The Wolf Man (franchise)

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The Wolf Man is the title of several horror film series centered on Larry Talbot, a man who upon being bitten by a werewolf becomes one himself, and his subsequent attempts to cure himself of his murderous condition. The franchise was created by Curt Siodmak.

Universal Classic Monsters film series (1941–1948)[edit]

The original series of films consisted of seven installments, all of which starred iconic horror actor Lon Chaney Jr. as Larry Talbot. The series of films is part of the larger Universal Classic Monsters series.

Year Film The Wolf Man actor
1941 The Wolf Man Lon Chaney Jr.
1943 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man
1944 The House of Frankenstein
1945 House of Dracula
1948 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
  • The Wolf Man (1941)
    When his brother dies, Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) returns to Wales and reconciles with his father (Claude Rains). While there, he visits an antique shop and, hoping to impress Gwen (Evelyn Ankers), the attractive shopkeeper, buys a silver walking cane. That same night he kills a wolf with it, only to later learn that he actually killed a man (Bela Lugosi). A gypsy (Maria Ouspenskaya) explains that it was her son, a werewolf, that he killed, and that Larry is now one himself.
  • Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)
    Lawrence Stewart Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) is plagued by a physical oddity that turns him into a crazed werewolf after sundown. His desire to rid himself of this ailment leads him to the castle owned by mad scientist Dr. Frankenstein. Frankenstein, it turns out, is now dead, yet Talbot believes that the scientist's daughter, Baroness Elsa Frankenstein (Ilona Massey), can help him. However, his quest to right himself puts him on a collision course with Frankenstein's monster (Bela Lugosi).
  • The House of Frankenstein (1944)
    After escaping from prison, the evil Dr. Niemann (Boris Karloff) and his hunchbacked assistant, Daniel (J. Carrol Naish), plot their revenge against those who imprisoned them. For this, they recruit the powerful Wolf Man (Lon Chaney Jr.), Frankenstein's monster (Glenn Strange) and even Dracula himself (John Carradine). Niemann pursues those who wrong him, sending each monster out to do his dirty work. But his control on the monsters is weak at best and may prove to be his downfall.
  • House of Dracula (1945)
    This monster movie focuses on the iconic vampire, Count Dracula (John Carradine), and Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney), better known as the Wolf Man. Both beings of the night are tired of their supernatural afflictions, so they seek out Dr. Franz Edelmann (Onslow Stevens) for cures for their respective curses. While trying to aid the imposing creatures, Edelmann himself develops a transformative condition, adding to the many ghouls lurking around the foreboding landscape.
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
    In the first of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello's horror vehicles for Universal Pictures, the inimitable comic duo star as railway baggage handlers in northern Florida. When a pair of crates belonging to a house of horrors museum are mishandled by Wilbur (Lou Costello), the museum's director, Mr. MacDougal (Frank Ferguson), demands that they deliver them personally so that they can be inspected for insurance purposes, but Lou's friend Chick (Bud Abbott) has grave suspicions, after receiving a phone call from Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) warning him of their contents (Bela Lugosi and Glenn Strange).

Further crossovers, remake and reboots (1950s–present)[edit]

The Wolf Man
Directed by
Produced by
Screenplay by
Starring
Music by
Edited by
Production
companies
Distributed byUniversal Pictures
Release date
1941–1948; 2004; 2010–Present
Running time
366 + 234 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

In March 2006, Universal Pictures announced the remake of The Wolf Man with Puerto Rican actor Benicio del Toro, a huge fan of the original and collector of Wolf Man memorabilia, in the lead role, who was "cast for his resemblance to Lon Chaney, Jr., with his clouded, thick features and his air of suffering." Lawrence is depicted as an "Anglo-Indian, which explains his complexion, and the film notes that he was educated in America, to explain his accent."[1][2][3] Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker was attached to the screenplay, developing the original film's story to include additional characters as well as plot points that would take advantage of modern visual effects.[4] Del Toro also looked towards Werewolf of London and The Curse of the Werewolf for inspiration.[5]

In February 2007, director Mark Romanek was attached to helm The Wolfman.[4] Romanek's original vision was to "infuse a balance of cinema in a popcorn movie scenario", stating, "When there’s a certain amount of money involved, these things make studios and producers a little nervous. They don’t necessarily understand it or they feel that the balance will swing too far to something esoteric, and we could never come to an agreement on the right balance for that type of thing. Ultimately it made more sense for them to find a director that was gonna fulfill their idea of the film that they wanted, and we just sort of parted ways."[6]

In January 2008, Romanek left the project because of creative differences.[7] Brett Ratner emerged as a frontrunner to replace Romanek, but the studio also met with Frank Darabont, James Mangold and Joe Johnston. They were also interested in Bill Condon, and Martin Campbell was interested.[8] Johnston was hired to direct on 3 February 2008, and the film's shooting schedule and budget remained as intended.[9] Johnston hired David Self to rewrite the script.[10]

  • Van Helsing (2004)
    Famed monster slayer Gabriel Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) is dispatched to Transylvania to assist the last of the Valerious bloodline in defeating Count Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). Anna Valerious (Kate Beckinsale) reveals that Dracula has formed an unholy alliance with Dr. Frankenstein's monster (Shuler Hensley) and is hell-bent on exacting a centuries-old curse on her family. Together Anna and Van Helsing set out to destroy their common enemy, but uncover some unsettling secrets along the way.
  • The Wolfman (2010)
    Though absent from his ancestral home of Blackmoor for many years, aristocrat Lawrence Talbot (Benicio Del Toro) returns to find his missing brother at the request of the latter's fiancée, Gwen (Emily Blunt). He learns that a creature has links to an ancient curse turning people into werewolves when the moon is full. To save the village and protect Gwen, he must slay the bloodthirsty beast, but he contends with a horrifying family legacy.

In 2000, animated horror musical comedy film Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman was released, while in 2009, House of the Wolf Man was released, starring Ron Chaney, the grandson of Lon Chaney, Jr.. Universal's 2012 film Werewolf: The Beast Among Us was originally planned as a spin-off from the film but was ultimately unrelated. Universal announced that it would reboot their Universal Monsters properties as part of a shared cinematic universe, with Alex Kurtzman and Chris Morgan attached to develop the structure of the shared universe.[11] In November 2014, Universal hired Aaron Guzikowski to write the shared universe's reboot of The Wolf Man.[12][13] In June 2016, Deadline reported that Dwayne Johnson may star as the character.[14] In October 2016, it was reported that David Callaham was brought on board to re-write the script.[15]

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman (2000)
    In this animated adventure, chipmunk Alvin (Ross Bagdasarian Jr.) has werewolves on his mind. After being haunted by a creepy nightmare, he is convinced that his eerie next-door neighbor, Mr. Talbot (Maurice LaMarche), has a monstrous secret. As he and his brother Simon (also Bagdasarian) investigate, shy sibling Theodore (Janice Karman), who has been reluctantly cast in the school's production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, finds his inner monster after being attacked by a strange dog.
  • House of the Wolf Man (2009)
    Dr. Bela Reinhardt (Ron Chaney) is a mad doctor who has invited five people to his castle to determine which of them shall inherit his estate. He has arranged for a competition of sorts. The winner will be chosen by process of...elimination. The visitors quickly realize they have made a terrible mistake in accepting Reinhardt's invitation, but are trapped like rats in a cage under the watchful eye of Reinhardt's ghoulish manservant, Barlow (John McGarr). They soon discover the castle is full of terrifying monsters such as the Wolf Man (Billy Bussey), Frankenstein's monster (Craig Dabbs), and Dracula (Michael R. Thomas).

Feature films[edit]

Number Title Release date Director Continuity
1 The Wolf Man December 12, 1941 George Waggner Universal Classic Monsters
2 Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man March 5, 1943 Roy William Neill
3 The House of Frankenstein December 15, 1944 Erle C. Kenton
4 House of Dracula December 7, 1945
5 Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein June 15, 1948 Charles Barton
A Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman August 29, 2000 Kathi Castillo Stand-alone films
6 Van Helsing May 7, 2004 Stephen Sommers
B House of the Wolf Man October 1, 2009 Eben McGarr
7 The Wolfman January 27, 2010 Joe Johnston Remake

Cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character was not in the film.
  • A P indicates the character was shown in a photograph and/or mentioned.
  • A U indicates a uncredited role.
  • A V indicates a voice-only role.
  • A C indicates a cameo appearance.
  • A L indicates an appearance wherein an actor's facial features were digitally imprinted upon another actor's face.
  • A Y indicates an appearance as a younger version of a pre-existing character.
  • An A indicates an appearance through archival footage, audio or stills.
Character Universal Classic Monsters Stand-alone films Remake
The Wolf Man Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man The House of Frankenstein House of Dracula Abbott and Costello Meet
Frankenstein
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Meet the Wolfman
Van Helsing House of the Wolf Man The Wolfman
1941 1943 1944 1945 1948 2000 2004 2009 2010
Monsters
Lawrence Stewart Talbot
Larry, The Wolf Man

Velkan Valerious
Lon Chaney Jr. Maurice LaMarche
Frank WelkerV
Will Kemp Billy Bussey Benicio Del Toro
Frankenstein's Monster   Bela Lugosi
Eddie Parker & Gil Perkins
Glenn Strange Glenn Strange
Lon Chaney Jr.
Mentioned Shuler Hensley Craig Dabbs  
Count Vladislaus Dracula   John Carradine Bela Lugosi Richard Roxburgh Michael R. Thomas  
The Hunchback
Daniel / Nina / Igor / Barlow
  J. Carrol Naish Jane "Poni" Adams   Kevin J. O'Connor John McGarr  
Dr. Bela Reinhardt
The WereWolf
Bela Lugosi   Ron Chaney Rick Baker
Sir John Talbot
The Wolf Man
Claude Rains   Anthony Hopkins
Dr. Franzec "Franz" Edelmann   Don Barclay   Onslow Stevens  
Sir Geoffrey Radcliffe
The Invisible Man
  Vincent PriceUVC  
Theodore Seville
The WereWolf
  Janice Karman
Frank WelkerV
 
Gabriel Van Helsing   Hugh Jackman  
Verona
The First Bride of Dracula
  Silvia Colloca  
Aleera
The Second Bride of Dracula
  Elena Anaya  
Marishka
The Third Bride of Dracula
  Josie Maran  
Recurring Supporting Characters
Madame Maleva Raya
The Gypsy Fortune Teller
Maria Ouspenskaya   April Winchell   Geraldine Chaplin
Frank Andrews
Dr. Mannering
Inspector Francis Aberline
Patric Knowles   Hugo Weaving
Dr. Lloyd Warren William   Michael Cronin
Colonel Paul Montford Ralph Bellamy   Nicholas Day
Mayor
Inspector Arnz
Police Inspector Holtz
  Lionel Atwill  
Other Characters
Charles Conliffe J. M. Kerrigan  
Jenny Williams Fay Helm  
Twiddle Forrester Harvey  
Baroness Elsa Frankenstein   Ilona Massey  
Inspector Owen   Dennis Hoey  
Vazec   Rex Evans  
Rudi   Dwight Frye  
Guno   Harry Stubbs  
Dr. Mannering's Nurse   Doris Lloyd  
Dr. Gustav Niemann   Boris Karloff  
Ilonka   Elena Verdugo  
Rita Hussman   Anne Gwynne  
Karl Hussman   Peter Coe  
Bürgermeister Hussman   Sig Ruman  
Bruno Lampini   George Zucco  
Fejos   William Edmunds  
Tobermann   Charles F. Miller  
Müller   Philip Van Zandt  
Hertz   Julius Tannen  
Meier   Hans Herbert  
Born   Dick Dickinson  
Strauss   Michael Mark  
Milizia Morelle   Martha O'Driscoll  
Ziegfried   Ludwig Stössel  
Steinmuhl   Skelton Knaggs  
Villager   Harry LamontU  
Chick Young   Bud Abbott  
Wilbur Grey   Lou Costello  
Dr. Sandra Mornay   Lenore Aubert  
Joan Raymond   Jane Randolph  
Mr. McDougal   Frank Ferguson  
Professor Stevens   Charles Bradstreet  
Simon Seville   Ross Bagdasarian Jr.  
Alvin Seville    
Principal Milliken   Miriam Flynn  
Mr. Rochelle   Rob Paulsen  
Nathan   Elizabeth Daily  
Anna Valerious   Kate Beckinsale  
Carl   David Wenham  
Cardinal Jinette   Alun Armstrong  
Top Hat
The Grave Digger
  Tom Fisher  
Dr. Victor Frankenstein   Samuel West  
Reed Chapel   Dustin Fitzsimons  
Conrad Sullivan   Jeremie Loncka  
Mary Chapel   Sara Raftery  
Elmira Cray   Cheryl Rodes  
Archibald Whitlock   Jim Thalman  
Vadoma   Saba Moor-Doucette  
Singh   Art Malik
Dr. Hoenneger   Antony Sher
Constable Nye   David Schofield
Kirk   David Sterne
Ben Talbot   Simon Merrells
Solona Talbot   Cristina Contes
MacQueen   Clive Russell
Official Arm Thrower   Dave Tamarro
Reverend Fisk   Roger Frost
Elderly Man   Max von SydowC

Crew[edit]

Crew/detail Film
Universal Classic Monsters Stand-alone films Remake
The Wolf Man Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man The House of Frankenstein House of Dracula Abbott and Costello Meet
Frankenstein
Alvin and the Chipmunks
Meet the Wolfman
Van Helsing House of the Wolf Man The Wolfman
1941 1943 1944 1945 1948 2000 2004 2009 2010
Director(s) George Waggner Roy William Neill Erle C. Kenton Charles Barton Kathi Castillo Stephen Sommers Eben McGarr Joe Johnston
Producer(s) George Waggner Paul Malvern Robert Arthur Stephen Sommers
Bob Ducsay
Eden and John P. McGarr
Roland R. Rosenberg Jr.
David & Larry Sontag
Scott Stuber
Benicio del Toro
Rick Yorn & Sean Daniel
Writer(s) Curt Siodmak Edward T. Lowe Robert Lees, Frederic I. Rinaldo & Gertrude Purcell John Loy Stephen Sommers Eben McGarr Andrew Kevin Walker and David Self
Composer(s) Charles Previn, Hans J. Salter and Frank Skinner (uncredited) Hans J. Salter Hans J. Salter and Paul Dessau William Lava Frank Skinner Mark Watters Alan Silvestri Nate Scott Danny Elfman
Editor(s) Ted J. Kent Edward Curtiss Philip Cahn Russell F. Schoengarth Frank Gross Jay Bisxen Bob Ducsay & Kelly Matsumoto Cyrus Navarro Dennis Virkler, Walter Murch and Mark Goldblatt
Cinematographer Joseph Valentine, ASC George Robinson Charles Van Enger N/A Allen Daviau Royce A. Dudley Shelly Johnson
Production companies Universal Pictures Bagdasarian Productions
Universal Cartoon Studios
Tama Productions
Sommers Company
Stillking Films
My Way Pictures Relativity Media
Stuber Pictures
Distributor(s) Universal Studios Home Video Universal Pictures Taurus Entertainment Company Universal Pictures
Runtime 70 minutes 75 minutes 71 minutes 67 minutes 83 minutes 77 minutes 131 minutes 75 minutes 103 minutes
Release date December 12, 1941 March 5, 1943 December 15, 1944 December 7, 1945 June 15, 1948 August 29, 2000 May 7, 2004 October 1, 2009 January 27, 2010

Reception[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic
The Wolf Man 94% (35 reviews)[16] 72 (8 reviews)[17]
Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man 25% (12 reviews)[18] N/A
The House of Frankenstein 55% (11 reviews)[19] N/A
House of Dracula 56% (9 reviews)[20] N/A
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 89% (27 reviews)[21] N/A
Van Helsing 24% (226 reviews)[22] 35 (38 reviews)[23]
The Wolfman 34% (217 reviews)[24] 43 (36 reviews)[25]

Sequel novel series[edit]

  • In Jeff Rovin's 1998 novel Return of the Wolf Man it is revealed Talbot and Dracula had survived the fall they took at the end of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Talbot subsequently kills Charles Stevens and, upon reverting to human form, has Joan Raymond kill him and perform a specific burial so Talbot could never be revived. Talbot is inadvertently revived and befriends Raymond's niece Caroline Cooke, and Talbot turns his attention from being killed once and for all to stopping the also returning Dracula and Frankenstein's monster. In the end, Talbot, in his werewolf form, kills Dracula only to be beaten to death by Caroline with a silver candelabrum.
  • In Frank Dello Stritto's 2017 novel A Werewolf Remembers – The Testament of Lawrence Stewart Talbot, Talbot's diaries are discovered in a storage room in La Mirada, Florida (where Talbot was last seen in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). In the diaries, Talbot tells of his youth, his years of exile in America, the adventures recounted in his Universal films, and the return of his curse after his cure by Dr. Edelmann (in House of Dracula).

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Exclusive: Producer Talks Wolfman". Empire Online. 2008-03-21. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24. Retrieved 2020-11-21.
  2. ^ "Del Toro bites into 'Wolf Man'". Variety. 2006-03-14. Retrieved 2008-03-21.
  3. ^ von Busack, Richard (February 11, 2010). "The Wolfman". Movie Times. Retrieved February 17, 2010.
  4. ^ a b Borys Kit (2007-02-08). "Romanek stalks Del Toro 'Wolfman'". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2007-02-10. Retrieved 2007-02-08.
  5. ^ Rodrigo Perez. "Benicio Del Toro goes old school for 'Wolf Man,' declares no monster cameos". Retrieved 2008-12-18.
  6. ^ Chitwood, Adam (May 7, 2013). "Director Mark Romanek Talks One Hour Photo Blu-ray, His Vision for The Wolfman, Cinderella, His Desire to Work on a Larger Canvas, and More". Collider. Retrieved September 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-01-29). "Romanek drops out of 'Wolf Man'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-01-30.
  8. ^ Borys Kit (2008-02-01). "Ratner among 'Wolf' men". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on 2013-01-26. Retrieved 2008-02-01.
  9. ^ Michael Fleming (2008-02-04). "Johnston to direct 'Wolfman'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-04.
  10. ^ Diane Garrett (2008-02-21). "Hugo Weaving to pursue 'Wolfman'". Variety. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  11. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (July 16, 2014). "Universal Taps Alex Kurtzman, Chris Morgan To Relaunch Classic Movie Monster Franchises". Deadline.
  12. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 12, 2014). "Will Justin Lin Rev 'Fast & Furious' Finale?". Deadline.
  13. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (November 12, 2014). "Sony Confirms 'Dark Matter'; Universal Confirms Aaron Guzikowski To Write 'Wolfman'". Deadline.
  14. ^ Fleming, Mike Jr. (June 22, 2016). "Dwayne Johnson Sets Jay Longino Graphic Novel 'Son Of Shaolin' At Sony". Deadline.
  15. ^ Ford, Rebecca (October 13, 2016). "Universal Taps 'The Expendables' Writer to Pen 'The Wolf Man' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
  16. ^ "The Wolf Man (1941)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  17. ^ "The Wolf Man (1941) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020.
  18. ^ "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man (1943)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  19. ^ "House of Frankenstein (1944)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  20. ^ "House of Dracula (1945)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  21. ^ "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  22. ^ "Van Helsing (2004)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  23. ^ "Van Helsing (2004) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on November 5, 2019.
  24. ^ "The Wolfman (2010)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved March 28, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Wolfman (2010) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on December 28, 2018.