The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Reed Howls at the Moon

When a beggar enters the castle of an evil Marquis it starts a chain of strange events. First he is humiliated and thrown in to the castle's prison where he is forgotten about except by a young mute girl who brings him food. Many years later that mute girl is thrown into the cell for refusing the Marquis' advances and subsequently raped by the beggar before escaping and found in the woods by the kindly Alfredo Corledo who takes her home to his wife. Then on Christmas day she gives birth to a baby they name Leon as the mother dies shortly after child birth. But that is by no means the end of the tale because as Leon grows Alfredo and his wife discover he is a werewolf who whilst able to control things as a child finds it much harder when he becomes a man.

I should admit that I am not the biggest fan of the Hammer horror movies of the past; I have often struggled to see what made them so popular having only just started to watch them now several decades after they were made. But once in a while one comes along which manages to grab my attention and "The Curse of the Werewolf" managed to do just that. But before I go on I will say now that as a horror movie I don't rate it; the horror of the strange goings on or the beggar going crazy in the cell and so on does not have any impact what so ever.

But what impressed me about "The Curse of the Werewolf" was the combination of story and production. This had one of the most elaborate back stories I have come across taking us from a beggar entering a town to many decades later when a child he violently sired turns out to be a werewolf and then grows up. And the production looks so much more detailed than the later Hammer movies which I am more familiar with. In fact after watching many of the Hammer movies from the late 60s and 70s which have an almost production line feel to them "The Curse of the Werewolf" comes across more like a movie made because someone saw potential in the story.

What this all boils down to is that whilst again "The Curse of the Werewolf" is a Hammer movie which doesn't do much for me in the form of horror it did impress me with a much better story and production than I was expecting. In fact after watching this I can begin to see why many loved and still love these old Hammer horror movies.