Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

the wolf man

“Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” 

This is such an amazing film as the story is excellent, the acting superb (Lon Chaney Jr. + Claude Rains). It is also a member of Universal’s Classic Monster Movie Collection, its buddies being The Phantom of the OperaFrankenstein,  The Bride of FrankensteinThe MummyDracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, etc. And this post means that I have finally, finally finished the list I set out to complete two years ago.

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), Frankensteinor The Bride of Frankenstein post] 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.

Unlike other films, The Wolf Man is the only Universal monster to be played by the same actor in all his 1940s film appearances; Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943), House of Frankenstein (1944), House of Dracula (1945), and  Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

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.

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So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.

Look at this sweetheart

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.

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  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.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow

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.

Ahhh!

Ahhh!

 

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…

dun-dun-duuuun

Making him the next werewolf.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!

Say What

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!

confused

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.

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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.

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That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.

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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!

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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??????!!!!!!

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

YOU ARE MAKING THE  SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!

princess Bride Victim to classic blunder Vizzini

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 Opera where 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.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying

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.

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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.

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But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.

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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.

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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.”

right in the feels broken heart

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. 

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So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!

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For more on The Wolf Man (1941), go to Pink Elephants

For more on werewolves, go to A Halloween Hello from the Austen Men

For more monster movies, go to They’re Coming to Get You Barbara

For more on Claude Rains, go to Universal’s Classic Monster Movies

For more on Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more films that spanned countless sequels and remakes, go to Everyones Entitled to One Good Scare

The Teddy Bear that Would NOT Die!

evil_shadow_teddy_bear_by_fureox-d5yb3uw

Now I know I’ve been talking about this forever! I mention all the time how there was a demon bear, the bear that would not leave, etc. I keep promising and promising you guys that I would tell the story, but just haven’t gotten around to it. However, I was reviewing my old posts and decided that it is finally time to do it.

So back in high school there was this one boy, Scott, that liked me. He would do the standard guy thing trying to get my attention, but I pretty much ignored him. I have to admit I was pretty mean back in the day. One day he tried to make a move and sneak attacked me, asking me out.

Not quite this bad

Not quite this bad

 

I was unnerved and told him maybe, just trying to get out of there. He never asked me again, and I thought that was the end of it.

It wasn’t.

So that was in November/December and the months rolled by…February comes up and then its V-Day.

Now I have had a love/hate relationship with Valentine’s Day for a long time. I used to always get sick right around it, and then had to wait to eat the candy until much later. And its not just sick, but like a, everything coming out. 

So this year I was pretty happy. I was feeling good, and thought I wouldn’t get sick. It was Thursday the 13th, so you know not on guard for anything, but I should have been. No wonder this bear was a demon.

So its Valentine’s Day and I’m chilling with my friends as I have given them Valentine Cards and were eating candy. Its break between classes when Scott walks in the door with a giant teddy bear that says “I Love You” in a pilllow he’s holding and a red rose.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m like eternally freakin’ here. I have never been schooled in this situation. A RED ROSE?!! I LOVE YOU?!!! You haven’t spoken to me in two months what could have possibly made you think that this was the best move? Are you crazy?

clueless twin peaks

I just stare at it for a bit, some of my friends saying its adorable while the others say I don’t have to accept it if I don’t want it. I end up going to the bathroom and getting sick. The V-day flu stalk me again (although after this year I never experienced it again.)

So I took the bear and stuff and left it at home. I shoved the bear in my closet trying to find a way to get rid of it. It would watch me with those button eyes, eternal smile, and “I Love You” pillow.

Don't be fooled by its cuteness, evil lurks in that heart.

Don’t be fooled by its cuteness, evil lurks in that heart.

Tried to donate it but somehow, it kept being forgotten or left behind, continuing to lurk in my room.

So a few months later I was in this anti-gambling play, while being performed in April, was set in February. One of the characters in the play falls for this girl, who only cares a fraction for him, and gets her this huge gift. They needed something, and I was like take it, take this bear I don’t want it.

After the play finished, my friend Eliot was talking about how great it would be to have that bear, joking around that he could save it and use it for next year. Well, he may have been joking, but I wasn’t. I told him he could have, as I REALLY did not want it.

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So I was like, yeah that’s the end of it. Sucess! 🙂

Inspector-Gadget

Until…bum bum bum! He left it behind! HE LEFT IT BEHIND!!!!!!

im-back

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

How could he do this to me! How could this bear still be here? Why, why, why?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

So, once again it was in my life. I put it in the closet this time and it would just rest there with its horrible happy face. I would try to get rid of it but it just wouldn’t go. I was starting to feel as if I was cursed. Maybe this was some sort of punishment. I don’t know. 😦

A few months later, my friend Amelia’s mother was doing a toy drive, and was collecting bears. I was so excited!

 

Yes!

Yes!

So I would bring the bear out when Amelia would come over, I would try to pawn it off any chance I got, but she would always forget to take it!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

 

So here I was, with the bear once again. I was starting to feel like it was Talking Tina from The Twilight Zone. Would I ever get rid of it? Would it try to kill me? Was I safe?

Again I tried. I tried and tried and tried and tried again to get rid of it, but nothing worked out. Everytime, everytime it would just come back.

Then I was invited to a White Elephant party and I knew it was the best thing. I took it to the party and it was the largest gift there so I know someone would take it. I would sit and watch, waiting and hoping for someone to pick it.

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Finally it was picked and gone. And I breathed a sigh of relief. My friend liked it and has kept it to the best of my knowledge.

Sometimes though I have nightmares of it coming back. That one day I’m going to wake up and see it in the corner of my room.

teddy_bear_i_love_you-EVIL

Just like I still get creeped out over this guy

Furby

But that’s another story

 For more creepy tales check out Hororfest and Horrorfest IIand keep you eyes peeled for Horrorfest III coming this October.

Also look at Kruegar Town

And Final Destination: Bike Edition

And Bad Penny

 

You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Potato: Aliens in the Attic (2009)

You’re gonna need a bigger potato.

First I want to say happy 50th! This is my 50th post! I never thought I would make so many in such a few months 😀

So I know this isn’t really a Halloweeny film; but it has aliens in it so it counts. I was up early this morning and was flipping channels and this came on. I remember when this first came out in theaters, I never saw it as I thought it was going to be extremely dumb and full of childish slapstick comedy. It was full of that, and it was pretty dumb at times; but it ended up being better than I thought it would be. I actually only came in at the end of the film, so it took a while for me to get a sense of what was going on.

So these aliens invade, and only the kids are aware of this; as always the adults are stupidly blind to anything going on.

When I came into the story, the aliens had attached these mind control devices to one of the kids, Bethany’s, boyfriend Ricky. There was also one attached to the Grandma, but the kids were controlling it. The twin boys were incredibly adorable and remind me of my nephew who is obsessed with video games.

The fight between the two, was purely structured to garnish cheap laughs from children as they watch an elderly lady kick butt.

The only thing that makes this scene even funny is the lovely Doris Roberts. I love her so much!

Bethany comes in at the end and sees her boyfriend kicked through the basement. The other kids tell her that aliens have invaded which she finds hard to believe. She goes to talk to her loser boyfriend, which we find out is a liar and cheating on her. He breaks up with her and takes off.

The adults discover the worn-torn, destroyed room and immediately yell at the oldest kid in the room, Tom (Bethany is in the basement). All the kids get sent up to their rooms as they are being punished for destroying everything.

Bethany reconvenes with them upstairs trying to do something. Tom has given up, as he feels they can do nothing to save Earth. Bethany tries to get everyone to go fight, but they won’t follow anyone but Tom.

Tom I thought was very attractive. Super sexy as he was played by Carter Jenkins. Anyways, Tom is now encouraged and they go down to the basement to defeat the aliens.

When they get there they discover their cousin Jake, played by Austin Butler. (Where has he gone? I haven’t seen him in anything recently.) He was kidnapped by the Zarkonian aliens and knows they are trying to create some kind of machine. The kids had become friends with one of the aliens, Spark, and he is the techno one that they are forcing to build the machine.

Metropolis supermachine

They are about to give up again, when Jake comes up with a mentos/cola bomb. They shoot them at the aliens which knock them all out except for the commander. Tom takes him out with his potato gun, which accidentally knocks him into the machine they were forcing Sparks to create.

Everyone cheers at this, but then Sparks tells them that it is not good, it makes the commander big!

They have to try and battle him while the other kids handle the small aliens. Jake is able to distract the commander while Tom calibrates the mathematic equation to shoot the commander with a mind controlling device. While he is doing this, one of the other aliens increases his size and the commander and him have an epic fight.

While they duke it out Sparks reverses the machine, making anything that goes through it little. Tom sends them both through the machine, with the “ugly” alien going off with his girlfriend, while the commander is seemingly zapped into nothingness.

They have stopped the aliens, but there is still an invasion coming. One the adults stupidly think are a meteor shower.

Sparks calls the aliens and tells them to retreat. After a tearful goodbye, he goes home to be with his family. All the kids enjoy the rest of their vacation, having finally bonded and become a perfect unit.

Cheesy, yes. The very, very, end was hilarious though. 😀

Hope you enjoyed that lighthearted post. More posts to come. 10 days until Halloween!

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To start Horrorfest from the beginning, go to I Don’t Belong In the World

For the previous post, go to Quite a Horror Story

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For more on aliens, go to When Potatoes Go Bad

For more on channel surfing, go to Secrets Are Great, Unless You Get Caught

For more on video games, go to Push All the Buttons!