“LYCANTHROPY (Werewolfism). A disease of the mind in which human beings imagine they are wolf-men. According to an old LEGEND which persists in certain localities, the victims actually assume the physical characteristics of the animal. There is a small village near TALBOT CASTLE which still claims to have had gruesome experiences with this supernatural creature. The sign of the Werewolf is a five-pointed star, a pentagram, enclosing a…”
Go to viooz.co to watch the movie.
And so begins The Wolf Man
I love movies that start with dictionary definitions. It’s usually some fundamental knowledge that will help the audience understand certain aspects of the film, which means the concept of werewolves must have been pretty foreign back in 1941, when George Waggner’s The Wolf Man was released.
I also love creepy Peeping Toms who use telescopes to stalk and meet unsuspecting retail women. But it’s this act that moves our story along, as it’s where Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) buys his wolf’s head cane with the pentagram from Gwen Conliffe (Evelyn Ankers) and first hears the phrase, “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.”
This poem, a work of fiction by the screenwriter, Curt Siodmak, is an important incident in werewolf legend. In The Wolf Man, it is not the moon that causes the transformation of a man to a werewolf, but rather the blooming of wolfbane. It wasn’t until the sequel that the full moon became the cause of transformation, and according the end of the poem was changed to “when the moon is full and bright.”
Yeah, and so a gypsy dies, Larry gets bit, and werewolf wonders ensue.
The Wolf Man in Heavy Metal
Iced Earth used an adapted version of the Wolfban poem in their song “Wolf,” on the Horror Show album. Cradle of Filth also used the poem in “Queen of Winter, Throned,” on the album V Empire.
The Chaney Legacy
The Wolf Man was preceded by the 1935 Universal film Werewolf of London, which was a box office failure, and it’s Lon Chaney, Jr.’s version that we remember and look to every Frankenstein, Chaney wasn’t first to be cast as the Wolf Man. Up until a week prior to filming, Dick Foran (The Mummy’s Hand, The Fearmakers, Horror Island) was set to play the titular role. Chaney, however, would go on to be the only actor to reprise his monster role in all of the Universal sequels.. As with Karloff in
It took six hours to apply the Jack P. Pierce Wolf Man makeup and three hours to remove it. There are only three onscreen transformations, two of the feet and one of the face. Technology of the times. The first transformation was done with six lapse dissolves, the second with 11 dissolves, and the final facial transformation with 17 continuous dissolves.
Enjoy the flick and bark at the moon.
Rock Hard \m/