Borewolf

Emulating Universal’s Wolf Man, The Werewolf designs its story around empathy for a man afflicted with lycanthropy. He’s not alone when suffering – both his wife and son search for him, but he’s forced to push them away in an emotional send off.

The Werewolf isn’t an accidental case either; then newcomer Steven Rich’s character, stricken with amnesia, was cursed by radiation’s effects. Clearly, this movie was a product of the 1950s, erasing the legend’s mysticism for sci-fi origins.

… there’s little doubt as to The Werewolf’s bottom-tier standing

There is a balance though, wherein two sets of doctors stand on opposing sides of science. One believes in curing Rich’s condition, the other trying to hide the loosed experiment caused by their own tinkering. In that way, The Werewolf separates itself from Universal’s own brand. Their studio films consistently demonized science; this one draws both sides.

It’s utterly routine otherwise, even down to a band of torch-carrying villagers attempting to destroy the monster. One conversation trying to add depth to the distinctly unscientific side babbles on about ethics, as if a film treating radiation as an entertaining side effect weren’t already crudely breaching the topic.

For being a derivative, The Werewolf does okay for itself on a non-budget. Traditional throwback dissolve makeups turn into an aggressive, angular design in the final form, often seen in full daylight, nothing hidden. The crucial sin committed is that of sheer boredom, partly to blame on the lean action, another part on the static scene staging, and further on the listless characters outside of Rich himself. The mad scientist isn’t much of one, the good doctor beyond cliché, and the hero sheriff pulled from endless forgotten westerns (a genre of which director Fred F. Sears often handled).

Initially double billed with the Ray Harryhausen spectacular Earth vs the Flying Saucers, there’s little doubt as to The Werewolf’s bottom-tier standing.

Video

Arrow isn’t using the most recent or highest resolution of masters for this Blu-ray. The heavier, chunkier grain structure gives it away, likely the same materials used for the Sam Katzman Collection DVD; the end result is similar. Still, it’s improved, showing better clarity thanks to better bitrates and passable fidelity. Some heavy flicker, light dirt, and scratches pop up on occasion. It’s a wobbly print at times too.

Awesome gray scale certainly benefits this presentation, if not always as certain scenes/shots tend to lose their dense black levels. Mostly the varied contrast brings stellar, thick shadows where needed (all the way to pure black) and a pleasing, perky contrast. Varied gray tones show obvious care in rendering these images.

Consistent sharpness drives enough detail onto the screen, if nothing particularly striking in an era where fresh 4K masters make everything look new. Facial definition wanders shot-to-shot, sometimes visible in the mid-range, often not.

Audio

Average vintage mono leaves a scratchy, roughened quality to the audio. Dialog is all audible, just with an aged tinge that’s preserved from the source by this PCM option.

The moderate score doesn’t add any stress. It’s fine, barely distorted by time.

Extras

Lee Gambin drops by for a commentary track, followed by a Katzman-encompassing visual essay from Alexandra Heller-Nicholas that explores women’s roles in his films, running 23-minutes. Kim Newman offers an intro (not in the extras, but under the play option) that lasts 13-minutes. The Werewolf in Super 8 is offered, with a trailer and image gallery following.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Werewolf
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
2

Movie

A routine, radiation-fearing ’50s effort, The Werewolf’s sluggish and monotonous low-budget offers little interest to anyone outside of monster kids.

Sending
User Review
0 (0 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution, uncompressed HD screen shots grabbed directly from the Blu-ray: