Must-Own Halloween Blu-Rays In 2012 – Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection + 1

A Halloween Blu-ray Collection needs a bit of Howl

Of all the Universal Monster movies, I do believe The Wolf Man represents the best of the Halloween season. The wooded Welsh countryside sets created for the film are jaw-dropping in scope. I simply cannot wait to see those woods in Blu-ray. I can state, without any doubt in my mind, that The Wolf Man‘s woods are the greatest woods in the history of motion pictures. They are fairytale woods, the kind that tempt children before swallowing them whole and feeding them to wolves.

The innovation of The Wolf Man is that it’s about these woods taking a grown man and turning him into a wolf — in this case, Lon Chaney, Jr. The actor couldn’t have been more different from his pop. He was a robust mountain of a man, sporting sad, droopy eyes, and an unmistakable baritone voice that make for a convincing everyman. Upon being bitten, his life is purely and unequivocally fucked, and we’re right there with him because he could be us. Such is the greatness of Chaney in this role.

To be frank, he owes a lot to the film’s script. Few werewolf movies actually force you to sympathize with the monster in question. The beauty of The Wolf Man is that it’s essentially a “three-hanky” terminal disease melodrama. What sets it apart from those films is that, instead of being bedridden, the disease is going to force our pragmatic, nice-guy protagonist to turn into a bloodthirsty half-human, half-wolf hybrid. This is the tragedy of The Wolf Man: unlike Dracula, The Mummy, Dr. Frankenstein, or Griffin, Talbot is stricken with the disease through no cause of his own. We know he’s a dead man before he even turns, making The Wolf Man all the more horrific before he begins his rampage.

Swim at your own risk…

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