There's no way we can go a full Halloween season without taking a look at least one film from the studio that brought the chillers to the masses. Back in the 30's and 40's, Universal was THE horror movie studio. With Frankenstein, Dracula, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Mummy and the Invisible Man, Universal was a force to be reckoned with. 1941's The Wolf Man is the one that I find myself revisiting more than the others. It's the tale of a beast from within. Unlike Dracula or Frankenstein, the Wolf Man is the story of normal man Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) who happens to fall victim to the curse of the werewolf. He doesn't want it and he's confused by everything that's happening. You really feel for Talbot and are rooting for him to find his way out of this mess. The ending emotionally pays off. Where this movie really shines is the atmosphere and visuals. The creepy foggy forests and cemeteries are enhanced by being shot in black and white. The set design is beautiful and the score really stands above most of the early horror classics. At only an hour and 10 minutes, this is a quick one to digest to get you in the Halloween spirit. It put Lon Chaney Jr. on the map as a horror movie icon and also guests stars Bela Lugosi and Claude Rains. In my opinion, this is one of, if not the, best horror movies of the 1940's. Two things you won't find in this film that you would expect are a transformation scene and a shot of the full moon. Those appear in the sequels. This original is 100% atmosphere and beauty. Check it out today.
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