Sssshhhhh!! Did you hear that? There’s a rustling in the trees and it’s coming from behind us. Walk lightly but briskly. Walk faster, I can hear it getting closer and I don’t know what it is. Ssshhhhh!! Maybe if we separate it’ll get distracted; I don’t know, I’m trying to survive. Hurry, hurry, hurry… what are you waiting for? I took a look at it…OH…MY…GOD!!!!
Werewolves. What can be said about the man wolf that has haunted our nightmares for generations? These creatures have been around for as long as I can remember and when I wasn’t getting picked on for being hairy as a werewolf, I was watching them rip people to shreds in movies. For a long time I couldn’t stand the sight of them but now? They’re kind of cool.
I’d be lying if I didn’t admire to some degree the cool factor of possessing the ability to transform from man to beast, either by will or by curse. If the latter, then that’s horrible; imagine the horror of taking someone out on a date: dinner was great, they had their favorite dessert and your jokes were hitting all the right beats. As the night draws to an end you walk your date home, casually chatting while walking up the remaining steps to the door. You go in for the kiss and right then and there, as luck would have it, your lips turn into a gnarling snout.
Given the choice most people would opt for choosing to transform. Never having any fear when walking down a dark alley as would be muggers and thieves are nothing more than a midnight snack to you. Your only real fear would be killing them accidentally. Accidentally. Another plus side would have to be never losing any socks during the wash as you could sniff your way around your apartment and find it in no time. Those are the fun aspects of being a werewolf, but what about the deadlier parts?
As any movie has shown, werewolves are deadly creatures. Not only taller than the average man but also physically stronger and faster. Razor sharp claws rival razor sharp teeth; your body covered in fur seemingly affording you a layer of protection against small knives and punches. Werewolves are blood-thirsty creatures of the night and one of the best portrayals of such animal would be Wolf starring Jack Nicholson.
Released in 1994 and distributed by Columbia Pictures (*Sorry, not Universal – Ed. note), Wolf was bloody, visceral and nightmarish-and we LOVED IT! Widely regarded as one of the best on screen transformations, director Mike Nichols delivered an impressive visual. The movie itself presents an interesting take on the werewolf mythos by placing the creature in the time of release, a modern day city whereas most movie of the genre place the creature in a 19th century countryside. Much like the classic Universal monster film and its remake.
We can’t talk Wolf without mentioning the film’s poster. When I see it I think of mystery, seduction, secrets, and horror. With a simple design of black and white contrast featuring the main actors with half face silhouettes Jack’s eyes yellow you get the feel that something sinister is under there.
In more recent years we were given The Wolfman. A 2010 remake by Universal Pictures of the 1941 film of the same name also by Universal Pictures. Possibly my personal favorite, it gave us modern effects that were both scary and impressive, made 19th century England fit in with 21st century USA and offered ethnic diversity in the role without making it cheesy or obvious. Benicio Del Toro delivers an applause worthy performance as both man and beast while veteran actor Anthony Hopkins adds a touch of old world class. Emily Blunt and Hugo Weaving round out the cast with Joe Johnston as director.
While the film may have taken in less money than needed to make it a major hit, I can’t help but feel that maybe it was more to do with movie goers and less on the shoulders of those involved. The Wolfman is a solid movie with a great cast, impressive effects and a memorable feel, but it was released during a time when Harry Potter and Twilight were dominating the box office. It also suffered unfortunately from the genre itself kind of being an outdated one. Horror films have been focusing on demonic possession, hauntings, and vampires.
Maybe it’s time for a resurgence? Universal Pictures is currently gearing itself up for a complete relaunch of all of the monsters that that our grandparents loved. The Mummy, Creature from the Black Lagoon, Dracula and of course, The Wolfman. With 6 years having passed since the film, maybe the studio has learned a thing or two. The new werewolf movie will be apart of a shared universe so don’t expect to see the 2010 werewolf making an appearance, but it is possible to see Luke Evans’ Dracula meet the werewolf.
Timing is also a factor, instead of teen vampires and witches we have superheroes. Will the new werewolf movie feature explosions? With the sheer strength, terror and physical attributes of werewolves, maybe they are closer to comic book characters than we think and if so this would be the perfect time for it. It’s been a while since we’ve had a quality werewolf movie, isn’t it about time? If you’re like me, you’ll be stocking up on silver bullets as you eagerly await the opening credits.
(Matt Ramos – @SuperSerumCOMIX)