As we wrap up on Halloween 2011, I chosen to do my final Halloween review on one of not just my favorite Halloween films, but one of my favorite films of all time: The Wolf Man. No, not the 2010 version. The classic 1941 film that is still the best portrayal of werewolves yet. So, what makes this groundbreaker so great? Let's find out. Warning. There's some bad spoilers on the rise. This is a spoiler warning.
The film follows Lon Chaney as Larry Talbot, a man who returns home and meets the beautiful Gwen (Evelyn Ankers)... and a werewolf (Bela Lugosi). After being bit, Larry turns into The Wolfman and starts causing havoc in the town. A mob, lead by Larry's father John Talbot (Claude Rains) try to track him down.
The film captures the perfect atmosphere for a werewolf movie. The fact that Larry is constantly coming across gypsies like Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya), who is constantly helping Larry, like when he gets his foot trapped is a bear trap. The scene with him at the festival is very well done and fits great into the film.
Lon Chaney is pitch perfect as Larry. He really does seem like he is falling apart due to this curse, especially when his friends and family think his gone crazy. The scene with him at the werewolf gypsy's funeral is very well acted. He makes a man-eating monster very likable. The make-up used to create the Wolf Man is great and is leagues better than anything CGI can do.
Everything, from the music to the cinematography is beautiful. The music compliments whatever's going on on-screen well. The sets all add to the creepy vibe the film has and it makes the Wolf Man story a real treat to watch. Even Bela Lugosi's one scene cameo is very well done. The writing makes every scene compelling to watch.
Of course, it's not a perfect film. Some characters seem like they are going to make an impact on the story, but nothing really happens with them. Also, the film seems like it's trying to make a think that Larry may not actually be a werewolf, though we have clearly seen that he is. Evelyn Ankers, though a good actress, her love interest character does add much to the plot, other than to explain why Larry gets bit by a werewolf.
In the end, The Wolf Man, if you can look past it's flaws, is still a classic to this day. Lon Chaney is great, the atmosphere is great, the story is great. And best of all, there's no CGI "werewolves" anywhere *coughTwilightCough*. Overall, The Wolf Man is 6 out of 6.