Sunday, October 16, 2011

She-Wolf of London

(1946) ****

Upon the realization that the middle of the month has passed us, and I've not written as many reviews of all the films I have actually seen, it was time I gave myself a pep talk. Time to haul some Horrorthon ass and pump these reviews out. I won't try to evoke any pity from you with all the long hours I've spent grading papers and conferencing with parents, not to mention the back-breaking task of moving across town so as to avoid my own living situation becoming the subject of a horror movie – thanks to JSP for the support and help in moving (he alphabetized my CD collection).*

I voluntarily leapt into this classic hoping for an old-school wolf transformation sequence – what I got was a heavier plot than expected and genuine interactions between lead characters to solve a family curse. Enter She-Wolf of London!

Phyllis Allenby is engaged to Dashing Lawyer Boyfriend, Barry Lanfield, when she believes that she is responsible for a string of recent deaths at a nearby park – it's that damn Allenby Family Curse! Each scene is well-constructed and helps to build up tension between Phyllis and her overbearing aunt Martha, who convinces her not to see Barry while she is ill with guilt about the supposed werewolf murders. Martha's daughter, Carol, is seeing the local starving artist in secret; all the while Auntie Martha is trying to set her up with Barry while Phyllis remains under a voluntary house-arrest.
"It's not you, it's me; you see, I get large furry hands on a full moon."
Barry insists upon seeing his fiancee and finally takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of what is going on in the park. The ending both surprised and amused me, and the “bobby” policemen were pretty hysterical with their proper British accents and proper British manners.

Some light bedtime reading: Lycanthropy

. . . aaaaand some light bedtime stalking.

I'm giving this a high rating for the dialogue between characters and engaging rising action – I was hooked throughout S-WOL and I'm an immediate fan of any film that relies on character interaction(s) over big-budget special effects. It's something that I treasure in old films and something that I feel has been sacrificed in the name of a flashier look and basic dialogue to match basic stories and mindsets.

*I'm just messing with JSP – he helped me over his birthday weekend (when he didn't have to) and I bought us a pizza as compensation.


Octopunk said...

Occasionally you do get a modern horror flick with adequate or sometimes awesome character interplay. But you're right: when they had to do it more, they were better at it.

I swore I'd never be more than two reviews behind but I'm behind twice that.

Congrats on the move!

* Wait, are you saying JSP didn't alphabetize your CDs?

Johnny Sweatpants said...

I admit I have a bizarre habit of alphabetizing CD's wherever I go. It's for the betterment of mankind, dammit!

I love your Horrorthon spirit Crystal!

JPX said...

Nice review, Crystal! I watched this a few years ago and had a different opinion (you can read my review here). I agree with JSP, excellent Horrorthon spirit! I love watching horror from the 40s and would recommend that you check out some of the Universal Monster sets.

Crystal Math said...

Octo -- he alphabetized the crap outta my cd's, and, if I knew where all my DVDs were located, I woulda had him alphabetize those, too! ;-)

JPX -- I think I've got the Wolf-persyn Monster Set and I'm looking forward to seeing them all!

And I must say that this is the first time in ~7 years that I've been REALLY excited about Halloween!

DCD said...

Good for you, Crystal - it really does take a commitment (one I half-heartedly have this year. In my defense, its hard to watch flicks w/ an impressionable 5 and 8 year old around. But I digress.)

I have definitely found older horror to be enjoyable for many of the reasons you listed. Great find!

Catfreeek said...

Great pick Crystal, totally agree about the character development, that's one of the reasons I gravitate toward the older flicks.