Set in 18th Century Spain, a beggar is locked up in a dungeon, several years later a servant girl is threw in with him for not laying with her master. The beggar then proceeds to rape the servant girl. Shortly after, she is released form the prison and told to return to her master, who she then kills and escapes from. Months later, she gives birth to the beggar's baby on Christmas Day. Superstition tells that an unwanted child born on the birthday of Christ, is an insult to God and a curse upon the Earth, for this reason whenever there is a full moon the boy is cursed to transform into a werewolf and begin an uncontrollable killing spree.
The Curse of the Werewolf is a 1961 Hammer Production. It was directed by Terence Fisher and stars Oliver Reed as the Werewolf. It was based on Guy Endore's novel, The Werewolf in Paris. A 1975 film, Legend of the Werewolf, starring Peter Cushing was also based on the same novel. The film failed at the box office in the UK and US, so Hammer never made any more werewolf films, making this the only werewolf production by Hammer. Regardless of it's box office performance it still aided in the launch of Oliver Reed's career.
Thinking back, I had fond childhood memories of The Curse of the Werewolf, so obviously a viewing after many years had to live up to my high expectations, it didn't quite reach these expectations but I did enjoy it nonetheless. Unfortunately, it was a bit slow going, it must have been nearly an hour before Oliver Reed made his first appearance, but once he did and transformed into the werewolf it was great. It's just a shame the film wasn't a bit longer or that Oliver Reed appeared earlier on in the film, either would suffice to give the werewolf a longer amount of screen time and the film would have been brilliant. Oliver Reed was well cast for the role of the cursed man, his sometimes dark and sinister looks suited the character as he could change so easily between portraying the good man that he wanted to be and the aggressive transformation stages that the good man is plagued to go through every full moon. As the film was, I enjoyed it and it was still a decent Hammer film, but it could have been so much better just by introducing the werewolf a bit earlier on in the film.
The Curse of the Werewolf 3/5