In Spain, Leon is born on Christmas day to a mute servant girl who was raped by a beggar. His mother dies giving birth and he is looked after by Don Alfredo. As a child Leon becomes a werewolf after having been taken hunting.
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Better than average Hammer with Olly Reed stripped for some hot action. Watch out for the immortal Michael Ripper, for once in his life not playing a genial landlord. And Warren Mitchell as a shepherd is as realistic as Harpo playing Hamlet.
The origin story for Hammer's only werewolf movie is utter claptrap--don't even try to make sense of it. Thematically, all points re: the perversion of humanity via base and inhuman/animalistic treatment are accounted for (if logic is sacrificed for morals in the process). Reed is gorgeous/dangerous as a Brandoesque (pre-Twilight) Hunky Teen Werewolf who just wants to marry his girl and become a Normal Boy.
In the film's long and grim prologue, people are humiliated, raped, murdered, treated like animals. The sins of history are as inescapable as the full moon in the birth of the beast. To give love to the beast (as the surrogate parents eventually learn) is a brave but hopeless affair; in fact the final act of tenderness to be given to the werewolf is to destroy it. Probably Hammer's most emotional and moral film.
Fisher was the best hammer director and this film is one of the best films the studio produced thanks in part to a particularly good cast led by Oliver Reed who was superbly chosen for the role. In a way, it is a strange film since it takes such a long time fot the main storyline to develop. still the prologue sequence (which is a third of the length) of the film is highly memorable
En Espagne, à la fin du 18e siècle, un jeune homme se transforme, certaines nuits de pleine lune, en féroce lycanthrope, et tue brutalement des prostituées. Film porte-drapeau du loup-garou !
More vivid and drama driven than usual Hammer flick ends up as a movie that just happens to feature lycanthrope. Aside from the last scene, there isn't much to associate with the title. And while the story flows fluently from the beginning, it's in a preparation of the final act when it starts to loose it. Still, worth the time as a movie that doesn't need a monster to capture viewer's attention.