|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,
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!
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.)
Werewolf Of London
|The Wolf Man, 1941|
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
|Return Of The Vampire, 1944|
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|
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
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,
|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