The Wolf Man (1941)
Happy Werewolf Wednesday, everyone! This week I’m going to talk about the werewolf movie that arguably started it all, the OG, the one, the only, The Wolf Man from Universal Studios, starring the amazing Lon Chaney Jr.
Here’s a little fun factoid for all your Universal Monster enthusiasts out there: did you know that the Wolf Man is the only universal monster to be played by the same actor in all of the 1940 movies? He considered the Wolf Man “his baby” and it’s not hard to see why. He was iconic in the role, the movie magic used to effect his transformation becoming the stuff of cinema legend.
This movie enthralled young Robin, who was a big fan of the other leading man in the film, Claude Rains (we watched The Invisible Man a lot in my house). The atmospheric, spooky Welsh moors, the horror of turning into a mindless beast who is destined to kill those nearest and dearest to you and in turn be destroyed by them, all topped off with a hypnotic and unforgettable poem? I was hooked. Later in my life, when I would begin to write my own werewolf book, Hungry is the Night, I would include a nod to this classic of the horror genre – Marcus, one of my main characters, is himself from Wales, though not from a small village with werewolf lore. He’s a police detective in Cardiff, and I had a lot of fun imagining him speaking in a lilting Welsh accent.
What’s your favorite Universal Monster movie? Is it The Wolf Man? Why do you think this film had endured for so long and remained a part of the cultural zeitgeist in the way that it has? When did you first watch it? Let’s chat about it in the comments!