The Three Greatest Werewolf Films of All Time!

The Three Greatest Werewolf Films of All Time all came out the same year, 1981. Talk about the zeitgeist in action.

The films are:

 

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THE HOWLING (1981) – Don’t hold the awful sequels against this original, the original is justifiably lauded for a reason.  Like AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, this was a movie made by kids, who believed there were still worlds to conquer. A talented young Joe Dante as director, a brilliant young John Sayles as Screenwriter, a gifted 19 year old Rob Boteen, coming off of assisting Rick Baker, creating one of the greatest special effect, transformation sequences in the history of film… and in front the camera a legendary cast of character and veteran actors, led by Dee Wallace’s brilliant performance; all come together to create one of the most beloved and brilliant films of its kind, or any kind.

 

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AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON (1981) – No one remembers or continually goes back to the ‘serious’ A-films of 1981, but this little thought of and hard fought and continually enjoyable B-picture, by a young maverick director John Landis and young makeup/special effects artist Rick Baker, remains now almost 40years later, the stuff that careers and legends are made of. An academy award for its makeup effects, it is forever the standard by which all such films are judged.

 

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WOLFEN (1981) – Is the oft overlooked 3rd film , that makes up the holy trinity of great werewolf films released in 1981. it lacks the transformation and special effects that immortalize THE HOWLING and AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and perhaps that accounts for its under the radar status.

Also it is not a showy, flashy horror film, it is something a lot darker and more dire. WOLFEN is a slow, brooding, unnerving, and genuinely frightening study and indictment, not so much of monsters… as of men. It is a brilliant film, the first and only dramatic feature film by director Michael Wadleigh, whose only other credits included documentaries. With a director that was nearly 40, this was (unlike HOWLING and AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON) not a film done by talented, optimistic kids; instead there is a more mature, pensive, jaundiced eye at work here.

While a disappointment in the box office, largely because it was a more thoughtful film than the advertising promised, this film is a masterpiece. It ended Wadleigh’s career before it had a chance to grow, and that is a shame. This first film leaves us to only wonder, what subsequent dramatic films from him, could have been.

WOLFEN has so many strengths. Albert Finney delivers one of his great performances, buoyed by other talented actors… Gregory Hines, Edward Olmos, the script is captivating, the James Horner score haunting, and it is a truly frightening film, in ways that has nothing to do with what you see. Of the three great Werewolf films, it is the one that I think has the most to say. It is just a phenomenal, unjustly forgotten film. And if you do pick up the film via Bluray or streaming, I also STRONGLY urge you to pick up the Whitley Strieber audio-book performed by the late, great Roddy McDowall. That is equally a masterpiece.

 

Well hope you found that little look at the three greatest Werewolf films, enjoyable and informative. If you did, please subscribe, and patronize the links below. Your purchases help earn a few needed pennies for this blog, to keep the proverbial doors open. Much appreciated!

 

Till next time… be well!

WOLFEN Blu-Ray

I hope one of the Blu-Ray labels finally releases a worthy, feature filled director’s commentary. This movie deserves it.

WOLFEN Audio Book performed by Roddy McDowell

AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON

THE HOWLING

and

Stuck at home Item of the Day!

The Best of Boutique Blu-ray Labels in the age of Streaming! Oct 2019 to February 2020 ARROW Collection Update!

Despite claims of the death of physical media, Blu-ray Boutique labels, HERE IN 2020, are putting out some of the best physical content… EVER!

Here then are MUST OWN Blu-rays in the age of streaming and digital, acquired between October 2019 and February 2020!

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While the Criterion Collection is the most well known Boutique or Quality Curated Dvd/Blu-Ray label, coming back to physical media I was surprised to find there are new kids on the block, that arguably not just equal Criterion, but edge it out in terms of features and overall quality of packing, booklet, materials, etc.

One such Blu-Ray label is ARROW VIDEO. Following on the heels of SCREAM FACTORY getting me back into physical media in a major way in 2019, ARROW VIDEO was the next company I jumped in to with both feet. And is actually, SCREAM FACTORY aside, my favorite Blu-Ray label of 2019. And without doubt the label I purchased the most movies from in 2019.

Here Now are all the Arrow Video Blu-Ray movies picked up from Oct 2019 to now in February 2020.

 

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You can make a huge argument that Arrow’s feature rich AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON was THE BEST single Blu-ray release of 2019. For me it was a MUST OWN! You may still be able to pick up copies here.

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Great film! My first time seeing it, and is better than most films made today. Nice special features. Get it here!

Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia [Blu-ray]BRING ME THE HEAD OF ALFREDO GARCIA – Sam Peckinpah made several masterpieces, this is one of his best, probably only edged out by PAT GARRET & BILLY THE KID. This was his final word, on the avenging spirit made flesh. Get your copy here!

The webpage will not show this image anonymously.Lucio Fulci’s masterpieces are not his Ghoul/Zombie Films, these were the work of a filmmaker who had succumbed to the questionable tastes of the market (that had rejected his most beloved film, his attempt at art) and to an extent his own perverseness.

You want to see Fulci as a great director, then seek out LIZARD IN A WOMAN’S SKIN, DON’T TORTURE THE DUCKLING, SILVER SADDLE, MASSACRE TIME, THE PSYCHIC, BEATRICE CENCI (his favorite film) and arguably his best film ONE ON TOP THE OTHER (a homage to Hitchcock, that I actually think out does Hitchcock).

But that said, even these oft querulous and lowest common denominator peddling zombie films of his later years, have something to recommend them; namely Fulci’s unequaled imagination and real knack for composition of effectively baroque and unsettling imagery. Fulci knew how to drop your jaw, but also to stage a scene.

I quite, acknowledging its issues, I quite like CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD. And the Arrow presentation, with great commentaries, is the way to see it.

Get yours here.

 

Pt 1 of 2. Come back next installment for the conclusion of my ARROW VIDEO coverage. And if you are enjoying this coverage of physical media spread the word, give a like, subscribe, and email or comment.

Be well out there!