Tuesday, October 16, 2012

5 Favorite Lesser-Known Werewolf Movies

Werewolf Week? You had to know a countdown was coming. In truth this list started off as a top ten all time favorites. The usuals were all present: The Wolfman (1941), Ginger Snaps, An American Werewolf in London, Wolf.... Favorites all the way around to be sure, but it's safe to say they're everyone else's favorites too. What's the fun in reading the same old favorites list? So I paired it down to the following five lesser-known lycans I love:

5. The Werewolf (1956)

Dr. Emery Forrest: But to take a stranger, a man injured in an accident, and give him a full inoculation of that serum.
Dr. Morgan Chambers: Yes, I'd almost forgotten about him. So much could fail if he should remember and tell someone what he knows about us. There's nothing else left but to-...
Dr. Emery Forrest: You're not going to kill him!
Dr. Morgan Chambers: You think he still wants to live after what he's become? It would be an act of charity.

Some movies are so random. Most B- movie horror from the 50's and 60's fit the bill to a T-- giant Bugs, brains that wouldn't die, 50 foot women... I guess we have the atomic age to thank for it . And I do. I thank it every day of my little cinematically obsessed life. Especially since it brought us this little gem of a genetically engineered werewolf. I was only recently introduced to this flick, but something about it has stuck with me. Too soon to really put my finger on it, but it deserves a mention.


4. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

"I just got a line on Dracula and the Monster. A certain Dr. Lajos has been receiving a lot of electrical equipment - just the type necessary to revive the Monster!"

Count Dracula is on the move with Frankenstein's Monster, and plans to revive him with a fresh brain in a conveniently placed spooky castle laboratory on an island off the coast of... Florida? While we're never told where the plan goes after that, since it involves Dracula you can guess nothing good will probably come of it. Luckily, Larry Talbot is hot on the trail, but he'll need a little help to defeat the prince of darkness and the monster. Unfortunately, the only people he manages to scrounge up are baggage clerks Chick (Bud Abbot) and Wilbur (Lou Costello)... we're screwed. While, it says Frankenstein in the title-- who of course they never actually meet-- they manage to stumble across nearly everyone from the classic Universal monster ouvre: Dracula (Bela Lagosi), The Monster (Glen Strange) and The Wolfman (Lon Chaney. Jr.) and a small cameo by The Invisible Man (voiced by Vincent Price). I remember watching this movie as a kid more vividly than I do watching the monster movies that inspired it. You'd think it'd be the other way around, but I think it's because this is the flick that I fell officially in love with Lon Chaney and Vincent Price and you never forget your first love.


3. She Wolf of London (1946)

A slew of grisly murders terrorizes London and suspicion falls on a young, wealthy woman that is said to have werewolves hanging out in her family tree. Poor, poor London. Why does it get hit with all the wolfies? Basically, the run down is Lassie's mom gets Gaslighted by her family. It's definitely more thriller mystery than horror, but it always comes to mind when I'm thinking along the lines of lycan for a movie marathon.


2. Howling II: Your Sister is a Werewolf (1985)

"For it is written: the inhabitants of the Earth have been made drunk with her blood. And I saw her sent upon a hairy beast and she held forth a golden chalice full of the filthiness of fornications. And upon her forehead was written: "Behold I am the great mother of harlots and all abominations of the Earth."

I know, I know. I'm supposed to list The Howling, but I'm not gonna, and I'll tell you why. Two words: Christopher. Lee. In addition the original movie is pretty well known and personally, I've always been on the fence about it. I liked it well enough, but it was "Your Sister is A Werewolf" that finally got me interested into exploring the Howling franchise further (hopefully I won't regret it...) Which brings us back to the infallible Christopher Lee, I discovered the ridiculous horror goodness while lost on a Christopher Lee jag one night and managed to fall in love beyond Lee's magnanamous presence thanks to the MTV rock n roll 80's flash, the music and the Transylvanian skull strewn, backdrop. Lycan orgies aside it's my favorite and I won't apologize... except maybe to Dee Wallace and the complete fail of the recreation of Karen White's demise from the first film, which the sequel pulls its premise from. Sorry Dee.


 1. Silver Bullet (1985)

 "The last full moon of that spring came a little more than a month before school let out for summer vacation. Our town's long nightmare began that night. The killing had begun. But at first, no one knew it.... "

One fateful summer in the town of Tarker's Mills, Marty Coslaw (Corey Haim) and his sister Jane (Meghan Follows) are the only ones that know the truth about the murders plaguing their tiny, once peaceful town. A werewolf has moved in and only they can stop him.... A classic horror storyline if I ever saw it, but luckily, this 80's film has a charm and character all its own which I suppose we can thank Stephen King for. When I think of this movie, King isn't the first thing to come to mind, really even werewolved. Nope. It's Gary Busey ("Holy jumped-up baldheaded Jesus palomino!" Uncle Red, what big shiny teeth you have!) who totally steals this movie AND more importantly the church scene... you know the one I'm talking about if you've seen it. That scene stole my heart and has yet to give it back. The ensemble cast is also pretty amazing, with Everett McGill (always a satisfyingly bad guy) Terry O'Quinn (before becoming The Stepfather or Lost on that crazy island...), and Laurence Tierney with his "Peacemaker". I am disappointed every time I watch, however, that Jane never once wears her hair in braids for anyone to pull. But I guess since both Silver Bullet and Anne of Green Gables were released in 1985, it was a bit too soon for a pop culture nod... Still, to this day, whenever Meghan Follows pops up I want someone to pull her braids, which all I remember from that movie. Weird? Probably not.


What are some of your favorites?

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