‘The Curse of the Werewolf’ Blu-Ray Review: A Must-Have for Fans of Classic Horror

The Curse of the Werewolf

From the 1950s through the 1970s, Hammer Film Productions was one of the most well-known producers of horror films with great production value and wonderful stars of the era. They have become classic and still hold up today. One such film is The Curse of the Werewolf, a 1961 horror film based on the novel The Werewolf of Paris by Guy Endore (which, to be clear, has no relation to the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London nor its sequel set in Paris).

The beginnings of this story are a little strange, but they do make it much more dramatic. It starts with a beggar being imprisoned for making off-color remarks at the wedding of a nobleman. Fifteen years later, a young woman refuses the advances of the Marques, and he has her thrown into the dungeons with the beggar, who has gone so mad from imprisonment that he attacks her, impregnating her, and dies. The girl manages to kill the Marques and escape and is taken in by a kind man ad her housekeeper where she gives birth and dies. The child is born on Christmas Day, which is considered unlucky and means the child will become a werewolf.

Without giving away too much, the child does indeed grow up to become a werewolf. At first, goats and other animals are killed. Later, people he considers his friends fall victim. Being aware of his condition, he asks to be executed before he changes again, but nobody truly believes him, and he turns and is able to escape prison, and those closest to him must stop him.

This was the first Hammer film to delve into werewolves, and they did an admirable job. The sets, costumes, acting are all top-notch. The lead actor is able to make the man inside the werewolf a truly tragic character. You feel sorry for him and what he cannot help to become. If anything to critique, it might be that it could use a little more action, but that’s also what makes these films great. They are not just scary, bloody screamfests. They really explore the more human side and make it more like a real drama that just happens to have werewolves in it. It’s much more emotionally impactful than other entries in the same genre.

The video quality for this release is years beyond anything that was released before. For the first time, it has gotten a 4K scan in 1080p resolution. The aspect ratio is 1.85:1. The images look great from the scan of the original technicolor. It has some grain to it, but it’s the original grain that compliments the film nicely. The colors are rich and vibrant, and the black level is very natural. Almost as close to natural as I have ever seen. Skin tones look natural, and with this scan, you can see the werewolf makeup better than ever before, and, being 60 years old, it really holds up nicely.

The audio is English 2.0 Mono DTS-HD MA with English subtitles. The sounds are evenly balanced between score, voices, and special effects, with one not taking over the others. The vocals are clean and crisp.

Bonus Features

  • NEW 4K Scan From The Interpositive
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Actress Yvonne Romain, Special Makeup Effects Artist Mike Hill And Composer Leslie Bricusse
  • NEW Audio Commentary With Author/Film Historian Steve Haberman And Filmmaker/Film Historian Constantine Nasr
  • NEW The Men Who Made Hammer – Roy Ashton
  • NEW Serial Killer – Benjamin Frankel, Serialism And The Curse Of The Werewolf
  • The Making Of The Curse Of The Werewolf – Including Interviews With Actors Catherine Feller And Yvonne Romain, Mike Hill, Art Director Don Mingaye, Art Department Member Margaret Robinson And Filmmaker Jimmy Sangster
  • Lycanthropy: The Beast In All Of Us
  • Censoring The Werewolf
  • Theatrical Trailer
  • Trailers From Hell With Commentary By Filmmaker John Landis
  • Radio Spot
  • Still Gallery

Of all the Hammer film transfers I have seen so far, this is by far the nicest. Scream Factory hit all the areas perfectly, and the scan is better than anything we have seen before. I highly recommend it, especially for those fans of classic horror.

The Curse of the Werewolf is available from Scream Factory today.

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