Licantropía, literatura, cine, juegos de rol… y otros delirios

A werewolves filmography

I ‘ve found a fistful of lycanthropy themed movies, so I’ll have film watching for a while.  They’re just so-so brief and superficial reviews, though being the case I found a especially interesting one I’ll dedicate it an special attention. 

Filmografía de hombres-lobo

Last update: 06/01/2010, some films have been grouped in sages, also added Dark Moon Rising review.


Un hombre lobo americano en LondresAn American werewolf in London 

While a pair of North American teenagers is on a trip to London, a beast attacks them and some time later, after being send to the hospital, shapechanging begins. In fact, the story doesn’t have much more to tell, as the more interesting facts focus both at the beginning and at the ending, meanwhile the starring begins to be on good terms with the nurse that pays attention to him.

It certainly does worth the watching because of the tragic ending and especially for what many of us consider the best werewolf shapechanging scene in the whole cinema story. Because the special effects are amazing, more even taking in mind that film is almost 30 years old.


Un hombre-lobo americano en ParísAn American werewolf in Paris

An American werewolf in London remake. Considered fairly worse than the previous one, to me this one is a quite underestimated film. Maybe because it tries to correct weak points from its predecessor while not paying so much attention to its strengths: the new ending is quite a lot of corny and the lycanthropic shapechanging, CGI made, doesn’t reach the quality from the original film.

On the other hand, the plot improves a little bit by adding some secondary elements making it neither unnecessarily more complex nor a better film either. I recommend giving it a try.


Luna malditaBad moon 

A boring film that offers a barely elaborated plot and lacks any dramatic scenes; I really hope the novel which is based in would be better. Special effects aren’t too good neither.

Concerning the story line: a lycanthrope attacks a couple who are on an expedition to Nepal, slashing her but just wounding him. After some months with no reports for his family, the survivor decides to go living with his sister and the son of her, whose dog senses him as a strange being. Obviously, the from now on werewolf will try his best to get rid of the animal.

It tries to be (or so I think) a beautiful allegory about dogs loyalty towards their masters, but frankly as a lycanthropic film it just doesn’t work it.


AlaridosBig Bad Wolf

Horror film with some humorous hints starring a randy teen group who plans to spent a weekend in a cabin in the woods, where they find there is something evil. In spite of its identical beginning, I must notice that it doesn’t have anything in common with Sam Raimi’s masterpiece.

The werewolf appearance looks quite artificial, as it’s too obvious that it’s merely a costume and a mask.

There are a few funny moments, which usually come by the dialogues from the unusual werewolf, as well as some violent and gory scenes. Other than that, a mostly bland film.


Ovejas asesinasBlack sheep

Though not a werewolves film, I have added it in this list because it’s a parody of lycanthropic and zombies cinema that offers some pretty funny scenes. It goes without saying that, this time, antagonists aren’t but sheeps who has been converted in predators of infectious bite.

The idea is quite original despite being based in the used up story line of genetic experiments and a few unnecessary clichés. The gore tone marked by the tape ironically contrasts with the environmentalist and life respect background, showing some successful entrails scenes.

Performances are at the expected level in a film of this kind; and effects are reasonably good in general terms, specially make up, even when they lack realism sometimes, like in a pair of moments where plush are too obvious.

In the same way, the course of the film presents many ups and downs, though the last part is worth of the good terror gender. To emphasize the score too, especially in the mentioned last scene, where it adds the strain required to maintain the interest in the spectator. Though it won’t probably become a classic, it worth to be watched.


La maldiciónCursed

A wild creature bits a pair of brothers after a road accident, with the usual consequences. Since then they’ll have to look for a cure for their infection before they become fully transformed.

To define this film in just a few words it can be said it’s one of the more regrettable productions of this gender, even if watched as a comedy: lame humour and dumb dialogs, which are even worst due the poorly convincing performances and a final half an hour only describable as shameful. If the horror film gender is a pile of clichés and foreseeable scenes, this film takes the biscuit, not being able to show even a single surprise or original situation.

On the positive side, the werewolves costumes aren’t bad at all and the shapeshifting sequences, though are quite obvious to be CGI, are even memorable. Other than these brief scenes, the film is only suitable for Wes Craven staunches.


Dark moon risingDark moon rising

Two long and boring hours of supernatural romance between a teenager (whose father behaves in a overprotective manner) and a young mechanic. Set in the typical American desert where strange murders begin to take place, the setting is seasoned with some inevitable scenes of violence, a young couple who often appear half-naked with no reason and werewolves totally waxed in their human form.

As is usual in this type of products, most of the dialogues are as hilarious as predictable is the argument. Not to mention that the appearance of the werewolves in her animal form looks like a pitiful, bad concealed outfit; the transfiguration isn’t do as much as it can, it barely lasts for a second and involves some of the most overacted scenes of the whole footage.

Of no interest except to staunches of Twilight like stories.


Dog soldiersDog soldiers

While a soldier squad is on training maneuvers deep in a forest, they find themselves threatened by a hunting party of savage beings. As the creatures are a united and organized community, this film is closer to The Howling than to other productions concerning a single, solitary werewolf.

Unexpected film which you could think of as a mere excuse to show entrails and soldiers killing supernatural beings in Rambo style but instead comes to be a relieve among so many mediocre films. It offers a good combination of action and suspense scenes, keeping spectators on tenterhooks (the line of argument itself barely remembers Night of the living dead) but alternating with some funny moments (especially for black jokes lovers).

It’s obvious the good job done by both the director and the actors, who give a good imitation of a military squad trying to be in control of the situation despite adversities. For its low budget, special effects are quite suitable though some people think of them as being bad. In any case, it’s of great appreciation that they used traditional effects instead of the overestimated CGI and the fact of showing silhouette and body parts in fast scenes instead of openly showing the full figure of the creatures (until roughly approached to the second half of the movie).

If this film deserves some critic, is the need of resort some well-worn clichés from the gender, as it could be the killer cutting off the electricity or hiding himself in the back seat of the car. Though they are tiny details, easily excusable thanks to the good time you can have watching it.

I need to add as a final note that it the possibility of shooting a direct sequel was talked about for a time, but rather than leaking more information on the subject, it has been dropped, so the project is considered canceled.


La leyenda de la bestiaLegend of the werewolf

Fascinating classic that tells the story of a boy who spent his childhood among wolves and would be later on adopted in an itinerant circus. After fleeing to a city, he’s somehow able to convert himself into a werewolf at night. The story presents the peculiarity that this time, instead of trying to the hunter tries to help the beast instead of kill it.

The music wonderfully accompanies the film and performances are of remarkable quality. Even special effects, set and staging are good for the time of the film (about the middle of the 70s).


Mi madre es una mujer loboMy mom’s a werewolf

As hinted by the title, the plot starts from a disenchanted housewife who is bitten by a lycanthrope, so she becomes infected… and there’s not much more to tell about this comedy attempt which lacks anything really worth telling, not even the humoristic scenes.

It’s so naive and dull that long time probably won’t pass until the spectator forgets about it.


RomasantaRomasanta, the werewolf hunt

Film about a lycanthrope (though not a werewolf) based in a true story, who terrorizes the villagers of the place while authority try to chase after him. Taking a look at the movie cover maybe you could expect a film about monster hunters, much like Van Helsing, but nothing further from the truth.

Its strengths are focused in production: photography is perfect and natural scenarios are beautiful despite short of variety, while both wardrobe and music are correct. Script is the weak point, suffering from its notable lack of dramatic tension or the horror film feeling they try to provide with, so story doesn’t go much far from an occasional death and a romantic tone secondary plot. Performances are OK, as they range from passable on the part of some actors but little credible on the part of others.

Anyway, I advise taking a look at the changing scene, with any doubt one of the best exponents from the gender.


Santo y Blue Demon contra Drácula y el Hombre LoboSanto & Blue Demon vs. Dracula & the Wolfman

Another B movie title made in Mexico, in which the famous wrestler, accompanied by his usual partner, faces the king of vampires and his lycanthrope hatchet man.

As in every film in the sage, special effects are somewhat mediocre due the low budget and the script has been poorly developed and is even predictable.

Even so, is a much enjoyable film, especially action scenes.


Miedo azul

Silver bullet 

Based on Stephen King’s non homonym novel (Cycle of the Werewolf). This is quite a free and irregular adaptation (but for the main characters), with plenty of up and downs, as it seems they have try to please all audiences instead of concentrate in a particular collective. The unoriginal plot tells how a series of murders suddenly occurs in full moon nights, supposedly committed by a psycho. However, a boy in the town, a disabled in wheelchair (or rather in “motor-chair”), actually discovers that the perpetrator is a werewolf (whose identity will be obvious soon after movie starts) and at the same time he notices the young knows it.

Whereas sets and performances are generally speaking good (it is worth pointing out the act done by the priest), special effects as a whole are not up to expectations and the werewolf itself has been especially criticized, almost looking an human size cuddly toy.

Some scenes are really silly, particularly when they try to give an humoristic tone to the story (in those moments I had the feeling of watching a bad Troma movie).

Nonetheless, scenes when the beast stalks are a great example of how to film a horror movie that hopes to incite and keep tension in the audience.


SkinwalkersSkinwalkers

While it starts in a intriguing mood it soon changes into some kind of very conventional pursuit and shooting thriller, in such a way that “conventional” can be used to describe the film as a whole. The fact is that, despite being based (quite freely) in a legend from Navajo people lore from which they could have make the most of, the film only offers some moments which have already been seen in the cinema time after time until saying stop. These include the typical prophecy, the boy who has “something special” in his blood, the bad boys riding their motorbikes and the good guys who sacrifice themselves one after another just to protect the persecuted.

The plot tells the story of two rival werewolves crowds: one of them thinks about the change as a curse and they want to finish it, helped by a half-blood boy who is mentioned in an old prophecy, while the other consider it a gift and they are determined to kill the child before he archives his goal.

The internal beast theme, one of the main points they should have emphasize, feels superficial and a mere excuse for the starting point of the plot. The same can be said for the lycanthropes, who once transformed, never scares or shocks the audience, and even the (human) mother of the main character look more powerful and unbeatable than the antagonists.

Some performances are mediocre (while other are plain right) and shooting scenes (which are supposed to be other of the cornerstones of the film) cause more laughs than excitement, even the first one is compared by some people with those seen in The A-Team.

In a technical level, it is quite competent, despite the video clip rhythm and feeling of some moments, bringing out (for good) the scenes from some nightly shoots. In short, I’d only recommend that film to those who love shooting and melee combat films and who don’t care at all to know what is going to happen in the next scene.

Just as a matter of interest, Talbot, the last name of the starring boy is a homage to the character played by Lon Chaney Jr. in his Were Wolf cycle.


De pelo en pecho

Teen wolf

This isn’t a horror film at all, but a pleasant though a bit dumb, teen comedy (a classic one, not one of those modern gross-out film) that even contains a moral lesson in its story.

A young Michael J. Fox plays the role of Scott Howard, a not much popular teen who in a day like any other undergoes strange changes. Riddled with clichés and archetypes from North American high school but starting from an original posing that would be later followed by other films, although by means of using a different approach (as in the Ginger Snaps trilogy), it can be watched for having a fun time even it is far from being a good film.

Not much later, a cartoon series and a sequel would follow it, and according to what they say, each one is worse even than the other. I can’t say a word about, as I haven’t watched any of them.


En compañía de lobosThe company of wolves

Atypical werebeasts story based on Angela Carter’s Little Red Riding Hood fairytale adaptation.

With no need for too many bloody scenes or sudden frights, it maintains both curiosity and interest during all the film, which mixes dreams and reality by means of a few tales and reveries.

Good performances, superb sceneries, quite well done transformations and a metaphoric background all them joins in a truly interesting work of fantasy and gothic horror much better done than the typical film of that gender. In just a few words, it is a really recommendable watching.


LoboWolf 

Enjoyable production which this time tells the story not from the point of view of the victims nor the hunters who try and chase the lycanthrope, but rather from the werewolf himself, in a more personal way. Though the plot follows the traditional formula of “ordinary guy is bitten and then starts feeling strange changes”, it sets out the interesting theory that evilness isn’t in the animal half rather than in the man itself.

Most performances are great, especially those presented by the main characters (well, in fact Jack Nicholson isn’t far from his usual roles). Special attention deserves Ennio Morricone too, as the original soundtrack compositor, whom we all remember for his contribution to spaghetti westerns.

On the other hand, some length is left over and SFX are quite mediocre. These are just wires for jumping scenes, false teeth, contact lens and hair prosthesis for giving converted humans a more bestial looking (who, indeed, seem more like Wolverine o Sabretooth clones rather than werewolves). Anyway, this has been one the most entertaining lycanthrope films I have the chance of see.

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2 comentarios

  1. Anónimo

    Ginger Snaps trilogy is fun; Wolfen, and Blood & Chocolate should be on your list. And Van Helsing could be included too.

    03/11/2009 en 16:50

    • I’m finishing to translate the Ginger Snaps review, and to write the one for Wolfen, too.

      With regards to both Blood & Chocolate and Van Helsing, be sure I’ll watch both them. 🙂

      04/11/2009 en 16:28

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