Yet another category falls in my 999 Challenge. With today's film, Lycanthropus (1961, or Werewolf In A Girls' Dormitory (U.S. title)), I have finished off my 9 Werewolf films category. This leaves me with three more to go, only twelve more movies to watch in all. This challenge, in which I had to work in 81 movies in a years time, should go quickly now. As long as I keep up a decent pace, I don't see why I won't get it finish on time. With my last film for werewolves, I decided to watch an older movie. I suspected that it was not an American made film because the voices didn't always match up with the lips. As it turns out, this was the only werewolf film that I watched for this challenge that wasn't made in America. I'm happy about this, as it is always interested to see another country's take on these things.
The story takes place in a girls' dormitory of course. It is a reform school where the ladies have been in trouble with the law. Even though the gates are kept locked, it isn't a prison where the ladies are kept in cells. Mary (Mary McNeeran) is one of the inmates who are being paid by Sir Alfred Whiteman (Maurice Marsac) for sexual favors. Mary has had enough of this though, and has decided to use the letters that Whiteman has written to her for blackmail. She is hoping not only to get the favors to stop, but she also wants Whiteman to get her released from the school. Whiteman agrees to meet Mary late at night, where they try to talk things out. Each leave with nothing resolved. On the way back to the dormitory, Mary is attacked by a werewolf and killed. The attack is blamed on wolves of course, but not everyone believes this. Mary's best friend Priscilla (Barbara Lass) has decided that she will get to the truth of things.
Lycanthropus plays out like a mystery movie more than a horror movie. Even though we see the werewolf early in the film, we never get a great look at him until later. Even then it is a little hard to tell who it is thanks to the makeup. Could it be Whiteman who has a thing for the girls? Or maybe it is the creepy looking caretaker Walter (Luciano Pigozzi). Maybe it is Dr. Julian Olcott (Carl Scell), who was in trouble with the law because a woman in his care died before arriving at the school. Let's not forget Director Swift (Curt Lowens) though. Then again, it might not be any of them. Like any good mystery out of Italy, there is a pair of black gloves to be found. Unlike most prison movies that involve women though, no nudity can be found in this film. I was a little surprised by this. Lycanthropus is a black and white movie, but coming out of Italy I figured that maybe there would be a little bit of nudity. The movie is a little slow, but because it keeps you guessing with some twists, it managed to keep my interest through out.
The werewolf for the film is kind of cheesy looking. The werewolf doesn't look like a wolf at all. The guy has a lot of pointy teeth, hairy hands and sharp finger nails. His face is distorted just enough so you can't really make out who it is, but isn't given any features you might expect from a werewolf. The other effects are just some scratch marks here and there. The acting seemed to be okay. It is a little hard to judge it when the voices are dubbed over though.
For being a reform school, it felt like it was easy enough for the women to escape whenever they wanted to. Two of the women scale the wall at some point in the movie, but always return. I didn't really get it. They would be in a lot of trouble if they got caught outside the school walls, so once out, why not just make a run for it? The first attack that was made might have shocked people back when this movie came out. The werewolf attacks Mary and rips her shirt open. As the camera pans the woods, we can hear Mary screaming. I don't know if it was intended, but it does allude to more than Mary being killed. After the first kill, it harks back to the days of the choke out kills. I can't say that I loved Lycanthropus, but I did like the odd mix of werewolf and giallo genres. Worth checking out at least one time I think.
3 out of 5 Sure were a lot of full moons each night
5 days ago