feature: The Wolf Man (1941) & The Wolfman (2010)

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The Wolf Man poster 1941 Lon Chaney Jr.The other night, courtesy of Universal Pictures, I had the good fortune to watch the classic horror film, The Wolf Man (1941) in Denzille cinema, a cosy private cinema in Dublin 2.

I had never seen it before but those of you who’ve read this blog before will know that I’m quite into horror films. I wouldn’t be up on the classic horror films though so it was great to have the opportunity to see one in a cinema.

As you may or may not know, back in the 1920s – 1940s Universal ruled the roost when it came to horror films. They created a whole series of Universal monsters on film all the way from The Hunchback of Notre Dame in 1923 to Dracula and Frankenstein in 1931 and The Wolf Man and beyond in the ’40s.

Watching the original Wolf Man in 2010 was an enjoyable experience. The one thing that stood out was how much film and in particular acting for film has changed in the last 70 odd years. Not that I’m saying there was anything wrong with the film or the acting. It was just of a different time. This was a horror story not told through shock or gory violence but through atmosphere. I’d heard of Lon Chaney Jr. before but I’d never seen him in action. He was great. Further research proves that he suffered from typecasting after The Wolf Man which is a pity, he really had great screen presence.

Was it a good film though? I thought so, very entertaining. Obviously it has dated somewhat, it’s been 70 years folks, but I don’t hold that against it at all. Ok, being honest there were some parts that were pretty funny. It’s hard to know now if people were genuinely scared of the film at the time. I’d like to think that people were though, as well as finding some parts funny. I loved all the mad old biddys in it, particularly the gypsy woman. Also it had a pure cool silver topped walking stick in it. I think I could really use a cool walking stick… If you think it sounds like the kind of thing you’d be into then I’d definitely recommend giving it a look.

The Wolfman 2010 poster Benicio Del ToroAll of this, of course, is a precursor to Universal’s new version of The Wolfman that’s coming out in Ireland on February 12th 2010. It stars Benicio Del Toro in the titular Lon Chaney role as well as Anthony Hopkins, Hugo Weaving and Emily Blunt. Two Oscar winners and a Golden Globe winner there, so a strong cast.

Having seen the trailer it looks as though they are going back to a more traditional style of horror story telling but with the level of special effects that we have come to expect these days. The look and feel of film reminds me a little of Sleepy Hollow; this is a good thing in my mind. I’m sure there’ll be a bit of gore thrown in and it does look as though they are slightly changing and fleshing out the plot a bit more but that’s cool. I for one am looking forward to seeing what they do with it and I hope you are too.

The Wolfman is releasing in cinemas all over Ireland on February 12th 2010.

The Wolf Man (1941) is available on DVD as part of the Universal Legacy and Universal Studios Classic Monster collections.

Finally I want to say thanks to the folks at Universal Pictures and Simply Zesty for a great night. I hope people will still be watching and enjoying the remake of The Wolf Man in another 70 years.

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    […] week, Universal Pictures Ireland invited some of your favourite bloggers to attend a screening of the 1941-movie-classic The Wolfman at the private Denzille cinema ; a […]

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