2010 March 17 • Wednesday
Are there any really great werewolf movies? I mean great. The original The Wolf Man has its moments, but it's not great, mostly because Lon Chaney, Jr., is supposed to carry the picture and, well, he just can't—not that picture or any picture.
There are a few werewolf movies that are really good, though, such as The Beast Must Die (1974).
The title is a mistake. It's catchy enough, but it really belongs to the 1938 novel by Nicholas Blake (a pen name for Cecil Day-Lewis, father of the actor Daniel Day-Lewis), which has nothing to do with werewolves and has been filmed at least twice (1952's La Bestia debe morir and 1969's Que la bête meure).
But this movie has a neat gimmick, namely the Werewolf Break.
The story concerns a millionaire hunter who invites a group of people to his isolated country house. They all have one thing in common: unsolved murders happen when they're around, murders in which the victims were partially eaten after having their throats torn out.
"One of you is a werewolf!" declares the hunter, though I wondered why he was so sure that only one of them was a werewolf. It seemed to me that any number of them, all of them could be werewolves.
Still, I like his style.
The werewolf's no slouch, either. The hunter has wired the whole estate for sound and vision, and has elaborate computerized detection and guidance systems.
But the werewolf destroys all this crap on its first night. Such a pleasure to see real professionals at work!
Here's the Werewolf Break. You have thirty seconds to guess which house guest is the werewolf.
I didn't guess right, but there really weren't any clues or useful information. It could have been any of them. By that point I was enjoying myself too much to care, anyway. The Beast Must Die is a fun, unpretentious movie, definitely one of the better and more unusual werewolf movies out there.