It’s October! For season five we’ve selected four horror films from four decades to honor Halloween. We begin with episode five: The Wolf Man (1941).
Most of you are familiar with the plot. A man returns to his family estate whereupon he falls for a young lady. While walking through the evening woods a werewolf bites hims. He slowly realizes he’s to blame for the wild animal attacks plaguing the town. When he warns his father, doctor, and potential girlfriend, they all think he’s crazy.
George Waggner directed and Curt Siodmak wrote the granddaddy of all werewolf stories*. The lore begins here with Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot, the unfortunate werewolf. Claude Rains as Sir John Talbot tries to maintain his leadership role within the community while attempting to allay his prodigal son’s growing unease. Maria Ouspenskaya and Bela Lugosi have small pivotal roles as knowing Gypsies. Evelyn Ankers makes Gwen’s growing affection for Larry beleivable. The townsfolk gossip, the gamesmen hunt, and Larry Talbot truly fears for what he has done and may yet still do.
It may be short. It may be a little light on the backstory. But this is a classic for a reason: mythos, madness, and makeup. Start your month of horror right and find that film The Wolf Man.
*More werewolf facts begin here than in Werewolf of London (1935).