Pros: Three great movies, one interesting also ran, an excellent documentary.
Cons: She-Wolf of London really is a weak sister in this crowd.
Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection
"Even a man who is pure of heart,
And says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the Wolvesbane blooms,
And the Autumn Moon Shines Bright."
Almost every culture in the world has myths and legends about people with the power, or the curse, to assume the shape of an animal. The Skinwalkers of the Dinee, the Kitsune of Japan, they are all about the terrible powers of nature still within us.
In Europe the most feared of the predators was the wolf, and most feared of all the terrors of the night was the Werewolf, the man with the power to take on the shape, the speed and strength and the ferocity of the wolf.
There are many explanations for the phenomena of Lycanthropy; theories range from wide spread ergot poisoning due to climatic change, to a mystification of the serial killer.
Whatever the case, the image is part of our collective unconsciousness, and resonates down our spine when we hear the distant plaintive cry of the coyote.
Hollywood was not going to let this go unexploited. The Legacy collection gathers three of the definitive movies that shaped the modern perception of the werewolf into one volume.
The Set contains four movies:
The Wolfman (1941) Directed by George Waggoner. Lon Cheney Jr. is the definitive Werewolf in a role that would be forever associated with him. What got introduced in this version? Only silver can kill a werewolf.
Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman (1943) Directed by Roy William Neill. Lon Cheney Jr. is back from the grave, and he meets another monster in the first of many, many monster meets monster movies. Bela Lugosi is back as well, but not as the werewolf, Bela, but as the Frankenstein Monster. This makes him the first actor to play all three of the big three monsters, Vampire, Werewolf, and Frankenstein. What was added to the mythos? Werewolves only change on the nights of the Full Moon.
The Werewolf of London. (1935) Directed by Stuart Walker. Henry Hull plays Wilfred Glendon, a botanist bitten in Tibet. What did this movie add to the mythos? The first transformations. While not as extreme as the ones that remade Lon Cheney Jr. six years later, these were the same tricks. Henry Hull just didn't have the patience to sit in the chair for six hours a day getting it on, and three more getting it off.
The She-Wolf of London. (1946) Directed by Jean Yarbrough. Starring a very young June Lockhart, this movie is the dog of the set. While it holds promise, it never realizes it due to poor direction and wooden acting. The beast however, proves to be every bit as deadly as a lycanthrope, though there are no supernatural elements in the story at all!
The only other noteworthy feature of the collection is the Documentary Monster By Moonlight. A look at the werewolf legend, and its adaptation by Hollywood, it is a better feature than She-Wolf of London.
There are the usual collections of trailers, some of which are amusing without trying to be.
All in all, a fine collection of the evil that lurks within us all, waiting for it's opportunity to slink out into the open an howl at the moon. From pent up rage, through masculine territoriality, we all recognize the beast lurking in the back corners of our psyche, just waiting for the leash to slip....
This review is entered into the Lean-N-Mean Write Off at a concise 617 words, MsBunnylicious' Wicked Hallows Write Off and Texas-Swede's Texas Sweden Write off. It applies to both halves. Warner Oland was born in Sweden, and Sara Haden in Galveston Texas.
Full Moon Theatre. Werewolves on the Silver Screen.
(0)True Blood: Season Two.(O)Wolf Moon(O)Wild Country (O)The Wolfman (2010)(O)War Wolves(O)Wolf Man: The Legacy Collection
She-Wolf of London(O)Werewolf of London(O)The Twilight Saga: New Moon(O)Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
The Wolf Man(O)Dog Soldiers(O)Wolf(O)True Blood
An American Werewolf in Paris(O)Underworld: Rise of the Lycans(O)Underworld(O)An American Werewolf in London
Silver Bullet(O)The Brothers Grimm(O)Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban(O)The Brotherhood of the Wolf(O)Wolves of Kromer