Even though it was among the many classic creatures brutally mauled by Van Helsing, there’s still some life in one of the Universal monsters — the Wolf Man probably suffered the least embarrassment at the hands of Stephen Sommers, and the hirsute horror is now transforming into a solo feature.

Benicio Del Toro will explore the duality of man as the lycanthropic lead in the new version of the Lon Chaney Jr. B-classic The Wolf Man, which is somehow resisting the usual update urge to contemporize the story. The remake will again be set in some vaguely Victorian English/Euro hybrid village and follows a guy who returns to his family’s castle, meets a local babe, gets bitten by a wolf, and turns into a shaggy savage when the moon is full.

The new hairy tale will also add more characters and different twists courtesy of writer Andrew Kevin Walker (Sleepy Hollow, Seven), and will obviously take advantage of 21st century visual effects and makeup (though it remains to be seen if they can outdo the standard set by Rick Baker in American Werewolf in London). Del Toro, currently liberating Cuba in Steven Soderbergh’s Che Guevara biopic, is apparently a longtime collector of Wolf Man memorabilia (but then, we also heard how Sommers admired the Universal monster catalog, which he “honored” with an utter abomination). The plan is to get The Wolf Man ready to roam in summer 2008.