Posts Tagged ‘Werewolves


An American Werewolf in London (1981)

David & Jack: two average American kids traveling the English countryside...

David & Jack: two average American kids traveling the English countryside…

The first time I saw An American Werewolf in London, I was like, meh. I didn’t get was so great about it. Then a friend of mine said: “What? Are you crazy? We’re watching it.” Then we watched it again and I said: “Oh, crap, I was wrong, this movie is great!” Then, a few years later my husband said: “I didn’t think much of it the first time I saw it.” On a mission to convert, we picked up a copy at a used record store and watched it together. I think I succeeded in my mission to prove this isn’t just a boring, average werewolf movie.

David and Jack are best friends. They’re also pretty normal American college kids, who really care only about exploring women’s bodies and the English

Only one of them is lucky enough to survive a mysterious ordeal and strike up a "friendship" with the cute nurse...

Only one of them is lucky enough to survive a mysterious ordeal and strike up a “friendship” with the cute nurse…

countryside. Their travels have taken them to a cold, wet and lonely place. The only place that seems like it will come close to offering shelter and hot soup is a pub called The Slaughtered Lamb. Inviting or not, the two have little choice and walk into the place. As cold and wet as they are, the locals don’t really take too kindly to the young boys, and after an awkward confrontation, they’re asked to leave – but told to stay clear of the moors and beware the moon.

Even though they try to play it off, the two are clearly spooked, and they manage to find themselves off the road and, you guessed it: on the moors. That’s when Jack and David are attacked by what can only be a werewolf. Jack doesn’t make it. David can barely remember what happened, but the

And Jack isn't about to let David forget he's left him behind...

And Jack isn’t about to let David forget he’s left him behind…

doctor and the authorities inform him that a madman attacked him and his friend. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t seem to fit with what David eventually remembers.

But the death of his friend and inexplicable events won’t stop a young boy from falling in love: after he’s released from the hospital, the cute nurse takes him home to stay with her for a while. The two are a cute couple, but it’s a little worrisome to David that he keeps getting visits from his rapidly-decomposing dead friend, warning him that during the next full moon, David will turn into a werewolf and wreak havoc.

Is David crazy, or is his friend actually real? Worse, is David actually a werewolf? Those folks back at the pub sure were hiding something, and David, his doctor, his lady friend and the city of London are about to

Waking up in the wolf cage at the London Zoo is pretty unforgettable, anyway.

Waking up in the wolf cage at the London Zoo is pretty unforgettable, anyway.

find out exactly what it is they’ve been keeping from everyone.

Aside from the fact that this movie seriously has some of the best special effects I’ve ever seen, it’s also a delightfully goofy, playful and maybe even relatable horror flick. As much as I liked Oliver Reed’s portrayal in Hammer’s The Curse of the Werewolf, I must say he is a little difficult to identify with. David, on the other hand, is a little more sympathetic: he’s just a young dude, maybe a little bro-ish, but not terribly so, off exploring the world with his best friend who ends up turning into a brutish monster. Oh yeah, and did I mention the special effects? Totally awesome. Definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it. And if you didn’t think much of it the first time, give it another go – maybe you’ll change your mind!


The Curse of the Werewolf (1961)

Marques Siniestro takes pleasure in his new wife's disgust as well as mocking the poor beggar...

Marques Siniestro takes pleasure in his new wife’s disgust as well as mocking the poor beggar…

Attention single ladies: whatever you do, don’t have your out-of-wedlock child on Christmas. If you do, you’ll have a werewolf on your hands – at least, according to Hammer Film Productions. Of course, I can’t help but think this poor child’s conception had something to do with his terrible fate…

A long time ago in Spain, a beggar asked for money, food; anything. Cruel folks send him to Marques Siniestro’s estate on the night of his wedding; Siniestro was the only guy with any cash to spare. Siniestro mocks the beggar and throws him in jail, where he stays for fifteen years, kept alive by the jailer’s mute daughter. Her kindness doesn’t help her when she, too, is thrown into the jail. The beggar’s manly appetites have gone

Our mute mother can't even cry for help...

Our mute mother can’t even cry for help…

unsatisfied for fifteen years, after all, and she sure is cute, so he rapes her, and then dies.

Luckily, the poor woman is found face-down in the water by confirmed bachelor Don Alfredo Corledo, who valiantly saves her life. His housekeeper Teresa nurses the pregnant mute back to health and through her pregnancy, only to watch her die after giving birth to her son, Leon (ultimately played by Oliver Reed). The boy grows up happily, but soon a rash of livestock deaths expose his affliction, and the local priest warns that the boy will

Oh, goodness gracious it's so hard to be Oliver Reed!

Oh, goodness gracious it’s so hard to be Oliver Reed!

always need to be surrounded by love and affection to keep his lupine tendencies at bay.

Teresa and the Don shower the young boy with the love he needs, and all is well until, as a grown man, he decides to leave home to make his own way. Released into the wild, the young man has no control over his condition, and suffers nothing but anguish, frustration and disappointment away from home.

So, there you have it, a Hammer film starring Oliver Reed as an



anguished werewolf. Why wouldn’t you want to watch this? As always, Hammer keeps it stylish and light, even given the dreary subject matter. Oliver Reed’s frustration is almost palpable as he smolders his way through the film, but that’s really no surprise, is it? He is, quite probably, the best part of the movie, even though we don’t see him until halfway through. Those eyes, those hands, those frilly shirts, that sweaty brow… oh my!



The Beast Must Die (1974)

Tom plays the hunted, just for a little bit...

Tom plays the hunted, just for a little bit…

Clue is one of my favorite movies of all time. I can’t put my finger on why I like it so much, I just do. But in my heart I’ve always felt there’s just one thing missing, one simple addition that would make Clue the best movie in the world: werewolves. Lucky for me, The Beast Must Die is the perfect combination of strangers-called-to-a-giant-house-for-a-strange-purpose and werewolves!

Tom Newcliffe loves a challenge. His house is decorated with carcasses of exotic animals he bested in the hunt. Tom won’t be happy, though, until he can claim to be the first man ever to kill a werewolf. It just so happens that he can narrow down probable werewolves to a group of six acquaintances, all of whom he invites to stay at his house for the weekend.

Tom surveys the grounds for the beast.

Tom surveys the grounds for the beast.

Tom has rigged the grounds surrounding his estate with all manner of surveillance: cameras in the trees, microphones in the ground, you name it. He’s armed with the finest silver bullets and the expertise of the professor of werewolfdom, Dr. Christopher Lundgren (Peter Cushing). Now that he’s collected this suspicious group together, the only thing there is to do is wait for the full moon to bring out the wolf in one of them. The question is: who?

This movie is really enjoyable. It is, of course, a little over the top, but that is a large part of its charm. It directly addresses its audience, asking us: who do YOU think the werewolf is? I take

Could it be... Peter Cushing?

Could it be… Peter Cushing?

pleasure in the fact that I guessed right. I wish I had something deep to say about The Beast Must Die, but… errrrr… I don’t. I suppose I could say something about the negative effect of man’s greedy thirst for power and dominance, but that’s a little too obvious, isn’t it? I guess I could also say it’s interesting that Amicus chose a black man to play the greedy imperialist, (perhaps made all the more interesting by the inclusion of Marlene Clark, aka Ganja of Ganja and Hess fame, as Mrs. Newcliffe), and ponder on what that means. Or, maybe I’ll just ask you to ponder it and go on to write the next post, because I am many movies behind.

This movie’s great. Watch it. That’s all.



Full Eclipse (1993)

What if I told you it was possible to make Point Break better than it already is? I know, a claim like that is hard to back up, until I mention werewolves. Yeah, that’s right, I said Point Break with werewolves! I didn’t know it when we put it on, but that’s exactly what Full Eclipse delivered.

Mario Van Peebles plays Max Dire, an L.A. cop who desperately wants to get the scum off the streets. It keeps him up at night and it’s ruining his marriage. His partner Jim Sheldon says he’s giving up the force and settling down, finally ready to marry his girlfriend. Well it’s never good when a cop says he’s retiring at the beginning of a movie, is it? Max and Jim head into a hostage situation, and Jim gets hit bad. No one thinks he’ll make it, until a mysterious guy dressed as a cop enters his hospital room and juices him up with something. The next day, Jim is back to work, amped and ready to go, telling Max he’s no longer going to marry. Max is too keen not to see something is off here, but what could it be?

Might it have something to do with Adam Garou and his group of vigilante cops? Of course it does! These aren’t just vigilante cops, though – they’re all junked up on something that turns them into invincible werewolves, and they want Max on their team. He’s low-hanging fruit: he’s smart, he’s good, he’s vulnerable due to his marriage troubles, and he hates criminals. But he’s also very by-the-book, and so it takes several different kinds of convincing before Max is brought into the fray.

Holy crap, this movie is awesome. I haven’t had this much fun watching a movie since maybe the first time I saw the aforementioned Point Break. But there’s one very important difference between the two movies: Full Eclipse knows all the jokes. It knows it’s a joke and it takes us along for the ride. While I loved (perhaps inexplicably) Point Break, it’s undeniable that it takes itself very, very seriously. This movie certainly does not, and that’s what is so much fun about it! It will push all your it’s-tough-being-a-straight-cop buttons, and it’s winking at you while doing it.  This certainly was the perfect antidote to the heady Ganja & Hess. This movie has nothing to say, and sometimes that’s just what you need.


Old Wave