THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF
As with Hammers revamping of the abovementioned classics, The Curse of the Werewolf is a thoughtful and substantial reworking of the werewolf myth. In his screenplay (which varies substantially from the Guy Endore novel), Hammer producer Anthony Hinds roots werewolf mythology firmly in Spanish Catholicism. Indeed, The Curse of the Werewolf is perhaps the only werewolf story to treat lycanthropy as something that is not passed by a bite but as a divinely cursed state. In order to set this up, Anthony Hinds creates a lengthy preamble to Leons story it is over 50 minutes before we get to see Oliver Reed and over an hour before Reed becomes the werewolf. This is filled with crashingly heavy symbolism at times the child is born on Christmas Day, the font boils over and thunderclouds amass as he is baptised. On the other hand, this is by far the more interesting half than the second, which travels in more traditional areas. The second half is a reasonable werewolf story with a young, then unknown Oliver Reed standing up well in the part and Roy Ashton conducting a fine makeup job.
Most Hammer films (particularly those made by Terence Fisher) are rooted in a British upper-class assumptions. They create a divide between civilised reason and brutal animal passions. The wolf here represents brutish passions, which the film sees can be kept in restraint by a good society, even the love of a pure-hearted girl. Notedly, Leons animal instincts are stirred up when he strays outside the confines of decent society and goes to visit a bad girl a whore. As with Dracula, we see that civilised reason and religion as conquering the dangerous forces of unrestraint.
Terence Fishers other genre films are: The Four-Sided Triangle (1953), Spaceways (1953), The Curse of Frankenstein (1957), Dracula/The Horror of Dracula (1958), The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), The Mummy (1959), The Stranglers of Bombay (1959), The Brides of Dracula (1960), The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll (1960), The Phantom of the Opera (1962), The Gorgon (1964), Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Devil Rides Out/The Devils Bride (1968), Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) and Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1973), all for Hammer. Outside of Hammer, Fisher has made the Old Dark House comedy The Horror of It All (1964) and the alien invasion films The Earth Dies Screaming (1964), Island of Terror (1966) and Night of the Big Heat (1967).
Film available online in several parts beginning here:-