets attacked by a wolf one night and when he beats it to death with his silver cane, it mysteriously turns into Bela Lugosi with a mustache. This is strange, but nobody seems to think anything of it… until he hears about the curse of the werewolf from an old gypsy woman and begins turning into some sort of Wolf Man.
Yes, the wolf man’s costume is pretty goofy, because it’s just a guy in normal clothes with a fuzzy face, even I can admit that. Still, Lon Chaney Jr.’s portrayal of the panicked and cursed Talbot is one of my favorite roles ever. He does a fantastic job of showing exactly how I’d think this situation would affect a guy like him. Chaney isn’t really the main character, that’s his dad (Rains) who’s forced to hunt down his own son and kill him to remove the curse, and he’s good too. Basically, it’s a monster movie about becoming a monster and why that totally sucks. HEAR THAT, 21ST CENTURY?! BEING A WEREWOLF IS A BAD THING!!