Tag Archives: Universal Monsters

Late Night Movie House: The Wolf Man

30 Oct

October 30, 2022

The Wolf Man, 1941, directed by George Waggner, written by Curt Siodmak, starring Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Evelyn Ankers, and Bela Lugosi.

The Wolf Man, starring Lon Chaney Jr. as the lycanthropy-stricken Larry Talbot, is often considered a tragedy. Lon Chaney was the accidental victim of a werewolf bite. Just a nice guy in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the old gypsy saying points out that:

Even a man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms, and the Autumn moon is bright.

Talbot is presented as a sympathetic, tragic figure, who wants a cure and, failing that, just wants to die. He comes back in four more films, each time sadder than the last, more desperate than the last, only looking for peace.

Poor guy.

I say tough luck. He got what he deserved.

What is interesting about this curse it that it wasn’t inflicted on an innocent victim. All this did was supply a bit of poetic justice and bring out the inner nature that was obvious for all to see from the start of the film: Larry Talbot was already a wolf.

From the beginning, Talbot was presented as a wolf in the classical 1940’s sense- a man who goes after women. In a more modern turn of phrase, he’s a predator. And also a bit of a perv as in an early scene he’s using his father’s telescope to spy on Evelyn Ankers (Gwen) in her bedroom. Soon, he goes after her.

He goes into her shop and hits on her, hard. Even by 1940’s standards it is cringey. This is a guy who does not take no for an answer. And why would he? He is the entitled rich son of local gentry. His father was Sir John Talbot and his recently deceased brother was a well-known town patron. The fact that Gwen is engaged to be married very soon is not enough to stop him from badgering her into a date.

I am not looking at this from a modern lens and I am not pretending that Gwen is pure herself. Not only is she not exactly breaking but certainly bending her soon-to-be-wedding vows, but she claims to have no idea who Larry Talbot is. (Did I mention that he is hitting on her and not even telling her his name?)

I say she “claims” to not recognize Larry Talbot but he is the spitting image of his brother, whom everyone in town is more than familiar with.

Gwen agrees to go with Larry later that night (albeit with a girlfriend as a chaperone) to a local gypsy camp to have their fortunes told. There, the gypsy sees the evil mark of the pentagram and refuses to tell their fortunes. As they are leaving the camp, Larry is bitten by a werewolf and turned into one himself.

Larry is horrified and disconsolate at what he has become but of course cannot control himself and attacks Gwen, which is pretty much what has already done, sans fangs.

All the gypsy curse did was to hold a mirror up to Talbot and reveal his true persona. He was no “man who is pure at heart, and says his prayers by night.” He was a rogue and a womanizer. Nice guy in other respects, maybe, but still a cad who should have respected Gwen from the first, not forced himself upon her, appreciated her impending marriage and maybe he would have lived a normal life.

In the end it is respectable Sir John, Larry’s father, who, unknowingly, kills his son in wolf form and puts all back to rights. And that, tragic as it may be to lose a son in that way, is poetically correct as it is classically the father’s role to correct the errors of a wayward son’s ways.

No review of the Wolf Man would be complete without pointing out the glaring continuity errors of Larry Talbot beginning a werewolf transformation in one outfit and somehow completing the transformation in another. There’s nothing to read into it but it is too obvious to ignore.

The Saturday Seen That: Monsters for Mac

21 Sep

September 21, 2013

Last week I showed a pair of Universal Monsters model kits I picked up for a song at Toys R Us. In the comments section we had a nice discussion of the monsters, statues, and the like. So for Mac, this week I am posting some  Universal Monsters statues I have had since at least the early 90’s, probably earlier.

These were all sold unpainted. They are made of lightweight, glow-in-the-dark resin. None of them weigh more than a few ounces but they are all sturdy and have with one tiny exception, held up very well.

What did not hold up were my paint jobs. These statues are badly in need of touch ups. I don’t claim to be an expert painter, but these were really nice when I first painted them.


The Mummy
I was pretty proud of this one because I found ways of blending paints on his bandages to make them seem dirty not jus ton the outside, but the inside as well. I’m not as happy with how his face turned out, but overall I think the bandages make the mummy.

The Wolfman
A pretty good paint job. I was never good with detail but I managed to mix in some black highlights in his brown fur. Again, not technically brilliant, but my previous painting experience was painting planes or tanks solid matte colors.

Phantom of the Opera
For some reason Dracula was not included in this set. I always assumed this was his replacement since they had similar looks. This is the only statue that’s broken, but it unnoticeable unless you’ve seen the unbroken version. The hand holding the cape (which is obscured by the Wolfman’s hand) also held a small mask. But if you never knew that it looks fine.


This is your standard Frankie paint job, though I did do a little bit with some details, like laces on his boots.

Creature from the Black Lagoon
This is my favorite. It is hard to see in the picture, but every single scale is painted green and highlighted at the tip with slightly darker green, giving it really nice texture. I also did a few black highlights to make it seem more natural. Of the set, this will be the hardest to touch up, if I decide to do so.


In the front is the Remco (correct me if it was another company) Creature action figure. This set had the same selection as the statues and each also came in a glow-in-the-dark version. I had all the regular figures and except for this one, they all fell apart from normal use. They literally fell into pieces. the bodies broke open, the limbs fell off, the heads fell off the neck. For some reason this figure remains sturdy. I’d love to have this set again.


Not Universal monsters but they came up in the comments. I did nothing to these- they came fully assembled and painted. But as an old-school Superman fan I couldn’t be happier.


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