The Wolf Man (1941)|
Directed by George Waggner
An early Hollywood innovation which subsequently became incorporated into later "folklore", the pentagram is used in this film as the sign of the werewolf. When Bela Lugosi pushes back his hair the outline of a five-pointed star can be seen on his forehead. Claude Rains later opens an encyclopaedia to discover:
LYCANTHROPY (Werewolfism). A disease of the mind in which human beings imagine they are wolf-men. According to an old LEGEND which persists in certain localities, the victims actually assume the physical characteristics of the animal. There is a small village near TALBOT CASTLE which still claims to have had gruesome experiences with this supernatural creature.
The sign of the Werewolf is a five-pointed star, a pentagram, enclosing a....
Lon Chaney Jr. learns that those with the special ability can identify a werewolfs next victim by a pentagram that appears on the palm of his or her hand. All of this is an invention of the scriptwriter and plays no part in traditional folklore. It should also be noted that although constant reference is made to pentagrams, the depictions are all of outlines of obtuse-angled five-pointed stars. Reference to the pentagram is also made in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.
The Wolf Man. Lon Chaney Jr., Claude Rains, Maria Ouspenskaya, Bela Lugosi. Directed by George Waggner. 1941. 70 min.. b&w.