(1964, GB, 102 mins) Dir John Gilling. Cast Noel Willman, Eithne Dunne, Colin Blakely, Harry Towb.
In darkest Cornwall at the turn of the last century returns Doctor James Walker from his latest South American expedition, eagerly awaited by his wife. She suspects that something has changed in him since he’s been away and despite her protestations her haggard husband now spends all his time in his study with his expedition’s spoils, the centrepiece of which is his favourite, a gold statue of a jaguar . Before you can say ‘cursed idol’ the local villagers are being savaged by an unknown beast. Thankfully a renowned hunter of big game in Africa is holidaying nearby and is enlisted by the villagers to hunt down the beast which he, of course, spies as being a Jaguar. Mrs Walker suspects that her reclusive husband with his South American connection has some part to play in this but is compelled to protect him, thus setting the stage for an emotional finale. Despite the inevitability of it all this is a handsome and stately entry to the Hammer canon, shot atmospherically on location.