Sunday, 2 April 2017

Legend of the Werewolf (1975)

"We do not cater for unusual tastes in here!"

This looks and feels like a Hammer horror film, is directed by Freddie Francis and stars Peter Cushing, but technically it isn't- it's made by Tyburn Films, a company specifically set up to continue the Hammer tradition after the Hammer horrors sadly came to an end (well, if you ignore To the Devil... a Daughter). Sadly, Tyburn only made three further films before giving up the ghost in 1975, and this is the last of those; very much the end of an era.

This is, essentially, a bog standard average Hammer horror in both style and quality. It's hard to gauge how dated this would have felt, if at all, in 1975, but the quality is certainly good enough, if not great. The script is ok, Cushing carries the film with his usual charisma and there's a delightful performance by Hugh Griffith early on. And the rather poor werewolf make-up is more than compensated for by some extremely clever effects and direction.

The setting is mid-nineteenth century France, a time of brothels (Ron Moody plays the very dirtiest of dirty old men), daguerreotypes and Napoleon III; a little later in time and a little to the west of the usual setting for these films but suitably atmospheric as far as Hammer goes. The script may be predictable, David Rintoul may be an average actor but, as ever, the film is carried by the splendid Peter Cushing as a pathologist who constantly solves cases for the inspector.

Not a bad film, then, and perhaps quite fitting that (and yes, I know this technically isn't a Hammer horror film, and that there would be one more such film to go, but...) it's a suitable closure for an era of which I am very fond.

No comments:

Post a Comment