After Hammer Studios successfully rebooted the Frankenstein, Dracula and Mummy franchises there was only one major monster left for them to tackle. In 1961 Hammer Studios produced Curse of the Werewolf and gave us one of the most fascinating and unique films in this particular monster genre.

 

Curse of The Werewolf Tackles the Origination of Such a Creature

What makes this particular werewolf film unlike any of the others is that it actually fleshes out its own werewolf origination story. What I mean by this is that the film does not start with a werewolf already in existence but actually unravels how one would become a werewolf in the first place where none had previously existed. Think about that for a second and let that sink in. Imagine you’re writing for a film production and are tasked to come up with how the first werewolf was created. A cliched easy way would be to describe how a character gets bitten by an actual wolf, survives and then becomes the half-man half-wolf creature. Hammer does not do this, but instead crafts a very clever scenario where a horrifying act of evil is perpetrated against a woman that is so heinous that she births a monster. It is also significant to note that this scene, before any werewolf is actually introduced in the film, is unquestionably the creepiest and scariest moment in the film.

After the origination of the werewolf plays out in the first part of the film, it then takes an even more intriguing path. It does not go down the usual horror film trope- which would have been fine- of victims being stalked on full moon evenings and savagely murdered. Instead the film embarks on a fascinating character study of this individual as he grows into manhood with this horrible mark on his soul. He is more of a victim of this heinous act that birthed him rather than a predatory and murderous creature, though people do die at his hand and so the ending is tragic and violent. Overall this film has been described by critics as more of a character study than an actual horror film. Perhaps this is why Hammer only made one werewolf film in their entire horror filmography- as this story line did not lend itself to any sequels as the Frankenstein and Dracula franchises had. I haven’t found any information on why Hammer never made more werewolf films, but this one-off is definitely worth a viewing.   

%d bloggers like this: