In this, the final holiday feature, we will showcase the best monster movies ever made during each day of the month, leading up to Halloween.
THE WOLF MAN (1941)
When his brother dies, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney) returns to Wales and reconciles with his father (Claude Rains). While there, he visits an antique shop and, hoping to impress Gwen (Evelyn Ankers), the attractive shopkeeper, buys a silver walking cane. That same night he kills a wolf with it, only to later learn that he actually killed a man (Bela Lugosi). A gypsy (Maria Ouspenskaya) explains that it was her son, a werewolf, that he killed, and that Larry is now one himself.
Since today is Halloween, my favorite day of the entire year, I’m selfishly saving one of my all-time favorite monster movies for last, The Wolf Man. I’m the biggest werewolf fan you’ll ever find and The Wolf Man is a huge reason why.
The Wolf Man instituted many aspects of werewolf lore that most people believe has been around for hundreds of years. For example, the notion of needing something silver like a bullet or silver tipped cane to kill a werewolf was made up for this film. Many people believed the poem “Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers at night may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the Autumn moon is bright” is centuries old was in fact, written by screenwriter Curt Siodmak.
The film was a star making vehicle for Lon Chaney Jr., who went on to portray the Wolf Man four more times in film. The rest of the stellar cast included Claude Rains, Warren William, Ralph Bellamy, Patric Knowles, Bela Lugosi, Evelyn Ankers, and Maria Ouspenskaya.