The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)
Written By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Terence Fisher
Producer: Anthony Hinds
Screenwriter: Anthony Hinds (aka John Elder)
Date Released: May 1, 1961
Clifford Evans as Don Alfredo Corledo
Oliver Reed as Leon Corledo
Justin Walters as Young Leon Corledo
Yvonne Romain as Servant girl
Loraine Carvana as Young Servant girl
Catherine Feller as Christina Fernando
Anthony Dawson as Marques Siniestro
Josephine Llewelyn as Marquesa Siniestro
Richard Wordsworth as Beggar
Catherine Feller as Cristina
Rating = 3.5/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Set in 18th Century Spain, The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) begins with a beggar who is looking for food from the Marquis Siniestro but is subsequently jailed. Years later, a mute servant girl is thrown in the cell with the beggar whereupon the beggar rapes the servant girl. When the servant girl manages to escape the grasp of the Marquis, she lives in the wilderness for months and is found by Don Corledo, a local gentleman and is nursed back to health by his housekeeper. The housekeeper, realizing that the servant girl is pregnant, prepares for the birth not knowing it to be based on a rape. But, upon birth of a baby boy named Leon, the servant girl dies. Just as the beggar began to transform into a werewolf, so too does Leon struggle with this urge. Now an adult, Leon seeks work and secretly falls in love with a girl named Cristina. But the urges become too strong for Leon and he becomes the werewolf.
Surprisingly, The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) starts with a disturbing scene of rape that is the basis for the origin of the werewolf. As Leon struggles with his transformation, he kills various animals and people, usually depicting brutal tears and scratches from his murders. There is not a ton of gore in this film for todays standards but considering the time period that this film was made in, the film presented from disturbing imagery and concepts.
The Grave Review
Considering that The Curse of the Werewolf was produced in 1961, it was surprising to see how creative and ruthless this film was depicting rape scenes, violence, and alcohol abuse. The plot of this film was well-crafted and thought-provoking. Unlike other Hammer Production Films where there is generally a happy ending to the film, The Curse of the Werewolf was one film that had a sad and decrepit ending. One thing that is appreciated as with all Hammer films is that production company never wastes time in their films. Once the film ends, the film ends and there is nothing else to say. In addition, the actors and actresses portrayed their respective roles well and made for believable character roles.
There were, however, some unexplained points in the film. For example, the film never explained how Leon and Cristina fell in love and their backstory. In addition, the film never goes into detail how the beggar was cursed with the werewolf gene and it is assumed that the beggar was an evil entity which passed on to Leon. In this way, these points were unclear and had to be assumed in order to understand the remainder of the plot.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives The Curse of the Werewolf (1961) three and one-half graves out of five graves.
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