I just realized something. I don’t own a single copy of any of the classic horror films. I have several remakes of the movies, and dozens of movies inspired by them, but none of the classic Universal monster movies are in my possession. I find that a bit odd and should definitely rectify that oversight one of these days, but it unfortunately won’t be any time soon. The only reason why this came to mind is because today’s movie is one of those remakes. So let’s see what this remake has to offer as I watch today’s movie, The Werewolf.
The plot: A man stumbles into the bar in the small town of Mountaincrest and orders a drink, paying for it with a large bill. When he finishes his drink, he stumbles over to the fireplace to warm his hands for a minute, then goes to leave when the bartender reminds him of his change and the man asks the bartender if he lives there. When the bartender says he never saw the man before, the man says he must be passing through and leaves. Another bar patron, Joe Mitchell, follows him and attempts to mug him, dragging him into an alley. As the two men struggle, an old woman walking by hears them just as one man screams and when a figure emerges from the alley, the woman begins screaming. The figure runs off down the road as some people from the bar, including the deputy sheriff Ben Clovey, run up and to find out what happened. After examining Joe’s body and learning where the supposed killer went, Clovey, the bartender, and another man head out after the figure while Clovey has two women go and get the town doctor, Jonas Gilcrist. As the men follow the tracks into the woods, they are shocked to see them suddenly change from show prints to paw prints and the third man recognizes them as wolf tracks. Clovey sends the bartender and the other man back to get Sheriff Jack Haines, saying he will wait at the top of the nearby hill for them, and the men reluctantly agree to leave, none of them noticing a discarded pair of shoes behind a nearby log. Some time later, Jack returns to the bar with a badly wounded Clovey and he tells everyone to stay inside and not say a word about what happened tonight. He then takes Clovey to Jonas’s house, where his niece Amy, lets them in and goes to get her uncle. While she is gone, Jack asks Clovey about what happened and Clovey tells him it happened to fast but whatever attacked him, it wasn’t quite human, nor was it completely an animal. When Gilcrist arrives, he begins treating Clovey’s injury, with Amy assisting him, and he talks with Jack about what happened. The two men argue when Gilcrist says it was obviously an animal that killed Joe but Jack says that the witness says a man was the attacker. When Amy says what they are all starting to think, Gilcrist refuses to list Werewolf as the cause of death and Jack says that whatever the case, Joe was murdered and that he has some reinforcements coming to help him search for the killer in the morning. After they leave, Amy wonders if she should try to get some sleep or stay up in case they are needed again and Gilcrist says that since they are up, they should get some of his old books on mythology and give them a read. The next morning, the stranger wakes up in a small mine and cries out in anguish, hoping that what he remembers was just a dream. He then sees his shoes and socks nearby and quickly puts them on before leaving the area. Meanwhile, Jack has some state patrol officers show up to help him search the mountain, then gets called off to deal with some reporters, who are wondering why he has the road blocked off, and he reluctantly allows them through. Unknown to them, the stranger is watching them from the trees and he quickly turns around and moves further up the mountain. He soon finds himself at Gilcrist’s house and ask Amy if the doctor is in and she takes him inside to see her uncle. When Gilcrist speaks with the man, the stranger says he can’t remember who he is or anything about his past. The only memory he has is of a car accident, and being in a doctor’s office with two doctors, but that is it. The man then asks if a man had been killed the night before and when Gilcrist says there was, the man says he did it but thought it was just a dream. When Amy tries to give him something to calm him down, the man jumps up, saying the other doctors did something to him and then runs out of the house and down the road. Amy calls the sheriff’s station and when she learns that Jack isn’t there, she heads there with Gilcrist to wait for him. When Jack returns, Amy and Gilcrist tell them what happened and Amy begs Jack to try and take the man alive, as he seemed more frightened than dangerous, and Jack says he will do what he can but can’t make any guarantees. Elsewhere, a scientist named Dr. Morgan Chambers is doing some experiments with animals when his partner, Dr. Emery Forrest, enters the room and shows him the newspaper article about the killing. Morgan feels like this is proof that his serum works and he believes that they can inoculate themselves and a few select others to survive what could be the oncoming destruction of the planet. Morgan makes plans to head to Mountaincrest to try and find their test subject when there is a knock on their door. When he opens it, he finds Helen Marsh there, who asks him about her husband Duncan, as the police say they brought him there are a car accident a few nights ago. Morgan says that Duncan just had a minor head injury but he was fine when he left their office and they haven’t seen him since, trying his best to reassure her. After she leaves, Morgan and Emery head to Mountaincrest, telling the officers at the road block that they believe the man they are searching for is a patient of theirs in order to get through. When they get to town, they head up to the mountain to go looking for Marsh, who hears them coming and ducks into the mine to try and hide from them. Emery searches the mine and finds Marsh, who recognizes him and asks him to help him. When Emery says there is nothing they can do, Marsh realizes he is going to shoot him and the fear kicks in his adrenaline, causing him to change. Emery runs from the mine but is attacked by Marsh, and Morgan shoots at him, scaring him off. Suddenly, a shot rings out close to Morgan as Jack and the other searchers arrive and question what was going on. When Morgan explains what they were doing there, and Emery describes what happened, Jack has them taken to the station to fill out a report, then orders everyone off the mountain, as it is beginning to get dark. That night, Jack and Amy are discussing Marsh when Clovey informs them about Marsh killing a sheep on a nearby farm. Jack tells Clovey to call all the farmers, or go get them if they don’t have a phone, and evacuate everyone to the town for their safety. Amy is upset about Jack intending to kill Marsh instead of helping him but Jack insists he is too dangerous to do otherwise. The next day, Jack and a couple of hunters set some traps around the town when Clovey contacts him on the radio to come back to town. When he gets there, he finds the reporters wanting to get information on what’s going on but he ignore them and goes in the other room to speak to Clovey and another deputy. Clovey tells him about a car found with the ID for Duncan Marsh inside and how Marsh’s wife had filed a missing person’s report 2 days ago, which makes them think Marsh is the man that they are looking for. In town, Morgan and Emery learn about Helen and her son Chris being in town looking for Marsh and says it could complicate things, as Jack might be more inclined to take him in alive. When Emery seems hesitant to kill Marsh, Morgan reminds him that they are responsible for what happened to Marsh and subsequently everything he has done since so they have to kill him in order to protect themselves. Meanwhile, Marsh falls victim to one of the traps and manages to get himself free, but collapses soon afterwards from the pain and blood loss. At Gilchrist’s house, Helen is talking with Amy about how everyone is being vague about her husband and begs her for details. When Jack shows up, he tells Amy that Marsh was caught in one of the traps and managed to escape but was wounded. Helen overhears this and demands Jack tell her the truth and Jack does so, but avoids mentioning that they suspect Marsh is a werewolf. When Helen and Amy both say they want to go with Jack to look for Marsh, he relents and allows them to come, as well as Chris. When Jack gets to the sheriff’s station, he tells Clovey not to bring rifles, as they will carry pistols under their jackets just in case something goes wrong. Morgan shows up and asks if he can go with them but Jack refuses, saying that they want fewer people with them in order not to frighten Marsh. When Morgan leaves, Jack tells him that he doesn’t quite trust them, as Marsh was supposedly fine until his accident occurred, and he was treated by them. The 5 head up to the mountain looking for Marsh and eventually find evidence he is near. When Helen starts calling out on the bullhorn, Marsh reveals himself and Chris and Helen run up to hug him. then move aside when Amy shows up to tend to Marsh’s injury. In town, the people are celebrating the fact that Marsh has been captured and Morgan and Emery are watching, with Morgan waiting for the perfect moment to try and kill Marsh. In the sheriff’s station, Marsh tells Helen and Chris to go home, and he will be there as soon as he is better, and Jack has one of the state patrol officers drive them home. He then heads over to Gilchrist’s house and speaks with Gilchrist and Amy about the situation before Amy convinces him to sleep on the couch. Back at the bar, one of the hunters who had helped set the traps gets especially drunk and stagger out of the bar and Morgan and Emery follow, then knock him unconscious. They take him to the sheriff’s station and knock on the door, then chloroform Clovey when he comes out to check on him. Heading inside, they go to kill Marsh only to find that he has transformed and Marsh quickly kills them both. Jack is woken up by the screams and heads to the station to find the two bodies, as well as the unconscious bodies of Clovey and the drunk, and he tells the other men that were drawn by the screams to bring some torches so they can scare him out of the village. Jack leads the posse into the woods and the start searching for Marsh, finding a blood trail from his injured leg. They eventually spot him and throw some torches up to help light the area and begin shooting but when Marsh disappears further into the woods, Jack decides to fall back and wait until it’s daylight rather than risk someone getting hurt in the dark. In the morning, Jack and the posse spot Marsh heading for the highway and chase after him and as he gets close to the bridge, Jack yells out for it to be blocked on the other side. Marsh ends up jumping off the bridge to the ground below and tries to escape but the men begin shooting and eventually bring him down, then watch as he transforms back to human after he dies.
This was actually a pretty decent movie all things considered. The acting was ok, though Don Megowan (Jack) actually seemed to come off as a little too stiff. George Lynn (Morgan) actually seemed like a much more interesting character but he got such a limited amount of screen time that you weren’t able to see him really be developed. The story was essentially the same as the classic Wolfman story, just losing the supernatural aspect of it and attempting to give it more of a scientific origin. The special effects with the make-up were honestly pretty weak, but they actually worked as you really only see the transformation twice, one in his changing into the werewolf and at the end where he changes back; every other time he is already changed. It’s not a terrible remake but it definitely is not going to be considered a classic any time soon.
Rating: 3 out of 5