After seeing both the 1941 and 2010 version of The Wolfman, I just had to write this down. While I liked the new Wolfman immensely in terms keeping to the original and special effects, I felt that it as slightly weak in spots. So I buffed it up with some of my own elements and elements from '41 version. Also, I just got the 2-disc Unrated Edition of the Wolfman in Blu-Ray format. And I must say that the additional 17 minutes of footage it adds, plus the other features, really re-round out the film as a whole in terms of story.
Universal Studios and any other company (ies) and people owns/own both the 1941 and 2010 version of The Wolfman. All of the original characters and plot lines are not my own, save for my own changes.
The film starts off with the original rhyme as told by Maleva:
Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.
It then cuts to Ben Talbot in the Blackmoor woods of Blackmoor, England in 1891, armed with dual revolvers, a repeater rifle, and a lantern. Through flashbacks, it is revealed that in order to calm tensions between the local villagers and the recently-arrived neighboring gypsies, and to satisfy his lifelong curiosity about the supernatural and mythical, Ben would act as the middleman, negotiator, and translator. During his time with the gypsies, Ben became close friends with Maleva and her son Bela. He learns many of the gypsies' beliefs and customs through daily lessons between both Maleva and Bela, which intrigue him greatly. Despite the contempt and scorn he receives from certain gypsies and villagers, he maintains a high reputation among both groups due to his rational nature and knowledge of gypsy customs and traditions. Due to increased tensions between his and his father over past few years, he tells him that he and his fiancée intend to move away from Blackmoor forever and connect with his younger brother in America in hopes of starting a new life. He then leaves to make preparations, but not before his father gives him an ominus warning. 5 days later and a few hours eariler, when Ben was to learn about werewolfism from Bela and Maleva, a group of xenophobic, armed villagers barged into the camp, in hopes of forcing the gypsies to leave. Bela goes out, backed by several armed gypsies, to try and reason with the villagers, but to no avail. The commotion attracts Ben and he goes out to try and diffuse the situation. Tensions rise and just as things reach the breaking point, an unknown creature attacks the gypsy encampment. It slaughters half of the gypsy camp population and the entire party from the village, leaving large amounts of blood and body parts everywhere. Ben, after taking several shots at the creature with the fallen villagers' weapons, manages to get away safely and move Bela, Maleva, and the rest of the gypsy camp to a safer location. He then proceeds to stock up on weapons and head off into the forest to find the creature. Back in the present, Ben is suddenly ambushed by the unknown creature, which slashes his face and then guts him swiftly and viciously. Ben runs off in the direction of the gypsies in hopes of finding safety while shooting back, but the creature manages to pounce him before he reaches them and drags him, kicking and screaming, back into the surrounding forest.
World-renowned American Shakespearian theater actor Lawrence Talbot, Ben's younger brother, is notified of the events in the middle of a performance of Hamlet in London by Gwen Conliffe, Ben's fiancée and an antique-shop owner in London. He initially refuses to help due his estrangement from Ben and his father, but eventually changes his mind and catches the next train to Blackmoor. While on the way, he meets a gentlemen with a cane that has silver wolf as its head, which also doubles as a sword. When the train arrives in Blackmoor, Lawrence finds the man gone, but his cane left behind. He proceeds to help himself to it. Upon arriving on the Talbot estate, Sir John Talbot, Ben and Lawrence's eccentric and distant father, welcomes him and allows him to see Ben's body, which was found thoroughly mangled and torn apart in a ditch on the outskirts of Talbot manor. He is also met by Gwen and Jenny, Gwen's longtime friend and co-owner of the antique shop.
While collecting Ben's possessions from his mangled body, he finds a mysterious medallion with his brother's belongings, and is told from the villagers in the local bar that it came from the nearby gypsy camp, to which Ben acted as the town's liaison. He travels there, much to his father's annoyance and concern, on a full moon. Jenny goes along, because, as she claims, the Talbot manor scares her greatly and she is uncomfortable in the presence of Sir John. Gwen stays behind to help look after things. He arrives at the camp and is told that the item is from Maleva and Bela.
When he and Jenny go to see her and question the pair about Ben's dealings with the gypsies, Maleva is at first hesitant, but, after some persuasion by Bela, who sees Lawrence as a potential friend due to him being Ben's brother, relents and tells him about Ben's time with the gypsies. Maleva warns him of great danger, but before Lawrence can find out about what danger he faces, a new group of villagers raids the camp. They plan on killing the bear the gypsies brought with them, thinking that it is responsible for the murders around and in Blackmoor, despite pleas from the local police. Without warning, the unknown creature, now confirmed to be a werewolf, from before turns up at the camp and kills and maims most of the villagers and the almost all of the remaining gypsies. When Jenny sees the werewolf try to make a go at a young gypsy boy, she grabs the boy and runs off into the Blackmoor woods, along with the mother, with the werewolf in pursuit. Lawrence rushes after them and tries to save them, but they are ambushed by the werewolf and butchered violently. Lawrence attacks the werewolf in a fit of rage and panic, but is tossed aside and bitten on the neck. The gypsies scare it off and manage to close up the wound. Despite pleas by the remaining gypsies to end his life, Maleva and Bela refuse to do so, with Bela making a promise to watch over Lawrence, and he is taken back to Talbot manor, where he is tended to by Gwen and his father.
Lawrence heals at an unnatural rate and finds the wound no more than just a faded scar. Due to frequent nightmares, he explores his house at night to calm himself and he remembers, as a young child, walking outside one night and finding his father cradling and weeping over his dead mother, Solana Talbot, a former gypsy. It was apparent that she had slit her own throat with a straight razor. Due to the trauma of the incident, young Lawrence broke down completely and was sent to a mental institution in London by his father. Shortly thereafter, he was sent to live with his aunt in America, where he took up acting and made a suitable forture due to his talent and connections. While Gwen tends to Lawrence, she shares with him her semi-beliefs in the mythical and supernatural and how she fears that her religious devotion to God may not be enough to conquer the supernatural unknown. While he is recuperating, Lawrence begins to have violent, lustful thoughts and fantasies about Gwen, but restains himself out of fear and love for her. He requests that Gwen leave Blackmoor after the funeral for her own safety, with which she reluctantly complies. Shortly after he is healed and following the funeral, Inspector Francis Aberline of Scotland Yard, formerly in charge of a manhunt of and the investigation of Jack the Ripper, arrives and questions Lawrence due to his recent arrival in Blackmoor and his previous mental instability. Despite their admiration of each others' skills, both are suspicious of each other and the meeting ends with Aberline departing. Soon after, the local priests, backed by armed villagers of a strong religious disposition, arrive to take Lawrence away and kill him because he "bears the mark of the beast", but his father and Bela, who has recently been supervising the estate with the permission of Sir John, along with Singh, manage to drive them off. When Lawrence questions his father about the possible motives for such an action, Sir John declines to answer and cautions him about finding out the truth.
Many nights after, on a full moon, Lawrence sees his father, shortly after giving Bela the night off, walking out to the family crypt and becomes suspicious. He follows and finds a cell containing his father, special restraining equipment, and a shrine dedicated to his mother. Following a brief conversation concerning his relationship with Lawrence's mother, Sir John then locks himself in the cell with Lawrence outside, just as his son begins to painfully transform into a werewolf. Elsewhere, a determined Aberline plans to spend the evening at the local tavern to wait for the suspect's attack while the villagers set up a trap for the wolf-man. Lawrence, now fully changed and violent, alerts everyone to his presence by howling at the moon for the first time. He then proceeds to brutally attack and kill all of the villagers that set the trap. Aberline stumbles upon the horrific aftermath soon after, but suspects that Lawrence is responsible when he finds a bloodied, torn piece of Lawrence's shirt.
When he changes back, on the outskirts of Talbot manor, Lawrence is greeted by his father and is told that he has done "terrible things". After unsuccessfully trying to flee the manor, he is immediately arrested by the police and Aberline and is taken to the mental institution his father sent him to as a child. As Lawrence is taken away, Sir John quietly says to himself and to his son, "Be strong, Lawrence. Be strong."
He is tortured extensively via ice water treatments and electrotherapy by Dr. Hoenneger – the doctor who treated Lawrence when he first came to the asylum as a young child. He eventually awakens in his cell, with his father as a vistor. Sir John explains that the institution had convinced Lawrence that his mother killed herself, but what he really saw was his father as a werewolf, who had killed his mother. During a hunting expedition with friends in the Hindu Kush Mountains of India, Sir John was bitten by a feral wolf-boy while exploring a mountain cave. For the past 25 years, Singh, the family's Indian manservant, has locked and restrained him in the crypt to prevent him slaughtering innocents, but one night, in a jealous drunken rage, (as Sir John confesses that he became attracted to and obsessed with Gwen when Ben announced that he would be leaving Talbot manor forever with Gwen to join his brother in America, 5 days before Ben was killed) he forgot to lock himself in, resulting in Ben's death at his hands. Sir John also explains that at first, he tried to resist the power of the transformation and the bloodlust that followed, but, eventually, he gave in, claiming that it is better to "let the beast run free than to keep it caged inside forever. Caging something for so long can drive a man mad". He also claims it's what drove his undying obsession with Gwen.
It is also confirmed that it was Sir John who bit Lawrence. With these revelations, Lawrence goes into a passionate rage, vowing to kill him when he frees himself. Later that night, which also happens to be a night when the moon is full, Lawrence, fully bound and restrained in a modified wheelchair, is taken to a criminal court, where a judge, jury, doctors, scientists, and scholars will try to prove to Talbot that, as the full moon comes out, there are no werewolves, and then try him for his crimes. Gwen, Bela, Dr. Hoenneger and Aberline are also in attendance. But he does transform in front of everyone and kills most of those in attendance, along with most of the building's staff and Dr. Hoenneger. He then rampages across London the whole night, resulting in mass causalities. Aberline and his men desperately try in vain to stop him, with Gwen and Bela in pursuit, until dawn. By now, Lawrence has managed to hide out in Gwen's shop. Gwen and Bella find him, but promise to keep him safe. After Lawrence gives explanations for the past events, he and Gwen confirm their love for each other and then he and Bela make plans to deal with Aberline and Sir John. Meanwhile, Aberline orders his men, now all armed with silver bullets, revolvers, and repeating rifles, to kill Lawrence on sight, who is now traveling back to Blackmoor, in secret, to kill Sir John. While Aberline and his men make final preparations, Bela and Gwen locate Maleva and question her about a cure for Lawrence's condition, but Maleva tells that there is no cure except death by silver.
Lawrence arrives at Talbot Manor, on the night of a full moon no less, to find Singh gutted and impaled on a post. He then proceeds to arm himself with the manservant's elephant gun and silver bullets and finds one of Aberline's men dead in Sir John's armchair and Sir John himself, calmly playing the piano. After Sir John beats Lawrence viciously with his silver-topped cane, after revealing that he removed the powder from all the silver bullets over the years, both change and fight throughout the entire manor. While Sir John has the upper hand in terms of experience and power, Lawrence counters with his youth and his vicious need for revenge. Gwen, Bela and Aberline arrive just as the fight moves back into the drawing room. By now, Talbot manor is completely ablaze due to knocked over lamps and logs from the fireplace. Aberline tries to shoot Lawrence, but Gwen and Bela push aside and restrain him. Seeing the three, Sir John tries to kill them, but Lawrence pushes him into the fireplace, resulting in massive burns on Sir John's body, forcing him to flee. By now, Aberline has shaken off Bela and Gwen and tries to shoot the Wolfman, but he is tackled by him before he can aim. When he is tackled, he pulls the trigger in a panic as the gun swings to the side, which results in the accidental death of Bela. Lawrence then proceeds to dismember Aberline's legs and then chases after Gwen when she flees. Once cornered deep in the moor, she tries to convince the Wolfman to stop while holding him at gunpoint with a revolver with silver bullets from one of Aberline's men, but to no avail. He pounces on her before she can fire and bites her on the neck as she tries to get away. Before anymore damage is done, the Wolfman is scared off by Aberline's men, who then proceed to take both Aberline and Gwen to the nearest hospital in a pair of wagons with guards.
However, during the journey, Gwen's bite mark suddenly heals and she too transforms into a werewolf, killing off all of Aberline's men, but leaving Aberline alive. The reason for Gwen's faster transformation is due to the fact that the female is sometimes stronger than the male, mentally and physically, in some instances – thus allowing for faster and more transference of power. She then proceeds to flee into the Blackmoor woods.
4 months pass. Talbot manor is quarantined and manned by the London police and the local Blackmoor population, on the chance that the Talbots and Gwen should return. Aberline, eventually found and taken to a hospital, is given rudimentary prosthetic legs and is now completely hell-bent on killing the werewolves in order to prevent more loss of life, which greatly encouraged by all of Blackmoor and English law enforcement. Sir John has gone into hiding as a reclusive money lender in Newcastle Upon Tyne, distraught and broken over the betrayal of his son and the loss of his estate. Lawrence is on the move throughout the British Isles, staying only at taverns, inns, and hotels, keeping a low profile, in order to protect those around him while feverishly studying the occult and supernatural in order to find a cure for his condition. When he transforms, he uses what little control he has over the beast to keep if from killing more people. Gwen, driven by a subconscious desire to mate with Lawrence in his wolf-form and a consciousness need to protect him, closes up her shop, packs moderately, and leaves a notice saying that she is going on an indefinite vacation. By now all of England, Ireland, and Scotland have heard of the Wolfman's exploits and are on the hunt for him and all those associated with him.
Things eventually culminate in the highlands of Scotland. A tired Aberline and his men receive a tip from some Scottish locals in a tavern near Loch Long, who have seen Talbot near the lake. Meanwhile, while in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Gwen discovers her wolf-form's sense of smell while in human form. Using this, she travels to Scotland to find Lawrence. However, unbeknownst to her, she is spotted by Sir John, who secretly follows her. Lawrence, hiding in the wood near Loch Long, depressed, exhausted, and dirty, is grieving deeply for all the people he has killed and harmed. He makes a vow to stay away from Gwen until he has killed has father and cured his condition.
On the night of a full moon, Gwen and a disguised Sir John arrive at the tavern where Aberline and his men are staying. Just as Aberline comes down for a drink, Gwen notices Sir John through his disguise, then Aberline, and quickly leaves. This is not unnoticed by the pair of men and they follow, with Sir John silently following Aberline. Aberline's men, noticing that he has vanished from the tavern, arm themselves, alert the locals, and start to search for him.
As the moon starts to make itself visible among the clouds, Gwen disappears close the woods. Aberline, determined not to lose her, quickly goes in after her and just as quickly becomes lost, just as all three victims transform under the full moon. Gwen, using her wolf-form's senses, manages to find Lawrence near the north end of the Loch. Suddenly, without warning, Gwen is viciously assaulted by Sir John, who tracked her, and attempts to rape her. Lawrence instantly goes to her defense, tangling with Sir John in a bloody battle across the entire coast of the Loch. This results in the death of most the local villagers and almost all of Aberline's men. Eventually, when Sir John has thoroughly beaten Lawrence and is about to finish him off, Gwen intervenes and literally eats his heart out. She then proceeds to chew his head off and toss it into the lake, along with the rest of his body. With Sir John dead and in a secluded spot near the western edge of the Loch, the pair engages in rough, passionate love making. Just as the passion culminates, Aberline and the remaining men, having recuperated, quickly converge on the secluded spot and fire upon Gwen and Lawrence in disgust, fear, and rage. As the pair the take their last breaths and transform back to the natural states, the film cuts to the full moon, just as it is completely covered up by a large passing cloud.
In the final shots of the film, Maleva, Aberline, and the few funeral goers in attendance bury the bodies of Bela, Gwen, Lawrence, Singh and Sir John in the Talbot crypt. As everyone departs, Maleva deposits 4 silver medallions, engraved with wolves, on the graves, to protect their souls against any supernatural evil. As she does this, she laments how this all came to be. Aberline, severely shaken up by the preceding events, makes a feverish promise to keep London safe from the occult and supernatural and offers to become Maleva's apprentice in order to keep it. She accepts his offer, but warns him that certain sacrifices and total commitment will be required. He humbly accepts and they both depart. Later that night, just as the full moon becomes visible, a lone wolf meanders among the graves, looks up at the moon, and lets loose a long, somber howl.