Despite many efforts to revitalize the werewolf movie, this Hammer effort is second only to the 1941 classic, THE WOLF MAN. The product of the brutal rape of a deaf-mute servant girl by a snarling mad beggar, young Walters is adopted by a kindly professor and his wife. As the boy grows older, however, his murderous tendencies emerge and his parents are forced to put bars on the windows in his room and lock him there when the moon is full. As an adult, the werewolf (now played by Oliver Reed) falls in love with Feller, who somehow mollifies his animal instincts. Fearing that he will harm her, Reed has himself sent to a monastery, but the chains binding him there are not enough to prevent him from escaping and eloping with his beloved. Feller's aristocratic father catches them and sees to it that Reed is imprisoned, but the moon is full and the werewolf escapes again. Although some may find the film rather slow-paced--almost half its running time is devoted to the werewolf's conception--THE CURSE OF THE WEREWOLF is a fascinating horror film that grounds its terror in a firm social and historical context. Director Terence Fisher once again takes the genre in a new direction, creating a richly detailed film that finds more horror in the tyranny of aristocratic rule than in the tragedy of its victim/monster. Reed is excellent as the sympathetic Leon, and makeup artist Roy Ashton gives the werewolf a very distinctive look.