Saturday, June 6, 2009

Of wolf and man and women-a werewolf movie marathon




I loves me some werewolf films. And what better way to celebrate them then to have a movie marathon. So on the long Memorial Day weekend I sat down that Friday night to start a journey to man's inner beast.

The Werewolf of Washington

"I think your father is a cross between Abraham Lincoln and Jesus Christ."



What a strange slice of seventies cinema. Part Mad Magazine satire part horror movie. I have the Elvira, Mistress Of The Dark release of this on dvd and I don't think I can watch it alone so I watch it with the Elvira segments on, taken from her old show. Thank God for that. I need somebody else commenting on this madness.



The plot plays as sort of seventies version of The Wolf Man. White House press correspondent Jack Whittier (Dean Stockwell) has an affair with the President's daughter and in an effort to end it gets transfered to Budapest. While he's there the President requests Jack return to D.C.. On his way to the airport Jack runs afoul of a wolf and gets bitten. On his return to Washington Jack finds a change come over him as members of the political opposition begin turning up mauled to death.



I hope people in Washington aren't as frigging obtuse as the jokers in this film. The President himself is a oblivious buffoon, and his administration are all white, racist conservatives who want to blame the Black Panthers for the murders. Most of the film plays as a parody of Watergate. Hell Jack even walks by Watergate in a scene. Some of the comedy works and some...well I guess you just had to be there. I did enjoy the werewolf attacks and Dean Stockwell is good as the trouble Jack. Thank goodness for him because with out him the film would have really dragged in the non-werewolf scenes. But over all I liked the 70's vibe and a good way to start a werewolf marathon.

Big Bad Wolf

"Are you going to eat that?"



Richard Tyson plays Mitchell Toblat. A prize winning dick who also happens to be a werewolf. When he's not treating his wife and stepson like shit he's tearing up anybody who's unlucky enough to meet up with his alter ego. The first 20 minutes are about stepson Derek and his collage pals going up to Tolblat's cabin to do what collage kids always do in horror films. Have sex and get wasted and then get really wasted. Well werewolf Toblat shows up and rips apart everyone save for Derek and his tomboyish old chum Samantha. Once they get back the movie turns into Derek and Sam trying to prove what we already know. Is Mitchell a werewolf.



The werewolf effects aren't bad at all. He looks pretty decent. There's no decent transformation scene unfortunately. Just a passable CGI one. One of the things that make this werewolf a little different from the pack is that he talks. The bastard wisecracks like Freddy Kruger. His jokes are pretty much hit or miss. More then a few will have you groaning. But a few will put a smile on your face.



When the werewolf isn't tearing though the cast the movie lags a bit. The investigation is a bit of a bore because we're already a step or two ahead of Derek and Sam. We know he'd a werewolf. What saves the film are Richard Tyson's scenery chewing, lots of T&A, and some good gory kills. But by the end of the movie's brisk running time I really didn't love it or hate it it.

She-Wolf of London



Turn of the century London. Soon to be wed young heiress Phyllis Allenby (June Lockhart) is starting to fear that a legendary family curse is upon her. The Allenby Curse, supposedly responsible for her parents' deaths. Londoners are being maul to death in a nearby park and clues point to the Allenby Curse and Phyllis.



The film looks beautiful. The sets are up to the usual Universal stranded. And the actors are fine. Trouble with this one is that the mystery is easily solved in the first 10 minutes of the film. A conversation between to characters telegraphs the whole damn thing! I'm not spoiling anything when I say there's no She-Wolf. I just saved you a She-Wolf free hour. Ugh, moving on.



Never Cry Werewolf



Homage or rip-off? That's the question with this film. See there's a Stranger moving in next door to a teenage girl who suspects the new guy on the block maybe a supernatural creature. A werewolf. She witness him bring a prostitute home and kill her though her upstairs window. She calls the cops but after they search his house and find nothing they think the girl's a crank. So next she turns to a big game hunter with his own t.v. show. He turns out to be a not to brave actor. But after some trepidation he decides to help her. So the fake hunter and the girl team up for a final battle with the werewolf in his home.



Well if you said that it sounds more then a little bit like Fright Night you'd be right. The film plays a lot like a remake of Fright Night. Never Cry Werewolf is none too original that's for sure.

It's fun though. Everyone of the actors is into the film and having fun with it. Cute as hell Nina Dobrev (of “Degrassi: The Next Generation”) does a great job as the girl who knows something supernatural is going on. Peter Stebbings has a nicely creepy air to him as the werewolf next door. And Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo turns in a good performance as cowardly Redd Tucker the "Peter Vincent" of this movie.



Not very gory or explicit. But very watchable, Never Cry Werewolf overcomes it's unoriginal script and sometimes juvenile tone thanks to good performances and a general sense of fun.

Wolfman



Directed by television director Worth Keeter. This over long bore fest just does not seem to want to end ever though I really...really want it to. Please end...no? Ok.

This movie's plot has Colin Glasgow (Earl Owensby) returning to his family's estate after his father's mysterious demise. He and the reaming family get together to sort out who gets what. To bad Colin is going to get the family's curse. Turning into a werewolf. Good thing it's not a vampire curse or this movie's title would be all wrong.



I give Earl Owensby a lot of credit. This movie and others that he produced and starred in while not very good he got them made. A former tool salesman who wanted to make movies made his dream come true. Apparently, Owensby went to acting school with Elvis Presley. For some reason Owensby decides to play Colin with a Elvis like accent. EO Studios in North Carolina, Owensby's production company played host to many of the underwater scenes in James Cameron's The Abyss.



Bad Moon

"What did you do, spit in his Alpo?"



Now here's a decent little werewolf film. Photographer Ted (Michael Pare) after living abroad moves in with his sister (Mariel Hemingway)and her young son. Trouble is while he was away he was bitten by a werewolf and now likes to make chew toys out of people. Only family dog Thor knows that there's something rotten in Denmark. And Thor doesn't like another canine pissing in his territory. Thus begins a battle of wills between dog and man...well werewolf man.



There's only a few things in this one that bug me. That being it features a cute little kid who's a tad annoying. The other is Pare and Hemingway have to constantly reminded us that their brother and sister. I think he must have called her 'sis about a trillion times. I get it your related. On the plus side Steve Johnson's XFX, Inc. did a nice job on the werewolf. It's always nice to see non-CGI effects. The gore is pretty bloody. The attack scenes are staged for optimum effect.



I've had a soft spot for this one since I first read about it in Fangoria years and years ago. I still have the VHS of it around here somewhere. Not the biggest or best werewolf movie but it's a good one and gets the bloody job done.

Werewolves on Wheels

“Hey, Satan! Hey, Lucifer! We’re here, baby!”



The Devil's Advocates a biker gang prowl the desert highways looking for kicks. Adam (Stephen Oliver) and his women Helen (D.J. Anderson) and the mysterious Tarot (Duece Berry) are the key members of the gang. Tarot as his name implies specializes in reading cards. One such reading ends in an ominous warning for Helen. Shortly after the group stop outside a strange monastery. Monks appear and after a little drugged bread and wine the Advocates are out. A hypnotized Helen becomes the "Bride of Satan" and does a nude snake dance for the monks. The Devil's Advocates wake up and put the smackdown on the monks. But it's already too late their cursed now.



This film feels like one of those horror comics Marvel used to do in the 70's. there's a wild drive-in vibe in this baby. Although there's not much werewolf action till the end except for some shadowy night time attacks the film is still a blast and running a brisk 79 minutes, it never out lives it's welcome. My favorite character has to be the leader of the monks, known only to us as One (Severn Darden). He's tons of great lines during the crazy black mass. A satanic cult/werewolf/biker flick this is a strange one. Even though by the time the ending comes round things have taken a turn for the surreal. and the ending makes zero sense. There is a werewolf on a motorcycle so that alone makes it worth it.




Werewolf: The Devil's Hound



Now this film was like crack addict on LSD. Holy shit not only do we get a film the goes from horror to camp in 60 seconds. But to say this film is over directed is not doing it justice. The filmmakers must have feared they'd never make another film because they crammed every camera, lighting, and editing trick they ever learned into it. The movie screams look at me I'm stylish. It's like an episode of CSI with all the boring human stuff taken out, leaving only the insert shots. And despite this the movie still manages drags in spots.



So a Yeti...I mean a female werewolf who goes goth in human form comes to the U.S. looking to mate. She ends up at a special effects studio and sets her sights on the owner's son. So after some crap happens like a few werewolf attacks and a bunch of talking. Some werewolf hunters so up. One of them, Kwan. I think is supposed to be a Nazi. A slapstick one at that. They fight the she-wolf, people die and then a UFO shows up! The end. Really? Sure. Why not.



The Wolf Man

"Go now - and heaven help you!"



Well after the last crap fest it was time for the classic. Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi, my two favorite Universal actors together briefly in this one. A very un British Larry Talbot (Lon Chaney, Jr.) returns to the Talbot Estate in Wales. He left home years earlier to make it on his own. His father (Claude Rains) his happy to see his son return as Larry's older brother has died recently. Soon after his return Larry meets Gwen Conliff (Evelyn Ankers). He convinces her to go with him to a traveling gypsy camp. Gwen's friend Jenny tags along and gets killed by Bela who's werewolf. Larry kills him with his sliver cane but gets injured in the struggle. Soon Larry is turning into a werewolf and stalking those foggy Universal sets at night.



A classic in every sense. The more I watch this one the more I come to appreciate the acting in the film by the main four stars. Especially Rains struggles with his sons precived mental problems. The horror and sadness that he conveys with his face alone at the end are amazing. This is one of the great monster films and a it's classic Greek tragedy structure adds to the film's impact.



Ginger Snaps Back: The Beginning

"These people are fucked."



This is my second time watching this film and it's starting to grow on me more and more. I like it almost as much as the first two. Any time Emily Perkins and Katharine Isabelle are together in anything I'm there. Not sure if this is supposed to be a direct prequel or some sort of alternate universe. Either way you look at it the film looks beautiful. The snow swept landscape ensconced in fog is both beautiful and foreboding. Both actress are in top form. By now they have these characters down and appearer to be having fun with the slight twists the new setting affords them. The last stand against the werewolf army is nicely done for the small budget they most likely had for this film. The last haunting image come close to rivaling the one from the first movie. Even though this did poorly when it came out (Which is a damn shame). I'd love to see a Ginger Snaps 4



Set in 19th century Canada. Sisters, Brigitte and Ginger take refuge at an all but abandoned Trading post. Only a handful of men remain. They have lost most of their comrades too the werewolf who prowl the surrounding forest. The men are barely keeping it together. Totally cut off from any outside help and at each others throats. The arrival of the two girls doesn't help matters. The sisters debate if its safer in the post with these men or outside in the woods. Unfortunately Ginger gets bitten by a werewolf and soon the girls are fighting to hide Ginger's worsting condition.



Scream of the Wolf (1974)



Some sort of beast is ripping apart people. The police turn to author and big game hunter John Wetherby (Peter Graves) for help. When the evidence doesn't add up. Animal tracks that become human footprints. Wetherby turns to old pal and eccentric big game hunter Byron Douglas (Clint Walker). Who refuses to help, since he's about to leave the country to go on a big hunt. As the bodies pile up Wetherby begins to suspect that there may be a werewolf roaming the foggy (Isn't it always) woods.



This ones got a triple threat of talent behind the camera. Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows,The Night Stalker) directed it. Richard Matheson (I Am Legend,Trilogy of Terror) wrote the teleplay. And Michael Westmore (Tons of Star Trek) did the makeup.
If you grew up watching stuff like this on tv growing up like I did you'll dig this cool little made for television movie. It's got one of the most groovy soundtracks I've heard in awhile. The attacks are nicely staged with a roaming POV reminiscent of the Evil Dead films. The only thing holding this one back from greatness is a twist ending that when it happens is both predictable and shits on the other 70 minutes of film you just enjoyed. Recommend though if your a fan of 70's television horror.



Well I was sad to see it end Monday night. But I had a good run of werewolf antics. Plus I have a ton that I didn't even get too. It was so much fun I can't wait to have a second one sometime in the future. Till then...

2 comments:

Carl (ILHM) said...

Awesome list here, I am a werewolf fan through and through, and there are plenty of favorites on here. Very happy you showed Werewolves on Wheels some love, and that last statement is 100% correct, werewolf + motorcycle = must see. Bad Moon will always be a favorite too, not a great film but that werewolf is EXACTLY what I envision a werewolf to look like

Professor Brian O'Blivion said...

Thanks. I was surprised when looking at some of the werewolf movies I have. When I was growing up there seemed to be only a few werewolf movies and now days there's so many to choose from and a lot of them are good or really great. Like in the case of the Ginger Snaps films.

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