A man kills a wolf that attacked a woman; but bit by the werewolf, he becomes one himself.
Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.) returns home to Talbot castle and is welcomed by his father John Talbot (Claude Rains) after eighteen years. Larry sets up a telescope and sees Gwen (Evelyn Ankers) in town. Larry goes to her store and buys a cane with a silver wolf-head as she tells him about werewolves. Gypsies arrive in town. Larry calls on Gwen at eight, and Jenny goes with them to fortune-teller Bela (Bela Lugosi). Gwen tells Larry she is engaged. Bela sees the pentagram sign and tells Jenny to go. She cries, and Larry tries to rescue her from a wolf and is bit. Gwen asks Maleva (Maria Ouspenskaya) to help Larry, and she takes them to John. Jenny is found murdered, and constable Paul Montford (Ralph Bellamy) investigates with Dr. Lloyd (Warren William) and Twiddle. Bela is found dead nearby with a crushed skull by Larry's cane. Montford and Dr. Lloyd come to Larry, who says he killed a wolf with his cane; but Larry finds his bite healed up. Larry follows the coffin and overhears Maleva. Gwen's father defends her from accusations by Jenny's mother. Larry tells Gwen what happened. Frank Andrews (Patric Knowles) is her fiancé, meets Larry, and tells her to be careful.
At the gypsy carnival Gwen and Frank see Larry fail to shoot a wolf target. Maleva tells Larry he killed Bela and will become a werewolf from the bite unless he wears a pentagram she gives him. Larry gives it to Gwen to protect her from him. Gypsies leave because of the werewolf. At home Larry takes off his shoes, and his feet become hairy and change. The wolfman attacks the gravedigger. Montford and Dr. Lloyd find a severed jugular and wolf tracks that lead to Larry's room. Larry wakes up and sees the tracks. Larry asks his father about werewolves, and he says it is psychological. They go to church, but Larry walks out.
Larry tells Montford, Dr. Lloyd, Frank, and his father that the wolf is a werewolf. Dr. Lloyd tells John that Larry is sick and should leave. Frank and Montford set traps, and the wolfman steps in one. Maleva finds him and casts a spell that changes him back to Larry. He gets out of the traps and is seen. Larry goes to Gwen and says he is going away because he killed two men. He sees the sign in her hand and runs out. Larry explains it to John, who won't let him go and ties him to a chair; but Larry has John take the cane. John finds Maleva and looks for Larry. Maleva tells Gwen to stay with her; but the wolfman attacks Gwen. John hits him with the cane until he is dead. Maleva prays as the wolfman changes back to Larry while John watches.
This horror fantasy weaves a web of superstition backed
up by dramatic action that symbolizes the animal nature within
humans that was currently oppressing Europe and Asia in human
form as war and tyranny.