Directed by: George Waggner
Stars out of 10: 10 – Perfect
One of the Big 4 of Classic Horror, The Wolfman is the definitive horror movie!
To many, classic horror starts from the 70’s or from early 80’s. I disagree. To me it was from early 20’s to mid 50’s, the true predecessor of modern horror. Many of the well-known horror movies were made at this time and The Wolf Man is one of them. Although not the first werewolf movie, it certainly was the most influential and iconic. I consider the performance of Lon Chaney, Jr. as the doomed Larry Talbot / Wolf Man and the whole film in general to be the definitive portrayal of a werewolf. all Universal Monsters are iconic but there’s just something about the Wolf Man. Is it the groundbreaking make-up for its time or the creepy atmosphere? Or is it because of the great performance by Lon Chaney, Jr. (why do think I’ve ranked him no. 1 here?). Just like the horror movies of its time – and before – it has the very 2 things they are famous for: Amazing music and at least one iconic scene. In long intervals the music serves a great role and it often very chilling. For the iconic scene, the part where Larry turns into a werewolf. Remember that was the 40’s, long before CGI and everything (come to think of it, many of the CGI and special effects pioneers of modern times were not even born then) and the transformation must’ve caused a-many nightmares. It’s effective and damn simple to the point that anyone with a good camera and Windows Movie Maker can achieve the same effect (hint: try Transition). The performances by all are very convincing and rather impressive. Before he went the utterly quotable and blendable Capt. Renault, Claude Raines gave easily one of his best performances as Sir John Talbot. All in all, if you’re a classic horror fan and/or like Universal Monsters then this one is definitely not to miss and believe me, you will love this and if you think that Boris Karloff was great as Frankenstein or Sir Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal, your mind will have changed after watching Lon Chaney, Jr. If you don’t like it, you can remove me from your friend list (yes, I’m that confident)
Overall, I would like to call The Wolf Man as one of the Big 4 Of Classic Horror, the other 3 being: Nosferatu, 1922, Dracula, 1931 and Frankenstein 1931. I have others in mind like The Old Dark House, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Phantom of the Opera and so on but these four really defined everything and their images are known to everyone throughout the world, movie-goers or not. Like I said before, the image of the wolf and the portrayal is great. A lyncanthrope is supposed to be shown in a tragic, yet determined sort of way who doesn’t want to turn into a werewolf but is doomed, not the lovey-dovey crying stuff like in Twilight. Anyway, classic horror survived the 40’s because of this and, even after 60 years, still manages to scare us by sheer simplicity. A great film indeed!