A beggar stumbles upon a Marques’ wedding and ends up insulting the evil nobleman who throws the beggar into the dungeon. 15 years pass by and the beggar has been largely forgotten in the cells. His only visitors is a mute servant girl and his jailer. When the servant girl refuses the Marques’ advances, she’s thrown into the same cell as the beggar as punishment. The beggar, now savage and mad, rapes the poor girl and dies. The servant girl is released the next day and promptly murders the Marque and flees into the woods where she’s found by kindly Don Alfredo Corledo (Clifford Evans) who helps nurse the girl until she dies giving birth to boy on Christmas Day.
As the boy grows up it’s discovered that he has evil animalistic side that comes out. A priest is called in and states that because of his evil birth a demon has invaded his soul and only love can keep it in check. Because of the boy’s loving adopted parents he grows up without much incident.
The boy, Leon, becomes a young man (Oliver Reed) who gets a job working at a vineyard and falls in love with his boss’ daughter Christina (Catherine Feller). Distraught that they can never be together Leon allows a friend to take him to a brothel where he changes into a werewolf/wolf man and kills a prostitute and his friend. Realizing what he is and that he needs Christina to keep himself in check he tries to leave town with her before things get worse. Naturally things get worse.
The censors had a field day with this movie back in 1960. Rape, murders, prostitutes were all little much for the British censors. The cuts to the movie were even worse when the film got released in the States. Fortunately the film was restored a few years ago all the cuts were reinserted back into the movie. The movie is excellent and they hold off showing the werewolf until near the end of the movie. Sadly it didn’t seem to be a big hit for Hammer as the studio wouldn’t make another werewolf movie for the rest of its film making days.