Sunday, September 12, 2010

Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory (1962)

Also known as Lycanthropus, this 1962 Italian horror film seems to have a cult following all its own. Basically the premise is a killer is on the loose in a reform school for girls and it could be a werewolf. A newly arrived teacher, Dr. Julian Olcott (played by the dashing Carl Schell), tries to help piece together the mystery with help of a student named Priscilla (played by the luscious Barbara Lass). The movie to me feels more like Mr. Hyde is on the loose than a werewolf. Because well the werewolf is just a man with long teeth, cakey skin and messed up hair. Okay he snarls, so he’s all thatand grumpy too. Not to mention he wears white running shoes when chasing girls through the woods. Another thing that is weird about this movie is that their idea of “bad girls” are women having really bad hair days dressed in bulky denim shirts and skirtys. Oooo! They are so bad. The best part about the film is Barbara Lass who plays her character as a little smarter than your average Italian B-movie damsel. She is quick, smart and desires to solve the mystery more than anyone else in the movie. She’s also quite beautiful and well she is probably the best actor in the movie.

Barbara’s biggest claim to fame was she was married to director Roman Polanski from 1959 to 1962 and she starred in two of his short films. They divorced when she was 22 and she starred in this film. But probably her biggest role was as the lead character in the Polish film, Jovita, where she played a seductress who drives a young suitor crazy. It was purely existential film. Barbara died tragically in 1995 after she collapsed at a concert. She was only 55. She made nearly 30 films. Another thing that is enjoyable about Werewolf in a Girl’s Dormitory is the film’s twist ending. Who the werewolf actually is and why is quite interesting. The revelation is cool but then it just gets completely ridiculous. Oh if you ever find this film on DVD check out the trailer because the film’s theme song is hysterical, it’s called “The Ghoul in the School” and sounds like a 50s Happy Days song.

So Says the Soothsayer

84 MIN

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