Friday, October 21, 2011

Phantom Film Festival: Werewolf of London

Henry Hull stars as a botanist-turned-lycanthrope in tonight's chiller. "Werewolf of London" feels more like a stage play than a film in some respects; there is quite a bit of dialogue in the film, along with scenes that would be more at home on the stage than they are on the screen. In that regard, it bears somewhat of a resemblance to Universal's "Dracula."

Be that as it may, this is an enjoyable werewolf movie--the transformation sequences (which really are the drawing card of such pictures) are good enough to make my 8-year-old son say "cool." It must be said, though, that the titular monster is more than a little Mr. Hyde-esque. That's not a complaint, merely an observation. I enjoyed the plot point involving Tibet, which implicitly brought together werewolf and yeti legends, if only in the imagination of the viewer.

While too civilized to be terrifying, "Werewolf of London" is atmospheric and effective, with a few moments of authentic creepiness. Hull's lycanthropy serves as a thinly veiled symbol of his workaholic tendencies, both of which wreak disastrous consequences on his marriage. Werner Oland also appears in a pivotal supporting role.

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