Hammer‘s stab at the werewolf legend may look tame compared to later computerised transformations, but this was shocking stuff in its day, and much horrid imagery (such as a shot of a dead goat) was censored.
Today the scenes with villagers muttering in the inn look like parody and everything is so brightly lit there’s not much atmosphere.
There’s also a long prologue that has little to do with the story of poor, cursed Leon (Oliver Reed), who goes on a killing spree every full moon.
When Reed does appear, however, he gives a riveting performance as Leon, the illegitimate offspring of a beautiful mute girl and an animal-like creature, who begins to suffer nightmares as he grows relating to becoming a werewolf.
At the same time, some sheep are found slaughtered near the village.
It seems that love can cure Leon’s curse, but when as a grown man he falls in love with his employer’s daughter who cannot return his love since she is already betrothed, there is nothing to save Leon from the approaching full moon.