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The Castle of Dr. FettersteinThe Wonderful World of Werewolf Movies
POSTED BY JASON FETTERS, March 5, 2013    Share

Oh the sheer joys of taking all your clothes off and howling at the moon every Saturday night, which is way my favorite classic monster will always be the werewolf. The werewolf goes out on the town and is not confined to some dreary coffin in a dust filled castle or someoneís science project gone amok stuck in a smelly lab. The werewolf has those wonderful urges and movie goers love to see the hairy guy do whatever he wants whenever he wants to. Larry Talbot made be a scared wimp but the werewolf knows how to have fun.
Letís see, I first remember seeing a werewolf in Universalís The Wolf Man on Creature Feature, one lazy Saturday afternoon. Then there was the mighty Fruit Brute, part of General Mills Monster Cereals. Also, Eddie Munster comes to mine as another early werewolf. There was also a catchy song by Warren Zevon called Werewolves of London. However, it was my love of the comic called Werewolf by Night that made me a fanatical fan. It helped that my fatherís favorite monster is the werewolf and also a good friend of mine, Todd Sheets.

My father and I bonded watching classics horror movies together and he once told me a great story about him and his buddies going to see Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein at their local theater in small town, Memphis, Mo. He was so scared that he thought the Wolf Man was out to keep him, hiding behind every tree, as he quickly pedaled his bike home. So without further ado, here are my favorite werewolf movies.

The werewolf never benefited from having a great classic literary work like Dracula and Frankenstein so the first real treatment was in the movies and I can think of no better place to begin then Universalís The Wolf Man. At first I found Lon Chaney Jr as Larry Talbot to be mundane and boring but that all changed when I saw Jackís Pierceís beautiful makeup. The Wolf Man is such a great makeup and Lon Chaney Jr. really plays the monster role well. Plus the eerie atmosphere of being out on the moors with fog and trees so you couldnít really tell what was out there but you could hear the long ringing howl. Something was out to get you and you had no idea where it was coming from. That is until it was too late and the Wolf Man was right up in your face, tearing and ripping you to shreds. Earlier, Universal made The Werewolf of London but I donít feel like it is as strong as The Wolf Man. It is worth watching but not as entertaining.

Next for me was another Creature Feature staple and that was I Was a Teenage Werewolf with Michael Landon. High school is a scary time when teenagers are going through awkward changes and to have a young teen turn into a werewolf is the ultimate nightmare. Of all the teenage monster movies, I Was a Teenage Werewolf is my favorite. The best scene for me is when you hear the school bell ring and Landon transforms and then goes after a girl. Just like werewolf boys still do today.

Up next is Hammerís gorgeously filmed The Curse of the Werewolf starring the always engaging Oliver Reed. Based on the novel by Guy Endore, The Werewolf of Paris, the movie begins with a beggar makes rude comments during a wedding and is thrown into prison for his behavior. While rotting in a jail cell, the only two people he sees are the jailer and his pretty mute daughter. Meanwhile the Marques attempts unwanted advances on the daughter and she refuses so she is thrown into the same cell as the beggar. The beggar has been driven mad with lust for years and rapes her. She confronts the old Marques and kills him, fleeing into the forest. The girl dies after giving birth to Leon.

Leon grows up and looks for work in a vineyard. Due to the nature of his birth and the fact he was born on Christmas Day, the blood lust flows in his veins and he transforms into a werewolf. Oliver Reed does a great job of playing the werewolf role with a unique makeup.

Now I will jump ahead to the glorious 80ís for a movie that kept me up all night after my initial viewing and that is The Howling. I remember watching it on TV on HBO one Friday night and I havenít been the same since. This wasnít the classic werewolf of Lon Chaney Jr. or Oliver Reed but big as a bear with savage claws and teeth longer than a Great White Shark. This werewolf would seriously destroy you if you were stupid enough to get that close. Plus The Howling has a great story; a young News Anchor is stalked by a dangerous serial killer. She suffers amnesia after the stalker is shot, then her therapist sends her to a place out in the woods called The Colony for some R & R. The Colony is the perfect place for a coven of werewolves looking for fresh meat and to add to their members. The werewolf attack scenes in The Howling are truly scary because if you try to hide in a room, they will simply break apart that door and lunge for your throat.

My last choice is another 80ís horror classic, An American Werewolf in London with Rick Bakerís amazing werewolf makeup. Two college frat boys are backpacking across England and they entered a weird pub called The Slaughter Lamb. They are warned by the intense patrons inside to stay off the moors. Somehow they get lost out on the moors and they hear that terrible howling that can only mean one thing. Suddenly one of the boys is brutally murdered by a werewolf and the other survives. While recovering in the hospital he has vivid dreams of running through the woods and eating animals alive.
A nurse takes pity on him and invites him to stay with her. One night when the full moon is out he transforms into a werewolf and hits London.

There are so many great jokes that even I canít remember all of them, even after seeing this movie so many times. What is great about An American Werewolf in London is that people who claim to hate horror movies love this movie. It has stood up to the test of time and is definitely worth a look.

There are a couple of other werewolf movies from the 80ís that I also like such as Wolfen with Albert Finney and Neil Jordanís The Company of Wolves with Angela Lansbury that is basically a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood.

There was also Stephen Kingís Silver Bullet that is just an awful movie to sit through. The werewolf makeup is unconvincing and the plot is predictable. It is based on Stephen Kingís Cycle of the Werewolf and if the movie is like his book, both should be avoided.

However, the big reward for the worst werewolf movie of all time is clearly The Werewolf of Washington starring Dean Stockwell who is a reporter that becomes the press assistant to the President. I had the misfortunate of watching this piece of garbage on Off Beat Cinema in the early hours of Saturday morning about 10-years ago. It is not even worth a glance, not even for one second.

That will do it for me and I hope that the werewolf continues to find a special place in the hearts of movie lovers. I also hope quality werewolf movies keep being made.
Did you hear something?
Did that sound like a dog?
Why donít you open the front door and see whatís out there?

"The Castle of Dr. Fetterstein" is ©2013 by Jason Fetters. All contents of Crazed Fanboy are ©2013 by Nolan B. Canova and Terence Nuzum.

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