So I was shelving in the library and came across this film. I love Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and werewolves, so of course I had to see it.
This film was a low budget movie from the ’70s and it is bad-very bad. It is actually sixth in the series about Count Waldemar Daninsky-noble turned werewolf.
It starts off with newly wed couple-Justine (Shirley Corrigan) and Imre Kosta (José Marco) are celebrating with friends before their honeymoon, one friend being Dr. Henry Jekyll (Jack Taylor)-the grandson of the Dr. Jekyll.
They couple are planning to travel to Kosta’s home in Transylvania for their honeymoon, so that Kosta can visit his fatherland and parent’s grave. Jekyll jokingly warns them about vampires and werewolves-the storm outside crashing through the window on that last one.
You all know what that means-foreshadowing.
When the couple returns to Transylvania, Justine does not enjoy it-screaming at everything that surprises her. Annoying.
They get warned against visiting the old gravesite, where Kosta’s parents are buried, as gangs hang out there and it is next to the Black Castle where the monster werewolf lives.
They go anyway and Justine asks how Kosta’s parents died-interesting as it is odd she never asked him that before. He reveals that his parents were murdered, hacked to death. He only survived because he was at his aunt and uncle’s house staying the night. They took him to England and he has never looked back.
So I’m thinking that maybe the werewolf is connected to this-but they are interrupted when a gang tries to hijack their car. Kosta goes to stop them and is murdered. Well…he had a short time. And I guess we never find out about his parents-why even include their murder if it has nothing else to do with the story?
Anyways, Justin screams again as the gang attacks her planning on raping her. Now her screaming makes sense but it is really annoying. But a werewolf arrives and saves her stabbing one of the gang members.
Yes-a werewolf stabbing his victim. Stabbing. STABBING. staaabbbing. Doesn’t matter how many times I say it, it still sounds stupid.
So Justine wakes up after fainting in a completely new outfit-weird. When did she change…or who changed her? She sees her dead husband and Waldemar Daninsky (Paul Naschy) the werewolf. She runs and screams again.
He and his housekeeper, who everyone in town believes to be a witch, explain everything to her. Justine wants to leave but they have to wait until the full moon ends.
The relatives of the dead gang member decide to get their revenge, but are no match for the werewolf. Afterwards, Justine and Waldemar head to England. There Justine asks Dr. Jekyll for his help-but he doesn’t believe her. Justine begs him to help the man she loves and he agrees after he has seen and studied the man for himself.
Wow she is in love with Waldemar. I know her husband died but she’s been married a week and has fallen in love with some other guy she just met? Wow;
Waldemar heads to the clinic, but gets stuck in an elevator with a nurse. They are in there for two hours when he turns and kills her.
After that-Henry is convinced. They go out to the country to his other lab. He comes up with the idea to inject Waldemar with the serum that turned the original Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. It will fight against the werewolf, but hopefully will be stronger and Waldemar will become Mr. Hyde. Then they will inject him with the antidote and Waldemar will be back to normal.
Henry’s nurse and the his booty call, doesn’t like this idea. She wants them to use the serum to control and world domination-etc. He refuses and she becomes very angry-she’s tired of being second fiddle to Justine who doesn’t even care for him-and now with science choosing Justine again. That’s it!
The next full moon Dr. Jekyll tries his experiment and it works-Waldemar turns into Hyde. He looks more like the Spencer Tracey version than the Fredrich March version. He even magically gets a cane and caped jacket-like something a Victorian would wear.
Dr. Jekyll is pleased with how it has gone and ready to inject the antidote, when the nurse turns on him an injects him. She releases Hyde.
Justine finds Dr. Jekyll and helps him to a bed for his final moments. He warns her that she must destroy the rest of the serum as Hyde will want it to stay alive. He also warns her he didn’t finish, so when the fill moon rises again-Hyde will become a werewolf. Justine follows his instructions with the lab.
When Hyde returns to the lab he becomes enraged that Justine slipped through their fingers and that the serum is gone. He kills the nurse and then goes off to the city to get “pleasure and women.” He also kills a drunk.
He goes to a club and gets a girl extra hot and interested in him-why? Don’t know. He looks so odd like a Victorian man in the ’70s but hey she’s into him. She steps away from the table and he transforms back into Waldemar. Of which the girl is very angry, I guess she thought Hyde was more attractive.
Waldemar becomes the werewolf and goes on a rampage. He finds Justine, somehow, who screams again. Ugh.
Yeah, not that good. The best part was when Dr. Jekyll and the wolfman interact but it doesn’t last long. If we had more-it would have been better. Why is it that the best film to do a mashup of monsters thus far that I have seen is Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein? You think it would be easy to make a great monster mashup but no.
But while Horrorfest is over for now, you can never truly kill it. It always comes back. Specifically next October with Horrorfest VI.
It never ceases to amaze me how every October I plan out 26 film reviews, 4 TV reviews, and one post on my personal thoughts; yet what I start off with never matches up with the end result.
So let’s go over what this Horrorfest V was all about.
So I started planning my Horrorfest with lots of ’40s films, but it ended up being all about the ’80s. What can I say? You know I love it.
I LOVE the ’80s
We had Ghostbusters, Thriller, Cat’s Eye, Once Bitten, Teen Wolf, and Clue
And you all remember how I said I wanted to do something different this year? Well I did. This was the most I have ever reviewed Horror-Comedies.
It is horrorfying and funny at the same time!
We had Ghostbusters, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Once Bitten, Clue, and Teen Wolf.
My free post, on whatever horror thing I wished to write about, was 31 tips on How to Survive a Horror Film. I got the idea last year, but couldn’t put it into play until this year. I hope it was helpful. 🙂
So Alfred Hitchcock,
we only covered one of his films, and it was one of the oldest ones he created. I strayed from what had become a tradition of three as I felt I didn’t want to use his works too quickly. Which film will I review next year? I’m not sure. I was toying with maybe doing one of his last films like Frenzy or Family Plot. Then again, The Birds have been on my list from the beginning and I still haven’t reviewed it. I guess we will see what happens next year.
So we reviewed a TV episode every Friday in October. This year we had a serial killer Wallace & Gromit episode, a cannibalistic killer in Bones, a murderer in Death Comes to Pemberley, and a teenage boy with incredible powers in Star Trek.
We also had our Turtle Saturdays
Starting with the 2014 version, to 2007, and then going over the original 1990 version and its sequel in 1991. It might not be what most consider horror, but I think it works as each film involves mutation, two have monsters, and one a whole lot of scientific experiments.
So we saw a group of monsters I haven’t really spent a whole lot of posts reviewing, and that is:
We started with the Corpse Bride; then went on to the first zombie film, White Zombie; and ended on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. I had thought about doing Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, but as I haven’t reviewed the book I decided to wait on the film.
Then we had our usual Stephen King film, with Cat’s Eye. Not one I’d planned on reviewing, but happened to see and add to the lineup.
I finally got around to taking on a Tim Burton film, and actually reviewed two, not one. We had the Corpse Bride and Sleepy Hollow. Still haven’t done Edward Scissorhands. Maybe next year.
We also did a lot of teen monster films. There was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with teen turtles; Thriller with teen zombies; Once Bitten with teen vampires; and a teen werewolf in Teen Wolf.
We also had vampires and Dracula coming back with Once Bitten, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, and Dracula 2000.
This Horrorfest was very different than the ones prior as I reviewed a lot of films and TV shows I had never seen before such as: Wallace & Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death, When a Stranger Calls (1979), Jeepers Creepers, Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter, Cat’s Eye, Death Comes to Pemberley, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, Backfire, Dial 1119, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, Corpse Bride, The Cheerleader Murders, & The Girl on the Train; along with films and TV shows I hadn’t seen in years, such as: Fantasia: Night on Bald Mountain and Sleepy Hollow. That was about half the reviews!
This also was the first time I could really include Jane Austen in my Horrorfest, not with a made up post but actually review an Austen item.
I was planning on reviewing Pride & Prejudice & Zombies along with Death Comes to Pemberley, but as I said before, I decided to push it back.
And then there is Vincent Price
I reviewed two films with him: Thriller and the film I have been talking about reviewing since the first Horrorfest, House on Haunted Hill.
So if you missed a day, or are interested in every item I covered; here is the complete list:
And another thing Mr. Chick Young! The next time I tell you that I saw something when I saw it, you believe me that I saw it!
I had never seen this movie before and decided to rent it after looking over my Wolf Man (1941) review. I thought it was hilarious!
I highly recommend it to anyone.
So this film was done during a time of a series of monster films, along with Abbott and Costello films. I’m not sure who came up with the “meeting” idea, but it was a fantastic one.
It’s funny, the other day I was watching the Nostalgia Critic‘s review of Freddy Vs. Jason, and he cited that that film created the Versus series we see today. I would have to disagree with him and say this is probably the first “versus” film, with Dracula versus the Wolf Man. It was a great comedy, horror film, parody, a multi-genre crossover.
I’m actually not going to do a big review as it is really something you have to watch. The script is hilarious:
Chick Young: People pay McDougal cash to come in here and get scared.
Wilbur Grey: I’m cheatin’ him. I’m gettin’ scared for nothin’.
The sight gags are perfect:
And you have both Bela Lugosi reprising his role as Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr. reprising the Wolf Man.
The only thing I don’t like is the title. I mean they meet Frankenstein’s monster but he is hardly even in the film. It really should be Abbott and Costello Meet Dracula or Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolf Man as both of those characters play a much larger role.
So the film starts off with Wilbur Gray (Lou Costello) and Chick Young (Bud Abbott) working as package delivery men. Wilbur is currently dating a beautiful woman, Sondra and has plans the next night to go to a masquerade ball.
Too bad they didn’t put the Phantom in here too.
Later that day he gets a call from Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), AKA the Wolf Man, warning him not to deliver packages to Dr McDougol’s House of Horrors. But the full moon comes out, turning him into a werewolf and Wilbur doesn’t get the full message.
That night Wilbur and Chick are delivering the packages, and it turns out to be Dracula (Bela Lugosi)
and Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange).
They are freed; both taking off as Dracula wants to give the monster a new brain, a dumber one, to control it better. He has enlisted the help of Dr. Sondra Mornay, the same Sondra who is dating Wilbur. Yes, it turns out she is only with him as his brain is the one she wants to use in the operation.
Meanwhile, Wilbur and Chick have been put in jail as McDougal holds them responsible for the missing exhibits, believing they stole them. They are bailed out by Joan Raymond, private investigator, who doesn’t believe they are responsible. She has also fallen in love with Wilbur.
So now Wilbur has two beautiful girls after him, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula trying to get his brain, and the Wolf Man trying to get his help/also attack them when Lawrence turns into the beast.
It is hilarious fun and there is a great scene at the ends when Dracula and the Wolf Man duke it out.
And don’t forget to keep your ears peeled for a Vincent Price cameo!
But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.
So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.; looked to it in creating their stories.
So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankenstein, or The Bride of Frankensteinpost]I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb! Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s father, Lon Chaney.
Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.
So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.
Look at this sweetheart
His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).
Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.
That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:
“Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright“
Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]
Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.
When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.
Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…
Making him the next werewolf.
The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!
They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.
Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?
Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.
[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]
Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.
Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.
Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.
Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!
Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.
The gypsy woman, Maleva, reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.
Maleva: You killed the wolf.
Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?
Maleva: The wolf was Bela.
Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?
Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.
Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!
Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.
Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.
Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?
Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!
Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”
Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by Jack Pierce for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London. Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.
That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.
The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.
Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.
The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The night Larry as the Wolf Man steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had felt sorry for his predicament.
Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!
He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.
“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?
Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.
Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”
Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!
YOU ARE MAKING THE SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!
DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!!DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!
And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.
So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.
Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Operawhere he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.
Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.
So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.
But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.
The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.
“Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”
Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time.
So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!