The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

curse of the werewolf poster 1961 movie hammer
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Different type of werewolf film

Slow moving story

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Curse of the Werewolf

Studio:  Hammer Film Productions

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  May 1, 1961

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

curse of the werewolf wolf kid hd

It’s hard out there for a wolf kid…

Born of a woman raped by a madman, Leon Corledo (Oliver Reed) found he was suffering from something inhuman at an early age.  When the full moon shines, Leon becomes a beast…and out of control.  The curse of the werewolf is strong but love is stronger.  When Leon meets a young woman named Cristina (Catherine Feller), she seems able to team the beast inside of him.  Unfortunately without Cristine, the beast is out of control and wanted for murder…can love save him?

Directed by Terence Fisher, The Curse of the Werewolf is a Hammer monster movie.  It is loosely based on the 1933 novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore.  The film is the first screen credit for Oliver Reed and often collected in Hammer collections.

curse of the werewolf oliver reed transformation

Oliver Reed is really failing the ghost pepper chip challenge

I have a soft spot for werewolf films.  As a child, the Wolf Man was the monster under my bed, and images of Oliver Reed as the werewolf were also regularly seen in magazines and books.  I wasn’t able to see The Curse of the Werewolf for years, but did enjoy the film when I finally did see it.

The Curse of the Werewolf has some strikes against it which may make it a bit harder for some viewers to get in to.  It is a classic horror movie in structure and moves quite slow.  The start of the film is the actual “origin” of the werewolf and it takes a while for Oliver Reed to even show up in the film (not until the second half).  This pacing continues throughout the film and fans of films like The Howling or An American Werewolf in London might wish for more werewolf.

The werewolf also is an odd one.  The “curse” is an affliction that isn’t from being bitten by a wolf, but something in Leon’s genetics.  He was born with this disease due to his conception and that alone makes the movie different.  Likewise, love can suppress the werewolf and simply being among those who love him, protects Leon from the curse.  I like these differences, and the changes it creates for the characters.

curse of the werewolf ending oliver reed costume

I climb all the way up here to eat the bell-ringer…and there’s no bell-ringer? What a crock! I hate you people!!!

Oliver Reed does a nice job with a movie that is easily a B-Movie style film and his make-up is also impressive.  The werewolf is one of Hammer’s better looking creatures and I wish (like Dracula and Frankenstein) that the filmmakers had spun the character into a series (though it wouldn’t have fit with the story).

The Curse of the Werewolf is one of Hammer’s better and more interesting horror films.  Thought it is slow, the movie provides a different take on werewolves.  I like this and encourage fans of the genre to seek it out.  With a great collection of films, even in a multipack, Hammer often delivers and The Curse of the Werewolf is a winner.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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