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Wednesday, October 27, 2010


NOTE: this piece originally ran on Halloween in 2007, but has once more been dusted off for any newcomers to this here site and slightly revised to add a couple of movies I've seen since it was first posted.

If you're a fan of horror movies you probably have a favorite monster genre that floats your boat, a particular flavor for which you'd be willing to sit through innumerable pieces of outright shit in order to find one halfway decent flick. For many it's vampires and their seductive allure, for others it's the gustatory frisson found in tales of flesh-eating zombies, and still others groove on the slaughterhouse rampages of bogeymen like Jason Voorhees and Michael Meyers. But for Yer Bunche, it's all about the werewolves, baby.

What is it that so appeals to me about the lusty lycanthrope? Shit, I think I just answered my own question: the werewolf is a creature of the basest, most primal lusts — the lust for killing, the lust for sex, the lust to protect its territory, the lust to consume warm, bloody flesh — each something clearly identifiable and understandable as the needs of an animal, something wild and untamed that garners its power from nature itself, rather than denying the natural order by being some reanimated corpse with an agenda. Vampires, for all their elegance, are a mostly bunch of aristocratic, poncy douchebags who most people forget are fucking corpses, and corpses are not exactly known for their pleasant bouquet. I always get grossed out whenever I see some horny suckface putting the moves on a hypnotized, heaving-bosomed cutie who's oblivious to his reeking charms, and while the actual bloodsucking can be read as metaphorical Osh-Osh, I'm way too literal-minded for that and can't help but picture Count Douchebagula's fetid member about to go to work in the Good Place. "Yecch," to say the least (although I've gotta admit that Frank Langella's Dracula was a pretty sexy guy).

The rapaciousness of the werewolf is far less steeped in treachery and mystical date rape tactics than that of the velvet-caped revenant. No less deadly or without quantifiable side effects, certainly, but far more honest in the way of a dog who dislikes you for no apparent reason taking a chunk out of your ass. The werewolf’s all about the indomitability of nature, and vampires, zombies, and other such critters fly in the face of that, which is perhaps what gives them their power, the threat of the expired refusing to be dead as we understand that state of being, and that animate expression of death seeking either to mind-control us, feed on our lifeblood, or feast upon our living flesh to fuel their aimless, undead march.

The werewolf, on the other hand, is as uncontrollable and unpredictable as a natural force while also being a fusion of “civilized” humanity with the primal, and seldom can the two find a harmonious middle ground. The typical protagonist in lupine lore does not embrace the loss of control that accompanies the transformative gift and instead seeks a cure, or, since treatments for lycanthropy are apparently few and far between, they seek death but can’t work up the gumption to off themselves, either from the urge for simple self-preservation, or through some aspect of their curse that also seeks to stay alive. Any way you cut it, the tales of those thus afflicted seldom end well, and that may also be a key to their appeal: a person unwittingly thrust into a supernatural state of great power and animal drives that they can’t hope to comprehend or master, often losing themselves to their lupine side and becoming perceived as a thing of evil, by others and themselves, only to face an inevitable and tragic end that scars the lives of their loved ones.

I can totally relate to that, having done some pretty out of control shit over the years, but I groove on the wolf more for its potential for a connection with the natural world in a way that man has long ago left behind. In legendary tales of werewolfism it’s a frequent given that the shape-shifter has full control over his actions and the moments of transformation, and is not merely a slave to the influence of lunar cycles. Imagine the freedom in that state, the sharpness of the senses, the supple power of a beast built for mastery of its environment, the innate hunting skills of a born predator, and the ability to return to one’s place within human society with the ease of doffing an overcoat…

That would simply be awesome.

So I’m fascinated with all tales of the wolf-folk, be they works of prose, comic books — the standout in that medium would be Alan Moore’s classic SWAMP THING issue with “The Curse,” a story that examines the connection between the lycanthropic cycle and the menstrual cycle — or movies, and speaking as a lover of such stuff I’m here to offer you a guide to the essential cinematic works in the field. And one thing that surprised me while coming up with a list for this piece was how few truly good or even notable werewolf flicks there are, so when you see a good one cherish it and let me know about it in case of the unlikely chance I may not have seen it.


The first of Universal’s werewolf movies, this one’s interesting today mostly as a curiosity since it really doesn’t grip the viewer as earlier entries in the studio’s legendary horror cycle did. You read and hear about Universal’s versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, and the Mummy again and again, but Henry Hull’s turn as the unfortunate Dr. Glendon is often overlooked due the film’s wildly uneven script that frequently loses sight of its own point (the werewolf) in favor of “local color” character bits that were more appropriate in THE INVISIBLE MAN and THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN, both films steeped in a certain fey campiness. Other than its historical significance, THE WEREWOLF OF LONDON is notable for Dr. Yogami — white guy Warner Oland in one of his many portrayals of an Asian — a scientist who covets the rare Marifisa Lupina plant, s specimen found by Dr. Glendon that provides a temporary cure for lycanthropy, a condition that Yogami passed on to an unsuspecting Glendon during the attack that gets the story rolling. Yogami is a thoughtful man, but his need for the cure overrules his morals and makes for a terrific performance.


The template for most werewolf flicks to follow, this was the last truly great film in the Universal horror cycle, and screenwriter Kurt Siodmak’s script introduced many elements into the lore of the werewolf that we now take as rote, including the silver bullet thing and the strict adherence to the full moon connection rather than merely a nighttime or willed occurrence. Lon Chaney Jr.’s Larry Talbot became an iconic character for his hangdog manner and anguish over his homicidal case of five o’ clock shadow, returning in several sequels and spinoffs, but none of those have even an ounce of the strong story meat found in this initial installment. Oh, and if the sequels are any indication, being a werewolf pretty much renders you immortal, so you’d better get used to an existence of tearing out people’s throats and waking up naked and confused in some strange part of town (although Larry always wakes up clothed, yet sans footwear).

And as you probably noticed in these sensationalistic publicity stills, there's definitely a correlation between sex and violence in this film since Larry's doomed to kill his fiancée. Hey, back in the days you couldn't get away with a werewolf rape scene — you'd still have a hard time with that one even now — implied or otherwise, so titillating stills like these were about as questionable as it got.


A couple of lapses into hokey, overage juvenile delinquent movie territory notwithstanding, I WAS A TEENAGE WEREWOLF offers up a fun and mildly creepy metaphor for the horrors and pains of adolescence, and wouldn't be the last lycanthropy flick to tackle that theme. Michael (BONANZA, LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE) Landon stars as a J.D. with an irrationally explosive temper who undergoes prescribed psychiatric treatment in an attempt to curb his hair-trigger aggression, only to end up in the “care” of a mad psychiatrist who uses hypnotic regression to send him down the evolutionary chain to become an actual werewolf whenever he hears bells (how a werewolf fits into mankind’s evolutionary tree I won’t even begin to theorize). The poor bastard goes on a killing spree before his doom, and the film contains one of the most effective werewolf-on-the-hunt moments in film: the werewolf prowls his high school after hours,

ending up in the gym and encountering a girl practicing moves on the uneven parallel bars. As she executes a move that inverts her visual perspective, she comes face-to-face, upside-down, with the slavering monster.

Terrified, she falls to the floor and attempts to escape, but no dice.

Not a great movie, but definitely worth at least a one-time viewing.


Surprisingly the only werewolf flick to come out of the venerable Hammer Studios stable, this one stars my man Oliver Reed as Leon, the result of a forgotten dungeon inmate’s rape of a mute serving girl, an unwanted child born on Christmas day while his mother dies bringing him into the world. Since a child sharing the birthday of Jesus is “an insult to heaven,” Leon’s doomed from the start, and as he grows up he exhibits behavioral and physical traits that mark him as a werewolf in the making, and then he falls in love with a girl betrothed to another…

Oliver Reed, on any given day at the pub.

Tragic all the way, it’s interesting that Leon’s troubles come not from being bitten or from some Satanic pact, but from the fact that little baby Jesus apparently has birthday attention issues.


Original 1976 American release one-sheet.

The 1970's offered slim pickings for werewolf fare, and this flick stands as a perfect example of what I'm talking about. This bit of lycanthropic Eurosleaze stars French-born, ferret-faced Annik Borel — late of such classics as BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE DEVILS (1972) and the Isaac Hayes blaxploitationer TRUCK TURNER (1974) — a blonde with haunted eyes who looks like a fusion of Sondra Locke and Judith Light, a concept for more shudder-inducing than anything found in the film. As was the wont of Eurosleaze actresses of the period, Borel was in no way afraid of shedding her clothing, a point made apparent less than thirty seconds into the flick as she is seen completely bare-assed nekkid, gyrating in a circle of fire to cheesy voodoo drums by the light of the full moon.

This marvelously gratuitous nudity plays out in lots of close-ups as the credits roll, the camera occasionally getting so close to Borel’s gingerish pubes that I began to feel like her gynecologist, something I’m not used to outside of the context of straight-up pornography and am willing to bet was one of the elements edited when the film first hit these shores under the title THE LEGEND OF THE WOLF WOMAN. Yes, this chick’s a werewolf, and her furry look can fairly be described as the makeup artist — overrated hack Carlo Rambaldi, just prior to his leap to international fame with the 1976 KING KONG remake — sticking a fake nose and some bogus teeth onto Borel, then painting the actress’ nekkid skin with an adhesive and having her roll about on a barber shop floor; perhaps the most bizarre aspects of this makeup are the werewolf’s blonde hairdo coupled with her otherwise brown fur and Borel’s pendulous breasts being stricken by gravity in such a way that they resemble the much-suckled-upon teats of a mother beast, capped as they are with nipples resembling black olives.

Sadly, during my college days I've awakened next to worse...

Anyway, the werewolf chick is abruptly seen trussed-up and ready for burning at the stake (we aren’t shown how this happens) and we skip ahead by about two hundred years to then-present day Italy where we meet Daniela (Borel), a mid-twenty-something dead ringer for the werewolf chick who was one of her ancestors. It’s not really made clear, but apparently Daniela summoned the spirit of her shaggy ancestor (that’s what the opening sequence was supposed to be, I guess) and is now possessed by it, giving vengeful power to her deep-seated hatred of men and the sex act. Raped in her early adolescence, she now lives in the country with her kindly and concerned father, but her now-possessed psyche goes completely around the bend when she witnesses her sister having sex with her new husband and lures the guy into the woods where she attempts to seduce him while stark naked and instead tears his throat out with her teeth before dumping his corpse down a ravine.

Driven mad by what she’s done, Daniela is institutionalized but soon escapes with the help of a friendly nymphomaniac (whom she kills with a pair of scissors), immediately embarking on a murderous spree, growling like a crazed wolf and ripping out throats willy-nilly before falling in love with a sweet and hunky stuntman who lives in an abandoned movie studio town once used for filming Spaghetti Westerns (no, seriously). Cured of her bloodlust after a month with this guy (and one of those soft-focus “romantic” montages common to Euro nudie flicks of the seventies), Daniela’s life starts taking a turn for the better. Well, that is until she’s gang-raped by three local scumbags during a home invasion, a trio of from-out-of-nowhere vermin who also murder her lover. NOTE: we are spared the “main event” of the actual gang rape but we do witness the preamble, a nasty bit of business very reminiscent of the most famous sequence in Sam Peckinpah’s STRAW DOGS (1971), and if you’ve seen that movie you know what I’m talking about, so keep that in mind before renting this on date night.

Finally driven irrevocably mad, Daniela decimates her attackers, somehow tracking down each of them despite having absolutely zero clue as to who they are or where they live and crushing two of them with a junkyard’s claw-crane that she learned to operate after watching it in action for about a minute. Catching up with her at long last, the hapless detectives who’ve fruitlessly tracked Daniela since she escaped the mental institution capture her at a remote location where she sits, open-bloused and titties-a-swingin’, sampling spoonfuls of stew from a cauldron (where she got it from is anyone’s guess). Now snarling and completely feral, Daniela is apprehended as a ridiculous voice-over informs us that we’ve just watched a re-enactment of “true” events that took place in 1968. Yeah, right.

Those like me who love werewolf movies were suckered in by WEREWOLF WOMAN’s promise of a straight-up lycanthrope fright-fest, but instead we got a squalid piece of seventies Euro-sleaze exploitation featuring the so-called werewolf being seen only during the movie's first five minutes, minimal gore, no scares or suspense, a script full of ridiculous plot holes, and so much wall-to-wall nudity that I nearly got tired of staring at a naked chick’s bush (say it isn’t so!!!). Simply put, WEREWOLF WOMAN is kind of worth a look as a seventies curiosity that’s infamous for its general uselessness, but if you have something else to do rather than see it, by all means do whatever your other choice is. Believe me, you won’t be missing a blessed thing.


The first of 1981’s back-to-back landmark wolf-out flicks, THE HOWLING strays a bit from the source novel but is a terrific horror story nonetheless. When a TV new reporter agrees to meet a stalker/serial killer in a scurvy porno emporium, she witnesses something so traumatic that she succumbs to amnesia. Her therapist (Patrick MacNee of THE AVENGERS) sends her to “the Colony,” an upstate Californian retreat where he works with an odd assortment of patients. Once there, things take a turn for the truly weird, and to say more would ruin things for those who haven’t seen it, so I’ll just shut up right here and now.

Loaded with in-jokes for the horror movie junkies in the audience and bolstered by Rob Bottin’s excellent werewolf designs and effects, THE HOWLING stands as an exemplary entry in the genre that is not to be missed. Plus, the flick earns special points for the late Elizabeth Brooks as Marsha,

the nymphomaniac sister of the serial killer who’s enough to cause a line to form of guys who couldn’t wait for her to put the bite on them. "AAAAWWOOOOOOOOO," indeed! And you have to love the Germans for coming up with a poster campaign for the film that features werewolf rape as its main image:

I mean, talk about lurid!


Rearing its shaggy head four months after THE HOWLING, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON upped the lycanthropic ante by having a studio budget, picturesque UK locations, the toothsome and talented Jenny Agutter, and FX badass Rick Baker on the makeup/creature effects, so how could it lose? Frankly, it didn’t, and over twenty-five years after the fact it still vies with THE HOWLING for top position in the hearts of most werewolf mavens (hell, I paid to see it three nights in a row when it came out!). David Naughton and Griffin Dunne are two American tourists trekking on foot across the British countryside who, against the advice of the creepy, tight-lipped locals, wander off the roads and into the moors where they fall prey to…well, you have a pretty good idea if you’ve read this far into this post. Dunne’s character doesn’t survive the attack, while Naughton awakens in a London hospital under the care of a mouth-watering nurse (Agutter), and is visited by the mangled corpse of his best buddy. His buddy warns him that he’s now a werewolf and must kill himself before the next full moon, but if Naughton had killed himself the movie would have been about twenty minutes long and pissed off an audience that came expecting some righteous monster action, so you can guess the rest.

Very entertaining and engaging from start to finish, some find its blend of humor and horror to be somewhat jarring and as a result feel that film is deeply flawed by a schizophrenic tome, but I totally disagree with that assessment; THE HOWLING is also quite amusing — admittedly, provided you get the jokes — but no one ever bitches about it being a mess, so I guess you’ll just have to judge AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON for yourself. And it gets extra special points for Griffin Dunne as Jack, the most cheerful mangled and steadily decomposing corpse you’ll ever see.

Griffin Dunne as Jack: if ever there was a supporting role that completely steals the film it's in, this is it.

BAD MOON (1996)

Thor the German Shepherd: this is the face of a true-blue hero.

This film is based on the 1992 novel THOR, by Wayne Smith, a story told from the point of view of the titular faithful German Shepherd who lives with a family of humans that he understandably considers his "pack." In the hierarchy of the pack Thor functions as the very capable protector, and his natural abilities are put to the test when a relative, Uncle Ted, comes to visit the family and only Thor, thanks to his animal senses and intuition, realizes that the guy is a werewolf. I have not yet read the book, but the movie apparently follows the book's plot basics, only losing the family's husband/dad and two of the kids, leaving Thor to look out for a single mother (Mariel Hemingway), and her young son (Mason Gamble, the kid from the horrid DENNIS THE MENACE movie). Thor proves his worth as a guardian early on, when a con man tries to fleece money out of the mother by provoking Thor to attack him, unaware that the woman is a lawyer who has prosecuted dozens of would-be hustlers just like him, and from that incident onward the audience knows to trust Thor's instincts.

After an expedition to a foreign land where his colleague/girlfriend is savagely killed by a werewolf and he himself is stricken with the curse of lycanthropy while trying to save her, Uncle Ted (Michael Paré) returns to the States and embarks on a quest to find a cure for what has befallen him. Unfortunately, all avenues prove a dead end and Ted moves into a trailer somewhere in the deep backwoods of the Northwest, where his homicidal lunar activities will stand less of a chance of getting out of hand (a plan that doesn't work because his transformations are nightly and he's wracked up a body count of five before the plot even really gets rolling). When he invites his sister and nephew up to visit (with Thor along for the ride), Ted gets it into his head that the company of his family may be just the thing that will curb his rapacious supernatural urges. It is during this daytime visit that Thor is allowed to sniff about freely in the woods, where he picks up strange scents and the remains of a forest surveyor, a trail that leads right back to Uncle Ted. Thor may not be able to articulate what he senses, but he knows Uncle Ted is something very, very dangerous, and from that moment on he holds the man under very close scrutiny.

Creepy Uncle Ted, now a werewolf and safely ensconced within the bosom of his family...

...which puts him within Thor's territory of guardianship, and Thor knows EXACTLY what's up. And he doesn't like it one bit.

Following his latest murder and with the police investigating literally right outside his trailer door, Ted calls his sister and asks if he can stay with her for a while. Once he parks his trailer outside the family home, Thor immediately sets up a vigil to keep an eye on the lupine visitor. Ted, very much aware that Thor has his number, creepily tries to insinuate himself into a position of power within the pack while going out nightly to chain himself to a tree as his transformed self rages without causing harm to anyone.

Uncle Ted, all wolfed-out.

Thor witnesses the chained werewolf and has his worst fears realized, returning to the house and pissing on Uncle Ted's camper as a territorial warning. From that moment, you had better believe it's on, and in no time Thor's seemingly vicious and totally mis-interpreted aggression toward Ted lands him in the pound, leaving his pack very much in harm's way. But never underestimate the power of a boy's love for his dog, or the dog's love of his humans...

The film's low budget is certainly evident, but the story more than makes up for any deficiencies in the department of production values. The movie even has a werewolf that's much better than expected, although the transformation sequence is somewhat-justly maligned. Though low on gore (at least by my standards), the film is a lot of fun thanks to its unusual protagonist and if you're a dog-lover like me, you will root for Thor like you haven't rooted for a hero since Indiana Jones went after the Ark of the Covenant. Played by a pooch named Primo, Thor is a canine hero to be reckoned with and he even takes on the werewolf — a goddamned WEREWOLF!!! — twice, in what can only be called savage, animalistic combat. When stacked up against Thor, Rin Tin Tin, Lassie and Benji are a bunch of pussies and they can each suck it.

WOLF (1997)

This story of a middle-aged man's werewolf-bitten transformation from a fading light at a big publishing house into the literal alpha wolf greatly appealed to me for being pretty much what might have happened if THE WOLF MAN's Larry Talbot embraced lycathropy as the gift that it could be, but its blend of low key horror and romance didn't sit well with everyone. I recommend it, but don't check it out in hope of finding major scares, gore, or even a spectacular transformation sequence despite Rick Baker again lending his skills to the proceedings. Jack Nicholson's werewolf is very much a throwback to the hairy guy in slacks and a button-down shirt prevalent in werewolf movies until the special effects kick in the ass of 1981, and while Jack's look has it's detractors I must admit that it takes me back to the days of CREATURE FEATURES watched on my old B/W televison when I was little, only in a mildly R-rated version.

Jack Nicholson's modern day descendant of Larry Talbot.


This Canadian entry is proof of what can be done with a low budget and a hell of a lot of talent and intelligence. Drawing once more upon the lycanthropy/horrors of puberty theme, GINGER SNAPS deals with two uber-morbid and very close high school-age sisters, a pair of creepy misfits who, like good old Carrie White, have yet to have their first periods. The older of the two, Ginger, finally starts her menstrual cycle, but has the misfortune of that event coinciding with local animal attacks that turn out to be the work of a particularly savage werewolf. The monster catches her newly bloody scent and, in a scene intended to look and feel like a rape (according to the film’s co-scriptwriter), mauls the living shit out of her. Ginger survives and in no time flat begins to exhibit a hitherto unseen level of aggression, both socially and sexually — keep in mind that lycanthropy is a communicable disease — to say nothing of such undeniable signs of wolfing out as getting furry in odd places, her teeth becoming more suited to tearing flesh, and the tail that she’s sprouted from out of nowhere. Her younger sister realizes what’s happening, and sets out to cure her sister, and if that doesn’t work…

Sorry, but there are some things Pamprin just ain't made to handle.

One of the rare werewolf movies from a female perspective, GINGER SNAPS is highly recommended for its genuine scares, well-handled lycanthropy/puberty metaphor, and its wicked DeGRASSI HIGH MEETS THE HOWLING sensibility. And the first sequel’s actually pretty good!


A gene-splicing of werewolf movie conventions and NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, this is one kickass mamma-jamma! If GINGER SNAPS is the “girls” werewolf movie, then DOG SOLDIERS is its testosterone-fueled analog, and Jesus H. Christ is it fun! A bunch of soldiers on maneuvers in some UK backswoods realize they’re being hunted by a pack of very big, very nasty werewolves, so they hole up in a remote house and wait for sunup while attempting to weather an ultra-violent lycanthropic siege.

That’s pretty much it, and it reminds me of what I would have come up with, playing with my G.I. Joes in the backyard when I was eight, provided Hasbro had made an adventure set that included werewolves. Sheer adrenalin and spewing gore set this one in the top ranks of the genre.

CURSED (2005)

Plagued with production nightmares that made it take forever to make it to the screen, CURSED is not a great movie by any means, a fact that wasn’t helped by the studio cutting most of the gore and violence to ensure a PG-13 theatrical release. Well, I didn’t even think of wasting my cash on that version and instead waited for the unrated DVD, but the movie is still pretty pedestrian if not for the following items of note:
  • Christina Ricci as a girl about to become a werewolf. What’s not to like?
  • The spectacular sight of Shannon Elizabeth being torn in half at the waist by a ravening beast.
  • A very funny sequence involving a female werewolf who takes umbrage at being called “fat.”
Anyway, that’s it for my list, but do you have any suggestions? Please write in if you do! And, no, I didn’t forget THE WOLFEN or THE COMPANY OF WOLVES; I didn’t include them because the monsters in THE WOLFEN aren’t werewolves, and THE COMPANY OF WOLVES was frilly, pretentious horseshit. So there.


John Bligh said...

I liked CURSED more than alot of people. Of course, I've only seen the "Unrated" DVD version, also, but it had a good sense of humor and was scary in the right places.

And I always fucking hated WOLF... Everyone involved was ashamed to admit they were making a horror movie. The end result showed. FRIED GREEN TOMATOES was scarier. Bunch of douchenozzles...

John Bligh said...

It's also worth mentioning that THE HOWLING is distinguished by having the worst series of sequels EVER in the history of cinema. Worse than all the endless Jason/Michael/Freddy sequels combined!

Lynn said...

I'm a sucker for even bad zombie movies. But particularly the newer ones when they can run fast, 'cuz I'm like, I can run faster than that slow M=Fer.
I never understood lycanthropic love before, but now I do! Reviews are wonderful! Why aren't you a paid writer?? I sent it on to my friend who is a sucker for old horror movies. Thanks! And get thee to a publisher now!

Deacon Blue said...

I'm glad you mentioned Wolfen, though, even in passing. While not a werewolf movie per se, I like the idea of a breed of wolflike creature with high intelligence and almost supernatural speed and senses, as it gives a sense of something that might be real, and have given rise to the werewolf myth.

I suppose that's the reason that I like the Octavia Butler's novel "Fledgling" as part of the vampire canon, because it posits vampires not as undead but as an parallel evolutionary being that prey on humans, but in a way that isn't altogether predatory by more symbiotic almost. I've always wanted to BE a werewolf, but I've never fancied the idea of being a vampire much (...though the idea of being a sexual thrall to one and providing snacks to her has vast appeal.).

The Howling definitely ranks as the peak of the werewolf movie genre to me, for its mix of all the right touches, from the horrific to violent to sexual to humorous.

BTW, I'm about 3/4 the way through "Moon Dance" which I tracked down a used copy of based on your post and recommendation here. A pity that the content is both too hardcore for the screen and too epic in scope to be able to fit into a single movie...because if turned into a proper film, it would be the ultimate measure by which all werewolf movies would be judged.

A pity, though, that the author (at least from what I see in THIS novel) seems to have trouble with portraying love and kindness. He does it, but the love parts often seem tossed in slapdash, with nowhere near the attention to detail that the more perverse scenes get. I think the violence and perversity NEEDS to be pre-eminent in the novel, but where love does peek in, it shouldn't be handled so blithely (as it was with the good Captain Harper, for example).

Anyway, sorry for the mini blog post.

Satyrblade said...

Just re-watched Ginger Snaps the other day, and I'd rate it as the third-best werewolf movie ever (after American Werewolf) and almost even with The Howling for second place. Aside from Dog Soldiers, the others don't even come close.

I confess, I'll probably go see New Moon, if only for the werewolves. The movie looks awful, but the werewolf effects (at least in the trailer) kick undead romance ass.

Bunche said...

The werewolves are the only reason I'll see NEW MOON, but I won't pay the exorbitant NYC ticket price. I can wait for DVD.

Hellbilly said...

Great commentary, as always, Steve!

I'm partial to "The Howling", but only because it's the only entry I've seen in the theater (always adding extra points), and because it was the first werewolf flick I saw. Probably still the best horror movie experience for me to this day.

"Wolf"'s non-makeup moments were interesting, but once they went into tranformation, etc, the movie really stunk. Sad, since a werewolf throwdown between James Spader and Jack Nicholson by all rights should have been unforgettable.

Temmere said...

It's disappointing to me that Reed didn't stay with Hammer Studios longer. (I believe he stopped working with them around 1965.) Not that he didn't go on to other good work, but maybe if he had stuck around Hammer wouldn't have found itself in such a rut by the mid-seventies. He brought a very different screen presence from Cushing and Lee, and was significantly younger than them.

And I'm definitely interested in Bad Moon now.