Rewatching the Universal Monsters! The ones on the Blu-ray box, at least. She-Wolf of London is another oddity on the box set, as it has no relation to The Wolf Man, but is it worth seeing?
Here’s what happens: All of London is on the verge of panic after a series of wolf-related murders. Wealthy socialite Phyllis is increasingly fearful about the murders, not helped by her conspiratorial aunt and cousin, whom she lives with. As family secrets are revealed, could Phyllis be… a werewolf?
Monster! Phyllis gets more and more unhinged as the movie goes along, fearful that she’s got the ol’ werewolf family curse. She has a few great speeches where she ponders superstition, ancient cults, and her mysterious visions.
Also a monster! Shocking twist: It was all Aunt Martha’s doing, committing the murders and coming up with the whole “werewolf” story all in an attempt to frame Phyllis and get ahold of Phyllis’ inheritance.
Our hero: Phyllis’ fiancé Barry goes to great lengths to be there for Phyllis, investigating the murders on his own, and refuting Martha’s attempts to separate them.
Hapless humans: Phyllis’ cousin Carol seems like she’s on Carol’s side at first, but then is revealed to be a co-conspirator after she sets her sights on claiming Barry for her own. The family maid also appears to be in on the conspiracy, acting sneaky the whole time. The ending, though, reveals who’s side she’s really on.
Thrills: Most of the wolf action takes place off screen. When we finally do see the titular she-wolf, it’s a figure dressed in a white robe and hood lurking through the fog. That’s a pretty neat visual, but fans expecting Lon Cheney-style transformations might be disappointed.
Laughs: Two London cops do the “Greek chorus” thing, popping in and out of the movie to make observations and hacky jokes.
Thoughts upon this viewing: This is less a horror movie than it is a whodunit (a whatdunit?), but I really enjoyed it. The performances carry the movie more than anything, and everyone is a likable and interesting character.
Next: I Don’t Know’s on third.
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