6WH: Week 2 - The Lycanthropic Edition

The Six Weeks of Halloween continues this week with a trio of movies featuring Werewolves, along with the usual spat of movie trailers and comedic shorts. Enjoy:
  • An American Werewolf in London (trailer)
  • The Wolf Man (1941) (trailer)
  • Futurama Episode: The Honking (sorry, vid not online)
  • The Howling: Director Joe Dante's tribute to the werewolf movie isn't the finest example of the genre (heck, it isn't even the finest werewolf movie of 1981, which is a distinction that belongs to An American Werewolf in London), but his obvious enthusiasm comes through during the proceedings, and it's hard to dislike the results. The story follows a TV reporter who takes a trip into the countryside after she has a disturbing experience with a serial killer. Werewolf-laden hijinks ensue. Again, it's quite entertaining, and the werwolf movie staple of the transformation scene is handled well by makeup expert Rob Bottin. Lots of references and visual puns, and the gorgeous Elisabeth Brooks make the film nice to look at, despite the low budget (Dante was a graduate of Roger Corman's low-budget school of filmmaking, so he knew how to stretch a buck). A solid, entertaining werewolf movie, but not fine cinema. What did I learn from this movie? When your vegetarian boyfriend starts tearing into some ribs with glee, he has most likely become a werewolf. ***
  • How to Make Yourself a Pinhead
  • Dracula (teaser)
  • Young Frankenstein (trailer)
  • The Monster Squad: A bunch of kids battle the classic Universal monsters in the suburbs. So this one is kinda cheating, as it's not primarily a werewolf movie, but it does feature a werewolf along with several other iconic monsters. Lead by Dracula, the monsters include the Wolf Man, the Mummy, the Frankenstein monster, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. If The Howling was a tribute to werewolf movies, this is a tribute to the whole stable of Universal monster movies. This time, the filmmakers embrace their B-movie roots and the result is a fun and charming movie. This is a movie that sorta mixes 80s horror-comedy (stuff like Ghostbusters, Gremlins, etc...) with the kiddie adventure genre (Goonies, Explorers, Space Camp, etc...) to reasonable success (not sure why the kiddie adventure genre doesn't get more love these days - perhaps because the movies are so very unrealistic). It's great fun, if a little silly. What did I learn from this movie? Indeed, the most famous thing about the movie is the werewolf anatomy lesson. ***
  • The Wolf Man (1999) (cartoon short by Tim Hope)
  • Grindhouse: Werewolf Women Of The S.S. (fake trailer)
  • Teen Wolf (trailer)
  • The Company of Wolves: Neil Jordan's nightmare about wolves and deep, dark forests that evokes and explores the Little Red Riding Hood story. The film is stylish, dark and moody, with a rather strange narrative structure. The film is literally the dream of a modern-day girl, but within the dream, it features several stories centering around wolves (most of the stories are told by Granny in an apparent attempt to scare our heroine away from men). This winds up seeming a bit hokey, but the creepy atmosphere is undeniable and Jordan is a talented director. The werewolves in the film are interesting (and the transformations handled well) in that when the transformation is complete, the wolf looks like, well, a regular wolf (not a man-like wolf creature). The film does feature one of the most interesting werewolf moments that I've seen. The father character heads out into the woods with a mob to hunt down a wolf that's been terrorizing the village. Successful, the father cuts off one of the wolf's paws as a trophy... but when he returns home, the paw has transformed into a human hand. Spooky. A little more artistic than the other movies this week, but ultimately, this movie could have used a bit more focus. What did I learn from this movie? Never stray from the path, never eat a windfall apple and never trust a man whose eyebrows meet in the middle (because, you know, he's probably a werewolf). **1/2
All in all, a pretty entertaining week. Perhaps sometime in the next four weeks, I can pull together a group large enough to play the Werewolf mind game. I'm not sure what next week's schedule will hold in store, but it will probably be more of a mixed bag, rather than the themed weeks I've been doing.

In an effort to further steal from kernunrex, I picked up a pack of Halloween Jones Soda this week... I chose the not-so-adventurous Blood Orange flavor, which I really liked a lot (though it's a pretty standard orange soda style flavor, it's still tasty). Up next will be the Candy Corn flavor.