The original Universal monster films were, and continue to be, an incredible source of inspiration to both fans and filmmakers alike. Even though they may seem almost silly by modern standards they were a revelation in their day. And an inspiration to many who saw them on television over the years. Mark of the Beast: The Legacy Of The Universal Werewolf takes a look back at possibly the most overlooked of those creatures, the werewolf.
Starting in the pre-film era director Daniel Griffith notes that while both Dracula and Frankenstein were already famous by way of novels. But there was no definitive literary lycanthrope. It wasn’t until The Wolf Man in 1941 that Curt Siodmak would mix folklore and his own ideas and came up with the cursed Larry Talbot. Brought to life by Lon Chaney Jr that was the creation of the werewolf as we know it.
Mark Of The Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf follows the character through the assorted sequels. As well as monster rallies like House Of Frankenstein. And monster mashes like Abbott And Costello Meet Frankenstein. This was shot as an extra for Arrow’s Blu Ray release of An American Werewolf In London. As a result we get quite a bit on that film as well. And a lot of input from John Landis and David Naughton. Interestingly we also here from Joe Dante who’s film The Howling was its main rival at the box office.
The 2010 reboot The Wolfman also gets some attention which is good to see. It’s an unrated film that deserved to be rediscovered. We also get bits on films as varied as Hammer’s Curse Of The Werewolf and The Boy Who Cried Werewolf.
While it follows the standard talking heads and film clips format Mark Of The Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf manages to get a bit more in-depth than similar films. In addition to those already mentioned Mick Garris, Steve Johnson, C. Courtney Joyner, and Craig Reardon are among those interviewed.
Mark Of The Beast: The Legacy of the Universal Werewolf will screen Sunday, November 17th as part of the Buried Alive Film Festival 2019. If you’re considering getting the Arrow disc this would be another point in its favor. Though I kind of wish it had a stand-alone release. It would make a nice double feature with Wolfman’s Got Nards.