Archive for the werewolf Category

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: A Story of Dracula, the Wolfman and Frankenstein book and record set (1975)

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture, vampires, werewolf, werewolves, Wolf Man with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2011 by Paxton

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Welcome to AWESOME-tober-fest 2011.  For those that don’t know, this is my yearly Halloween celebration.  I do it in conjunction with the Countdown to Halloween Blogathon.  Each week I’ll be looking at comics, movies, TV shows and books that feature monsters.  This year’s theme is Dracula/vampires, so the stuff will all feature Dracula or vampires.

Anyway, we begin the celebrations with comic book week. This week I’ll look at a bunch of comic books and comic book stories that featured the character of Dracula. Today, I’ll start with a different type of comic book. A Power Records book and record set. Dracula book and record This is the book and record set of A Story of Dracula, The Wolfman and Frankenstein.  It was released in 1975 and features awesome artwork by Neal Adams.  Somewhat of a long and awkward title, isn’t it?  I thought this book would be appropriate to look at today because it features the monsters in reverse order of how they appeared in the last three years of AWESOME-tober-fest.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011 – Dracula/vampires (NOW)
AWESOME-tober-fest 2010 – Wolf Man/werewolves
AWESOME-tober-fest 2009 – Frankenstein’s monster

The book contained one long story incorporating all three monsters.

Frankenstein 01
The story starts as a man and woman are discovered in the woods by a blonde Dracula with a Ted Nugent mustache.  The guy is revealed to be Vincent, the nephew of Baron von Frankenstein and the girl his fiance, Ericka.  He survived the murder of his uncle by villagers (saving the knowledge of his uncle’s work) and is being chased by those very same villagers.  Dracula offers his castle as refuge.  But as soon as the couple settle into the castle, Dracula takes Ericka hostage and forces Frankenstein to create a slave using his uncle’s lab equipment.  Frankenstein builds the monster and imbues it with life.  However the monster goes apesh*t and tosses the fiance out the window (I’m not kidding).  Frankenstein begs Dracula to save her and so he calls The Werewolf.

The Werewolf
The werewolf attacks Ericka, then takes her to a gypsy camp run by Maleva and her son Bela (the two gypsies from the original Universal Wolf Man movie).  Ericka discovers a pentagram on her hand and remembers a werewolf poem, “Even a man who is pure of heart and says his prayers by night may be become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the moon is shining bright”.  Yes, apparently Ericka has been turned to a werewolf.  Of course, at that moment, the full moon comes out from behind some clouds and Ericka turns into a wolf and engages in a battle with another giant werewolf.  Bela shoots the other giant wolf and it turns back into Maleva.  As a wolf, Ericka flees and somehow finds her way back to the Castle Dracula.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of Teen Wolf and Teen Wolf Too

Posted in 80s, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, reviews, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2010 by Paxton

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This is it. The final day of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. It surely has been a blast. Don’t mind me as I get all weepy and shed a tear for the end of this year’s festivities.  Hope everyone has had as much fun as I’ve had. And for me, it all begins again in a few months when I plan for AWESOME-tober-fest 2011.

Anyway, last Friday for werewolf TV week, I reviewed The Cartoon Adventures of Teen Wolf which was based on one of my favorite 80s movies, Teen Wolf. So, to cap off this year’s AWESOME-tober-fest, I’m going to review Teen Wolf as well as the sequel, Teen Wolf Too, which I think has a clever title (suck it, haters).  Here we go.

Teen Wolf 1985
Teen Wolf (1985) – Michael J Fox actually filmed this movie before he filmed Back to the Future, but Teen Wolf was released a month and a half later in August 1985 (Back to the Future was released on July 3).  I sat down with my wife to watch this movie for the first time in probably 10-15 years (she had never watched it all the way through).  And yes, I still enjoy it.  It’s a bit cheesy.  A bit goofy.  Michael J Fox is wonderful as usual.  Jerry Levine is great as the scheming Stiles.  And it’s just a fun and funny 80s comedy about a teen werewolf.  I will admit though, some of the music is an odd fit for this movie.  In one basketball montage they have what sounds like a Randy Newman song that was rejected from Toy Story.  And the final basketball game has a more typical 80s song over it, but it’s also weird.  However I love the “Big Bad Wolf” song during the school dance scene (along with the horribly cheesy “Teen Wolf Dance”).  The chick that plays Pamela is pretty hot (and reminds me of the hot blond chick from Sixteen Candles) and her neanderthal boyfriend is appropriately douchey.  It’s a good movie.  Not great, but good.  I think, though, people may remember it as being better than it actually was.  But I still enjoyed it, as did my wife.  I don’t think this movie was intended to be anything other than a solid B-comedy.  FYI…the next night after watching this we went to see the Back to the Future 25th Anniversary Re-release.  Great double header.


Teen Wolf Too 1987

Teen Wolf Too (1987) – Yes, I saw this in the theater.  I loved Teen Wolf so much that I just had to.  I remember enjoying it, but thinking that it was nowhere near as good as the original.  So, my wife and I sat down to watch this sequel the other night and…it’s exactly as I remember.  Not great.  The story is extremely similar to the original movie.  Replace basketball with boxing and high school with college.  It’s not Bateman’s fault this movie is bad, it’s the script and special effects.  The movie looks extremely cheap, the werewolf makeup is terrible and there’s like three musical interludes, two of which are montages (TWO MONTAGES!).  The third musical interlude is Bateman, as the wolf, singing ‘Do You Love Me’ Ferris Bueller-style at a college party.  And I remember thinking back in 1987 that was a horrible choice of songs.  I guess they were trying to go classic like Bueller did for ‘Twist and Shout’, but damn, they couldn’ t find (or, more truthfully, afford) a better song?  Actually, Dirty Dancing came out a few months earlier, so I believe they may have been trying to capitalize on the success of that movie.  Regardless, it was a terrible scene that brings the movie to a screeching halt.  There are several lame attempts to connect this movie to the original.  Jason Bateman’s Todd Howard is the cousin of Fox’s character from the original.  They even bring back Scott’s dad, James Hampton, for two scenes.  The character of Stiles awesomely played by Jerry Levine in the first movie is recast and played by someone that looks completely different and doesn’t have half the charisma of the original.  They even bring back the character of Coach Finstock but, again, recast him with a goofier actor.  They also bring back Chubby from the first movie.  All of these feel more like the studio saying, “Hey, remember the original movie?  It was good right?  So you’ll remember these guys and like this movie even though it sucks”.  I was really hoping to have been colored by my love of the original when I saw this in the theater, but it wasn’t that.  The movie just blew.  I was surprised to find out Todd’s faculty advisor is played by Kim Darby.  I didn’t even remember it was her.  She was the little girl in True Grit with John Wayne, as well as the mom in Better Off Dead.  She’s not great either.  So, yes, overall this is probably as bad as you remember.  However, I still have a soft spot for it because it’s a Teen Wolf movie.  And I’m looking forward to MTV’s take on it.  I’ll probably hate it, because by all indications they are totally gaying it up like Twilight, but I’m going to watch it.


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Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of Universal’s The Wolfman (2010)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, reviews, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2010 by Paxton

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After this, there is one more day of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010.  It’s hard to believe we are almost all done.  I’ve been planning this since January.

Anyway, Day 4 of werewolf movie week. Originally, today’s review was going to be of Hammer’s 1961 classic, Curse of the Werewolf starring Oliver Reed. However, obtaining a copy of that movie was harder than I expected, so I moved the below review from the end of yesterday’s Universal reviews over to here.  What may happen is that I’ll post “Special Edition” reviews in the next few weeks for AWESOME-tober-fest 2010 that didn’t make the cut.  Movies like Curse of the Werewolf and Full Moon High as well as TV Shows Big Wolf on Campus and Hilarious House of Frightenstein would be included. So, without further ado, let’s move on to my review of Universal’s 2010 remake, The Wolfman.

The Wolfman 2010

As I’ve mentioned before, I loved the original Universal Wolf Man movie.  Werewolves have been my favorite monsters for years.  So, yes, I was super excited to hear Universal was bringing back their monster movies. They started with The Mummy back in 1999. Then around 2006-2007 I first read about The Wolf Man remake starring Benicio Del Toro as Talbot. While I’m not a huge Del Toro fan, I could see him as Talbot. Universal also went and got Rick Baker to do the wolf makeup and filled out the cast with other great actors; Sir Anthony Hopkins as John Talbot, Emily Blunt as Gwen and Hugo Weaving as a police inspector. Universal picked Andrew Kevin Walker to write the screenplay which was a great choice as he wrote moody thrillers like Sleepy Hollow, 8MM and Se7en.  And Mark Romaneck was selected as director in January 2007 and he was, to me, unproven but he had all this talent around him so I wasn’t too worried.

Then the production problems started.  Romaneck quit in February 2008.  Universal considered hiring Brett Ratner (NO!!) but came to their senses and hired Joe Johnston to deliver the finished film.  The release date slipped.  It was originally scheduled for Nov 12, 2008, but it slipped several times until it finally landed on Feb 12, 2010.  An interesting choice to open this on Valentine’s Day weekend.  Also interesting was that at no time was the movie slated to be released in October on Halloween.  The closest they got was November 2009.  Wonder what happened there.  Danny Elfman was hired to score the picture, however Universal didn’t think it fit with the tone of the movie so they hired another person to score it, but that too was scrapped and the Elfman score was reinstated.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of the movie The Howling (1981)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, reviews, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to Day 18 of AWESOME-tober-fest. We are finishing up this month long run into Halloween with reviews of werewolf movies this week. Today, I’m taking a look at a 1981 Joe Dante horror classic, The Howling.

The Howling movie

Two weeks ago I reviewed the original 1977 Brandner novel, The Howling.  While it was slowly paced, it was an adequate werewolf story I thought did a good job of setting up a possible series of books about Brandner’s werewolves as, from the book, they obviously had a much larger back story than was told in the novel.

Well, Brandner’s book was optioned for a movie and Joe Dante was picked as the director, Rick Baker was chosen to do the Special Effects and The Howling movie was made in 1981.  Only, as Hollywood is want to do, the story was changed.  Honestly, a lot of the major story beats were the same, it was many of the details that were changed. But Rick Baker wound up leaving the production to do the effects for American Werewolf in London so the end of the movie suffered.

The main character, Karen White, is a television journalist who has a bad encounter with a serial killer, Eddie Quist (played by the hologram doctor from Star Trek Voyager).  After the serial killer is shot down when he attacks her, Karen and her husband travel out to this hippie community called The Colony for some rest and relaxation.  They meet the creepy members of The Colony in this weird beach bonfire party scene where we are introduced to Marsha.  Marsha overacts every single scene she’s in and constantly looks at everyone with these “crazy eyes”. She obviously takes a shine to Karen’s husband and everyone stands around awkwardly to some weird, out of place for a beach party O Brother Where Art Thou music.

Anyway, Karen is constantly haunted by her earlier encounter with Eddie and she starts to hear inhuman howling in the middle of the night.  That howling draws her husband to this clearing in the woods where he has sex with crazy eyes and they start changing into wolves in the middle of sex and then, at the very end, they turn into cartoon wolves (seriously, I guess they ran out of budget because the end of the scene is animated).  It’s pretty epic.  After this, the husband starts to get violent and belligerent towards his wife, even going so far as smacking her in the chops when she continues to whine about the night howling and how different he’s been acting lately.  Eventually Karen’s friend shows up, they start investigating the town, find out Eddie, who’s supposed to be dead, is actually there at The Colony and that he and everyone else is a werewolf.  While trying to notify her husband, the friend is attacked and killed in a nice scene.  I really like the look of the werewolf in this scene right before he kills the friend. You can tell Baker designed the hell out of this werewolf.  Very demon-like. Bravo.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2010: Review of Stephen King’s Silver Bullet

Posted in 80s, books, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, werewolf, werewolves with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by Paxton

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Welcome to the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest 2010. This week I’m reviewing werewolf movies. Today, I’m reviewing the movie version of Stephen King’s novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, the movie changed the title to Silver Bullet.

Silver Bullet poster

Released in 1985, Stephen King’s Silver Bullet stars Corey Haim as paralyzed Marty Coslaw, Gary Busey as his alcoholic uncle and Megan Follows as his sister.  The movie was based on the 1983 graphic novella, Cycle of the Werewolf, also by Stephen King.  The movie follows the basic gist of the novella about a werewolf terrorizing the small town of Tarker’s Mill, Maine.

Silver Bullet VHS

This movie has garnered much hatred from Stephen King fans as well as horror movie fans due to the horrible quality of the movie.  And yes, the movie isn’t that great.  I watched it many years ago on video cassette and remember thinking it blew big time.  However, I DVRed it a few weeks ago off of EncoreHD and watched it very recently and didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would.  It’s a fairly decent B werewolf movie.

Check out the trailer:

While the movie does take the basic plot elements of the novella; a paralyzed boy discovers a werewolf is murdering the people in his town, it pretty much eliminates following the werewolf’s killing sprees during the different cycles of the full moon throughout an entire calendar year.  The movie takes place within a week or two during the Spring of 1976 (if the events do happen over several months like in the novella, the movie didn’t really do a good job of illustrating that).  It almost makes the werewolf killings seem like a recent occurrence whereas in the book the killings build up over months and the town labels the serial killer The Full Moon Killer.  Most of the movie is uselessly narrated by the sister from the future as if she’s looking back at that time in her life. There really seemed to be no reason to have this narration because the movie never really follows up on it.

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