Saturday, 15 January 2011

Enter With Universal Horror Delight ...

House Of The Wolf Man

In the great traditions of the Universal Studios horror pictures from the nineteen thirties and forties, comes a return to that great era. A time when the Universal Pictures monsters thrilled and chilled people in theatres around the globe, and then discovered a new generation of horror fans when syndicated on late night television. Classic horror never dies, and in homage to that fact comes a modern re-imaging of the Universal Studios horror icons. Styled and dressed with respectful relish in the same old school fashion, and delightfully bringing back together once more the monster horror legends of old, in a manner that is most welcomed. Prepare yourselves then to enter the ... House Of The Wolf Man !.

Featuring Ron Chaney, grandson of horror legend Lon Chaney Jr., as Bela Reinhardt, the patriarch of an infamous and troubled heritage who's true family name is Frankenstein !. He invites five apparent strangers to his remote castle in order to bequeath his estate to the one he deems most worthy. The inheritance comes at a horrifying price upon the cycle of the full moon !.

Shot entirely in black and white in full frame, and in a manner that does its very best to give that old stock film look to it, in keeping with the period it is emulating. For the majority of the film this is achieved extremely well and manages to overcome any tendencies to slip into unintentional silliness. The texture of the interior set is commendable, and the sparing use of exteriors works advantageously in delivering a real sense of remoteness and archaic charm. Wonderfully realised as one of the guests Archibald Whitlock, a big game hunter, along with his three African man servants pick up the tracks of an unidentifiable beast !.

The level of detail applied to the costumes, and particularly to rendering believable recreations of the Universal monsters make up, is to be applauded. It is most particular in this department that you feel transported back to the bygone age of horror greatness. That is how it should be, the classic monsters stealing the show. Indeed come the eagerly anticipated climax to the movie it is the coming together of The Wolf Man, Frankenstein's Monster and Dracula that rightfully steals the show, and brings the house down !.

Ron Chaney gives a staid but quirky steady performance, and the supporting cast of castle guests all have their own quirks, working well enough to keep interest in all. Any 'House Of' film would not be complete without a mad scientists butler and here we have Barlow, a behemoth of a man servant. He never once utters a solitary word, but his actions and restraint speak volumes. It is the brilliance of actress Saba Moor-Doucette that is deserving of scene stealing actor award. Her portrayal as the disabled, wheel chair bound Vadoma, kept out of sight up in the upper regions of the castle by her son  Bela, is quite superbly realised. A play on the old gypsy woman, synonymous with the classic wolf man pictures, and her appearance in the dimly lit recess of a tiny room by candle light is excellently done. Her very aged and lined face, with blind eye and stump for an arm is classic old style horror characterisation. The discovery of her existence by inquisitive guest Elmira Cray is a pivotal one, as Vadoma relays to her young explorer that they are actually related, and that the host Bela Reinhardt is not at all who he purports to be !.

Creaky corridors, sparse floorboards and spartan decor are resplendent throughout the castle. It has that Frankenstein Gothic facade of stolid ghoulishness, silently crying out in empathic pain to its masters tortured occupancy.

The scene is then set, and the players are all in place. Time for all to sit together around the stately dinning table, dinner is about to be served, and what is on the menu is most appealing to the host in ... House Of The Wolf Man.

Wonderfully well done for fans of the old Universal Studios monster movies, and creaky enough to find new fans who may very well appropriately enough end up discovering this little gem on late night television for themselves. How can any old school horror aficionado not have fun with a Universal horror homage doff of the hat !?.

Sit back, enjoy and thrill to the cumulative monster clash of terror titans as Frankenstein's Monster squares up to The Wolf Man, and Count Dracula crashes the party with his fang flashing vampire brides. Enjoy the moment and you may almost believe that Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr. are up there on the screen once more, as if it was yesteryear all over again at Universal Horror.

House Of The Wolf Man Trailer

Movie Details IMDB

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