In stories about monsters, we find the truth about mankind. Such stories reflect our fears about life and death and everything in between. Most of all, they reflect our fears about ourselves. Their habit of telling unpalatable truths does not always win our monstrous reflections much sympathy, yet one monster tends to be cut a little more slack than most—probably because his monstrousness is often not his own fault. Rather, the werewolf tends to be monsterdom’s whipping-boy, the embodiment of a cosmic joke that can best be summarised as “wrong place, wrong time”.
So join us for a month of monster movies guaranteed to give you the warm and fuzzies!
|1000 Misspent Hours and Counting||Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror||Wait a minute— Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror?! It’s werewolf month at the B-Masters Cabal, and El Santo reviews a movie called Frankenstein’s Bloody Terror as his roundtable contribution? Hey, don’t look at me— blame it on Sam Sherman.|
|And You Call Yourself a Scientist!||Wolf Blood||And it is at this point that Wolf Blood takes on a whole new significance for the modern viewer, as it becomes harder and harder not to read into it an allegory of, say, medically-acquired HIV. Even the cruel and ugly treatment sometimes meted out to people in that situation is subsequently mirrored in the behaviour of the loggers, once word of Bannister’s transfusion spreads from Consolidated to the Ford camp. Bannister does eventually recover from his injuries under Edith’s careful nursing, but when he is ready to return to work, he finds that his entire world has changed in the interim. His former friends avoid him whenever they can, and treat him coldly and distantly when they cannot. They whisper together in groups, and cast wary glances at him. Not one of them will look him in the face.|
|Werewolf of London||In particular, I enjoy the way this film involves a desperate battle between two men to avoid becoming killers; a battle that, ironically, finally turns deadly. Yogami is especially interesting in this respect, as he seems to have no close personal ties, far less Wilfred Glendon’s emotional imperatives; yet after what we know to be at least seven years of affliction, we find him by no means giving up and giving in, but still trying to find a way to avoid his manifest destiny — even if it means resorting to some pretty underhanded tactics. Warner Oland gives a dignified performance here (a bit too dignified: you can’t really imagine him scampering around slaughtering chambermaids), suggesting the weariness of the soul that drives Yogami to pursue the Mariphasa flowers for himself, regardless of the consequences to Glendon and Lisa.|
|Braineater||Plenilunio||If this sort of character is unusual for Islas, it’s also unusual for the werewolf genre, which has been defined for most of its history by the Larry Talbot-style reluctant monster. Werewolves in the movies are almost always the victims of circumstance, the innocents transformed into beasts against their will, who are tormented by the things they do when the moon-madness is on them. Not this time: in Plenilunio, we’re given a werewolf who relishes his condition.|
|Jabootu’s Bad Movie Dimension||The Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf||The sequel’s more overt camp antics, not to mention severe audience wincing, begin immediately. We open on a star field (!) over which appears the visage of *WINCE* Christopher Lee. He stentoriously intones some of the most ridiculous gobbledygook you’ll hear this side of Frankenstein Island. As he fades into shot over said star field, we see he is reciting from some Ancient Tome. The Necrononsensicon, perhaps.|
|The Unknown Movies||My Mom’s a Werewolf||While there are some movies where acting funny is appropriate, My Mom’s A Werewolf is not one of them. The movie is about ordinary people getting involved in an extraordinary situation. So there should be an undercurrent of normalcy running throughout. And when the normalcy clashes with the extraordinary, the reaction of the various characters to this collision could generate a lot of humor. But as it is, every character in the cast is far from normal. The characters are as broad and outrageous as the situation, so when the two clash, absolutely no sparks are generated. But there is a bigger problem with the actors acting “funny”. Because they act “funny”, they come across as stupid. Not amusingly moronic, as comedians like Abbot and Costello have done so successfully in the past, but stupid in a manner that in short order makes the audience hostile towards them.|