|THE WOLF MAN (1941)|
Lon Chaney Jr.
|Time: 70 mins.|
Rating: Not Rated
|"I believe a man lost in the mazes of his own mind may imagine that he's anything."|
SYNOPSIS: A practical man returns to his homeland, is attacked by a wolf, and imbued with a malady his disciplined mind tells him can not possibly exist. Is he making it all up or will the next full moon show that he is right?
BOTTOM LINE: Another one of those classic Universal pics from the early 1940s that helped create affection for the horror genre. Though all B-movies, they endure because of their style, intelligence and the seriousness with which they treat their subject matter. It seems ludicrous to believe that a man could turn into a wolf, and yet, the film makes the scenario logical, scary and entertaining. Lon Chaney Jr. plays Larry, the werewolf in question, a young man who returns home, finds love and then has his life derailed when bitten by a wolf. The townspeople blame him for the recent spate of violent murders and even he can't disagree with their claims. He has no way to account for his time and all wolf prints lead to his father's castle. Sir John (Rains) refuses to believe the rumors in order to protect the only son he has left. Larry's new love Gwen (Ankers) stands by her man as well, only to become his final victim. Believe me this will not come as a surprise. Unfortunately, once the Wolf Man makes his first appearance, the suspense and mystery completely disappears. Mainly because the transformation is unremarkable, but also because the plot has nowhere to go. Chaney does his best to sell the torment of his night life, but since we barely get to know him, his ultimate fate isn't very compelling. Short, campy, fun, and not at all scary something of a problem for a horror movie.