The Wolf Man (1941)

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As soon as Claude Rains and Bela Lugosi show up in The Wolf Man, there’s no doubt that the Universal Horror movies were the original extended cinematic universe! I love all of the crazy opticals in this movie. The use of images upon images being refracted into multiples to convey dreams and hallucinations is dazzling. It’s representative of this time when the highly expressionistic language of silent cinema was still utilized and not relegated to the back-seat thanks to the invention of sound. This thing really does embrace all the different elements of the medium and is a rather entertaining 40s horror romp. The make up is great and Lon Chaney ofcourse – iconic!

After doing a bit of reading, I’m stunned at how much of the mythology associated with lycanthropy actually originated from this film. The idea of silver bullets killing a werewolf was spawned from the silver cane used here and the notion of being bitten by a werewolf causing the victim to become one too was also an invention of writer Curt Siodmak. In that sense, The Wolf Man really is ground zero for a lot of the tropes we associate with this particular sub-genre and still resonates today. It holds up and has a lot to offer for curious audiences coming to it as late as 2017. Werewolf fans will not be disappointed.

Watched on blu-ray.

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