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The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Approved | | Horror | 7 June 1961 (USA)
In 18th Century Spain, an adopted boy becomes a werewolf and terrorizes the inhabitants of his town.

Director:

Terence Fisher

Writers:

Anthony Hinds (screenplay) (as John Elder), Guy Endore (novel)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Clifford Evans ... Alfredo
Oliver Reed ... Leon
Yvonne Romain ... Servant Girl
Catherine Feller ... Cristina
Anthony Dawson ... The Marques Siniestro
Josephine Llewellyn Josephine Llewellyn ... The Marquesa
Richard Wordsworth Richard Wordsworth ... The Beggar
Hira Talfrey Hira Talfrey ... Teresa
Justin Walters Justin Walters ... Young Leon
John Gabriel John Gabriel ... The Priest
Warren Mitchell ... Pepe Valiente
Anne Blake ... Rosa Valiente
George Woodbridge ... Dominique
Michael Ripper ... Old Soak
Ewen Solon ... Don Fernando
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Storyline

In Spain, Leon is born on Christmas day to a mute servant girl who was raped by a beggar. His mother dies giving birth and he is looked after by Don Alfredo. As a child Leon becomes a werewolf after having been taken hunting. As a young man, he works in a wine cellar and falls in love with the owner's daughter Cristina. One full moon, he again turns into a werewolf and terrifies the town. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

HALF-MAN... HALF-WOLF... COMPELLED BY THE HIDEOUS CURSE OF HIS EVIL BIRTH TO DESTROY - EVEN THOSE WHO LOVED HIM! See more »

Genres:

Horror

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Curse of Siniestro See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Hammer Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

With the exception of the opening titles, Oliver Reed does not appear until roughly halfway through the film and his screen-time as the werewolf is even less (first appearing at just over an hour into the 93 minute film). See more »

Goofs

In Spain the Catholic innkeeper would have had a crucifix rather than a plain cross (and indeed his wife calls it a crucifix). The plain cross (without Jesus on it), such as was shown in the film, is used primarily by Protestants. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
One of the best Werewolf films ever
3 March 2005 | by spacemonkey_fgSee all my reviews

Title: Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Director: Terence Fisher

Cast:Oliver Reed, Clifford Evans, Catherine Feller

Review: Hammer films is known for making many vampire films, many Frankenstein films, and even a few Mummy films...but for some reason Curse of the Werewolf was their one and only werewolf film ever made. Even though they only made one Werewolf film, I'm happy because at least the only one they did make is really really good.

The story is about a beggar who gets thrown into a dungeon by a despotic marquis who takes pleasure in demeaning other human beings. The beggar spends years upon years in prison until he becomes almost animal like. A young and beautiful servant girl is thrown into the same cell as the insane beggar is because she rejected going to bed with the same marquis. The beggar decides to rape her and the offspring of that rape is Leon Corledo. A young boy who is cursed to become a werewolf because he was born on Christmas Day. And on this movie, being born on Christmas Day means you are forever cursed to become a werewolf when the full moon comes.

I enjoyed this movie immensely and I have to say that one of the things that enhanced my enjoyment of it was Oliver Reeds portrayal of Leon Corledo. He is magnificent in this movie. He has a great presence and a roughness to him that is perfect for playing a man cursed with lycanthropy. He has some very intense moments in which we can see that he is torn between letting his animal side loose or keeping it under control.

Terence Fisher, one of Hammers prime directors did a fine Job in bringing to life the tale of the werewolf. Hes done many fine Hammer films in the past and this one is just another jewel in his crown of great horror films. The movie is heavy on atmosphere and creepy visuals. A standout moment for me was when the young Leon has turned into a werewolf in his room and cant escape it because his stepfather has barred the windows in his room so he cant escape at night. The look on the kids face and the music is a real horror movie moment. Fisher made sure there's plenty of cool shots of the fool moon hovering over the dark sky as we hear the howling of a wolf in the distance. Or the scene in which the are going to baptize young Leon and the water in the altar starts to boil.... Its nice touches like those that make a Hammer/Terence Fisher film special.

I also liked how they treated the origin of the werewolf. The really go back and explain how it all started. Its not just a movie about a werewolf running amok killing people in a little town. Here we get the whole back story as to how the whole thing started. I liked that. It gave the film lots of depth. Its a story covering a few decades of history. Another thing that made the story special was the idea that love and compassion towards Leon could help him control the beast inside of him.

Then there's the werewolf transformation, which is after all one of the big things about watching a werewolf film. There's always a spotlight on the transformation sequence. Its always a showstopper in films like "American Werewolf in London" and "The Howling" and even in "The Wolfman". Here I must say that for the time it was made, the make up is really excellent. I'm guessing that it was for budgetary reasons that hey held the transformation all the way till the very ending, but when it does happen its very good. I was amazed that for the time it was made (1961) it turned out as good as it did. In fact I think this look was the one that Fredd Dekker was paying homage to when he directed his monster film The Monster Squad, in which The Werewolf teams up with Dracula, Frankensteins monster, The Creature from the Black Lagoon and The Mummy to bring the forces of darkness to earth. The look of the werewolf in that movie is exactly like the one seen on Curse of the Werewolf. I don't blame Fred Dekker for wanting to pay homage to such a cool creature.

The only downside to this movie? Watching English actors playing Spaniards. It was kind of funny to see that the only thing that they added to their acting to make it look Spaniard was saying "Señor" at the end of every sentence.

Finally, Id say that this is one of the best Hammer films ever made and that this movie deserves a whole lot more recognition then it gets. It should be out on DVD, because as it is, its one of the best werewolf films ever made.

Rating: 5 out of 5


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