Following the twisted delights of Triangle British horror maestro Christopher Smith (Creep, Severance, Black Death) has announced he would like to bring his own unique spin to the werewolf film. Tentatively titled Bitch one of his next projects is to be an exclusively female Werewolf movie.
Of course the female lycanthrope film is not an entirely new concept. Back in 2000 Ginger Snaps was an original ‘werewolf as puberty metaphor’ grisly tale that had Goth girls turn nasty and decidedly hairy (urh!) following a severe bite in the woods.
Smith commented that his favourite werewolf movie The Howling had “the greatest half hour in the genre” due to its intensely ambiguous opening and that this is a certain quality he would like to replicate in his own lycanthropic tale. But with only a few cast iron successes in the genre’s 70 year plus history the director will want to tread with extreme caution – especially after the turgid results of Joe Johnston’s recent The Wolfman.
So in an attempt to warn him off producing something of equally inferior canine quality lets look at 5 cautionary howlers (sorry!) from the sometimes bloody great but more than often troubled lycanthropy film canon.
1. An American Werewolf in Paris
This sequel to John Landis’ classic carnivorous caper, An American Werewolf in Paris, sees the supposed daughter of the previous film’s ill-fated wolfman team up with American tourists to uncover an underground lair of drug-fuelled werewolves in gay Paree.
Instead of Rick Baker’s iconic Oscar winning transformation special-effects we are treated to some decidedly shoddy CGI metamorphosis – all without the original’s classy humour and genuine horror.
Result: a complete dog’s dinner.
More a midlife crisis drama than a full on hairy-man horror movie, Mike Nichols’ film has Jack Nicholson’s disgraced middle-aged publisher bark at the moon and lust over a too-young-to-be-in-his-league Michelle Pfeiffer following his New England encounter with a furry beast.
James Spader is good value as Nicholson’s blood-thirsty rival but the dreaded dentures are woeful and somehow a 57-year old Nicholson can’t quite cut it as a beastly midnight prowler.
Wes Craven and his Scream franchise screenwriting partner Kevin Williamson attempted to breathe some post-modern life into the shape-shifting franchise with this 2005 effort.
However, although boasting an early role for indie favourite Jesse Eisenberg the film literally lived up to its titular proceedings – from shoddy CGI to howlingly bad dialogue.
We like the Lon Chaney Jr. referencing though.
4. Teen Wolf Too
Teen Wolf was about the growing pains of a teenage boy faced with the plight of a family curse that turns him hairy periodically. It had a lightweight charm thanks to the comedic charisma of a young Michael J Fox – who seemed at that time to specialise in turning losers into winners.
This needless sequel sees future Arresting Development star Jason Bateman take the lead to disastrous effect. Exploitation fifties teenage angst pic I Was a Teenage Werewolf was far more pertinent a ‘werewolf as puberty’ metaphor.
5. The Wolfman
This latest lupine incarnation is probably the most disappointing of them all considering the talent involved. Who better than bewhiskered Benicio Del Toro taking the titular lead and SF veteran Rick Baker helming the transformation effects?
Sadly the CGI/man-in-suit results are mismatched and Del Toro delivers a restrained if tortured performance, while infamous script changing mares any coherence in the plot. A missed opportunity indeed – let’s hope Mr Smith can deliver better.