Starting with The Wolf Man (in 1941), Universal Studios made five movies featuring The Wolf Man, a character portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr. Monster by Moonlight! explores these movies. Rick ... See full summary »
Starting with The Wolf Man (in 1941), Universal Studios made five movies featuring The Wolf Man, a character portrayed by Lon Chaney, Jr. Monster by Moonlight! explores these movies. Rick Baker explains how the make-up was done on Chaney's character. Screenwriter Curtis Siodmak took very little from earlier werewolf legends, providing his own story for some of the films. This documentary displays clips from several other movies, including Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) and House of Dracula (1945). Written by
Ken Miller <email@example.com>
This documentary is featured on both the Universal Classic Monster Collection and Monster Legacy Collection DVDs for The Wolf Man (1941). See more »
Host John Landis informs us that Lon Chaney Jr. played the Frankenstein Monster in Ghost of Frankenstein *before* he played The Wolf Man; actually it's the other way around: Ghost of Frankenstein (1942) was filmed after The Wolf Man (1941). See more »
Ever wondered how long it took to apply Lon Chaney Jr's "Wolf Man" makeup? Or what metaphor Curt Siodmak had in mind while writing the screenplay? How about the original premise for the unproduced 1930's "Wolf Man" project that was to star Boris Karloff? This wonderful documentary, available on the classic Universal horror DVD sets, answers all of these questions and more. It delves into the various areas of the original movie, including the writing of the screenplay, the evolution of the project at the studio, the classic soundtrack and Jack Pierce's werewolf makeup. It then proceeds to go through the other Wolf Man projects that the studio put out, from "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man" right up to "Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein", also referencing the other Universal movies that strongly inspired and influenced it's production.
Our host is John Landis (writer/director of An American Werewolf in London, duh) and interviewees include Rick Baker and Curt Siodmak. All of those featured revere the movie as a classic of the horror genre, and it all seems very well researched. We are told the back stories of Lon Chaney Jr, Jack Pierce and Curt Siodmak, and all of this leads to a deeper understanding of the "Wolf Man" movies -- where they came from and what they mean. The parallels between the mythological horror of this movie and the real-life horror of Nazism never even occurred to me before Siodmak himself points it out in this documentary.
There are some documentaries that focus on werewolves which are poorly researched and executed, simply cashing in on the fascination that people have with this mythology. However, "Monster by Moonlight" is not one of them. It is a fascinating piece of work if you're even in the least bit interested in the creation and influence Universal's "Wolf Man" saga. Any serious fan of werewolf movies should definitely check this out.
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