Wednesday, October 28, 2015


Harriet Von Lupin
OW-WOOOOOOOO!!  Hi there!  This is Harriet Von Lupin, your roving reporter for The MonsterGrrls' Thir13en For Halloween, and I hope it's been a happy one for you!

Frankie and Bethany have already done some posts on here about horror movies that feature Creatures and vampires, so I thought I'd do something like that.  Besides, if your favorite monster is the werewolf (like mine!!), you might have wondered to yourself where all of this comes from.

All cultures in the world have stories of werewolves, or people who could change into some kind of animal.  (It isn't just wolves, y'know.)  The earliest known descriptions of werewolves go back all the way to the early Greeks, whose literature depicted men who took on the form of wolves for a few days each year, or men who were transformed after they ate human flesh.  (Of course, we don't eat humans anymore--with all that prepackaged food and fast-food stuff you eat now, you guys taste terrible!  You really are what you eat, y'know!!)  But when motion pictures came into vogue, people didn't gravitate to making movies about werewolves right away, mainly because there wasn't as much literary pedigree.  Vampires had Bram Stoker's Dracula and Creatures had Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, but werewolves didn't have their own books or anything like now.

Wolf Blood, 1925
The earliest known werewolf film is a lost film called The Werewolf, made in 1913.  Although nobody today has ever seen it, records about it still exist.  The story is about a Navajo woman who uses witchcraft to change herself into a wolf so she can avenge her dead lover, and it was directed by Henry McRae, who had a 20-year career of filmmaking and racked up over 160 films!  But even though nobody's seen this film, there was another film made in 1925 called Wolf Blood.  This was directed by George Chesebro, a silent-film star of Western movies who also was the star of this film.  In it, a lumberjack gets assaulted by other guys from a rival logging company and left for dead.  A doctor saves him, but has to give him a blood transfusion from a wolf.  Soon Lumberjack Guy starts having dreams about running with a pack, and then the bad loggers start getting attacked by wolves, which makes everyone think that Lumberjack Guy is a werewolf!  This one is the earliest known werewolf film that still exists.

Hull and Oland fighting over the mariphasa
Now I bet all you guys were thinking that Universal Studios' The Wolf Man was the first werewolf film, huh?  Wrong!!  Even though it's a great film, it wasn't the first, and it wasn't even the first werewolf film that Universal did.  That one is Werewolf Of London, in 1935, while Wolf Man was made six years later, in 1941.  Werewolf Of London starred Henry Hull as a botanist (that's a plant doctor) who gets bitten by a werewolf in Tibet while searching for a rare plant called a mariphasa.  Soon after, another guy, played by Warner Oland, shows up and tells him that the mariphasa can be used as a cure against lycanthropy.  Henry kinda blows him off, but he suddenly discovers that Oland might be right, because when he's exposed to moonlight, Henry starts turning into a werewolf!  The makeup stuff in this movie was done by Jack Pierce, the same guy who did the makeup later for Lon Chaney, Jr., when Universal made The Wolf Man.  (Henry could only take four hours at a time in the makeup chair, which is why his Werewolf looks the way it does.)

The Wolf Man, 1941
Werewolf Of London wasn't so successful at the box office, so it took awhile before Universal came out with the alpha of werewolf movies, The Wolf Man.  This was the one that fully established a lot of what is now tradition with werewolves, including the silver allergies and the transforming at the full moon, all of which was written by scriptwriter Curt Siodmak.  (He wasn't far off!)  Wolfie appeared four more times in Universal's horror movies, in Frankenstein Meets The Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House Of Dracula (1945) and Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Return Of The Vampire, 1944
However, that wasn't the end of werewolves in movies.  The 1940's were kind of a big year for werewolves, because in 1942, just a year after Wolfie came out, PRC did a movie called The Mad Monster, and 20th Century Fox did a werewolf film the same year called The Undying Monster!  Columbia Pictures did a film called Return Of The Vampire (1944) which had Bela Lugosi doing his Dracula thing as a vampire named Armand Tesla, who had a werewolf assistant.  Columbia also did another film that same year called Cry Of The Werewolf, about a Gypsy girl (Nina Fuch) who discovers she's got some lycanthrope in her bloodline.
I Was A Teenage Werewolf, 1957

After that, werewolves kinda disappeared for a little while.  But in 1957, werewolves came back with Michael Landon starring in a teen horror flick called I Was A Teenage Werewolf, in which a troubled kid (Landon) who's got some problems is experimented on by a doctor, who makes him into a werewolf!  In 1961, Hammer Films released the super-cool Curse Of The Werewolf, starring Oliver Reed.  This one meant that werewolves finally ended up with a literary pedigree, because this movie was based on Guy Endore's 1933 novel The Werewolf Of Paris!

Werewolves On Wheels, 1971

Werewolves got really goofy in the Seventies, though.  (It was a goofy time, but still...)  In 1971, we had the first werewolf biker film, Werewolves On Wheels, which became a favorite with those who like so-bad-it's-good movies.  (Kinda like our Mad Doc!)  Spanish horror star Paul Naschy created a looong series of films that was all about a werewolf named Valdemar Kanisky, but it's generally accepted that one of the best ones was his 1972 film Fury Of The Wolfman.  (Of course, he kinda got it wrong, because that film says that werewolves come from Yetis...)  And another English film studio called Amicus Productions, which featured a lot of the old Hammer stars, released The Beast Must Die in 1974.  But when the Eighties rolled around, werewolves had a banner year in 1981, which saw the release of some of the most famous werewolf films there are: An American Werewolf In London, The Howling, and Wolfen!
The Beast Must Die, 1974

So if you're looking for a cool film to watch for Halloween, just remember there's plenty of werewolf movies to watch, and maybe with this offering we've given you an appetite for some!  And speaking of appetites, I gotta go grab a snack before doing some more Halloween prepping, but we'll be back soon with more cool stuff for The MonsterGrrls' Thir13en For Halloween!  See you soon!  OWWW-WOOOO!!!

Harriet Von Lupin

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