The Curse of the Werewolf

Well… this is a renowned cult horror flick from the sixties that has been on my to watch list for far too long. Hammer took up the classic monsters mantel after Universal milked its roster dry back in the 40s. And to great success, I might add. They had already given us Christopher Lee’s Dracula, their version of Frankenstein and the Mummy. Even Jekyll and Hyde. It was inevitable that the Wolfman would join their pantheon too. And who should they secure to play the tragic beast? Why none other than screen legend Oliver Reed in his debut lead role, no less.

"this was an odd one, to be frank"

Hammer mainstay director, Terrence Fisher, adapted the French novel The Werewolf in Paris, switching locales to Spain (to utilise Spanish sets already constructed for another cancelled film). Here we meet a complete pisshead (Aussie slang for alcoholic) beggar, who’ll do anything for another drop. He gatecrashes the wedding of a complete douchebag, who humiliates him for scraps and booze before having him thrown into a dungeon for the rest of his natural life. A kindly mute servant girl brings him scraps and, as the years pass, grows into a gorgeous mute servant woman. One day, she rebuffs the lecherous advances of the aforementioned douchebag and is thrown into the dungeon with the man she has kept alive all these years. So, what does he do? Why, he rapes her naturally and this sickening act proves too much, and he dies of a heart attack. Released after ‘learning her lesson’, the mute woman kills the douchebag and wanders off into the wilderness. There, inexplicably lying face down in a river, she is found by a kindly Don Corledo (Clifford Evans), who takes her back to his superstitious serving wench, who discovers the mute woman is with child. A few more voiceover-ed passing of time scenes and the child is born on Christmas Day—an affront to God, according to the superstitious serving wench. The poor mute girl passes away and Don Corledo is warned to raise the child always knowing love… or shit will really hit the fan. Of course, that shit starts flinging soon after another series of voiceover-ed scenes pass the time for us, and the boy grows up to be Oliver Reed. He finds love, an already betrothed hottie, who of course (and ineffectually almost entirely off camera) falls for him and accepts the definition of a mental patient’s proposal of marriage—but the beast within still comes forth. It’s up to his father, post the slaughter of many villagers, to take care of business.The Curse of the Werewolf

Yeah, this was an odd one, to be frank. There is an inordinate amount of time given to the lead up of Oliver’s birth, focused on characters that aren’t a huge part of the greater picture. There is a decent attempt to prioritise character in this flick, but they focus too much time on the wrong ones, and as a result the tragedy of Oliver’s character is diminished. When the werewolf stuff does start happening its derivative and weakened. The writing is operatic, as are the actors’ performances, with Reed particularly melodramatic in his delivery (I find the proposal scene hilariously intense). But they do give their all. The werewolf make-up effects are stellar (though not the transformation scene). The sets are great, and the colours are rich. I am not a music expert but there was a big deal made over the score and its use of 12 tone surrealism, which wasn’t (isn’t used?) much, and without knowing what the hell this means, all I can say is it matches the rest of the hyperbolic production fittingly.

I’m glad to have finally seen this, but it's not gonna become a member of my pantheon of favourite werewolf flicks. It is definitely a well-made movie with some remarkably good actors in it. I was very impressed with the make-up and actor Anthony Dawson as the Marques Siniestro, the most effective douchebag I’ve seen since Prince Joffrey on Game of Thrones.

3/5 stars


The Curse of the Werewolf

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Shout Factory
Available on Blu-ray
- April 21, 2020
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
: English SDH
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Mono
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; single disc
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A


Scream Factory has delivered a 1080p transfer from a native 4K scan of the original camera negatives. It’s a rich looking picture, replicating some bold colours and warmish tint that highlights the bright fake blood of the 60s as easily as it does Oliver Reed’s blue eyes. The werewolf makeup is rendered beautifully, and the sets come alive resplendently. This is a great looking transfer that whets the appetite for what might be presented in 4K.


The DTS-HD 2.0 mix is a weighty stereo experience that delivers nuanced effects and clear dialogue satisfactorily but is mired somewhat by the bombastic score and crowd scenes. A 5.1 or even 7.1 mix would serve to delineate the elements more effectively. This is a great, and I’m sure audiophiles would argue, fitting score but the greed in me wanted more.


This is a blu-ray from Scream Factory, so we get a decent collection of supplementary materials that cover most aspects of production from surviving contributors and other experts. All in all, not a bad presentation.


  • Commentary One with Yvonne Romain
  • Commentary Two with  film historians Constantine Nasr and Steve Haberman

Special Features:

  • The Men Who Made Hammer
  • Serial Killer
  • Making Of
  • Lycanthropy
  • Censoring the Werewolf
  • Trailers from Hell
  • Radio Spot
  • Still Gallery
  • Theatrical Trailer

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 3/5 stars
  Extras 3/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3/5 stars


Film Details

The Curse of the Werewolf

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
93 mins
: Terence Fisher
Anthony Hinds; Guy Endore
Clifford Evans; Oliver Reed; Yvonne Romain
: Horror
In Eastman Color
Memorable Movie Quote: "Cristina, do you love me? Will you marry me Cristina? You say you love me, will you marry me?"
Theatrical Distributor:
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 7, 1961
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
April 21, 2020
Synopsis: This atmospheric tale of terror stars Oliver Reed (Venom, The Brood) as the orphan of a maniacal beggar and a mute girl. From his birth to young manhood, he discovers a horrible secret. Try as he may, the cursed man is unable to deny the dark force within him. When the moon is full, he becomes an uncontrollable, seemingly unstoppable killer incapable of distinguishing between friend and foe..


The Curse of the Werewolf