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Werewolf Movies

October 29, 2009 4:03 p.m.

KPBS Film Critic Beth Accomando suggests some werewolf movies to watch this Halloween.

Related Story: Werewolves Versus Vampires


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

KPBS FM Radio: Halloween DVDs –Werewolves
By Beth Accomando
Air date: October 30, 2009

If you are still pondering what to dress as for Halloween, consider Vampires and werewolves. The upcoming release of “New Moon,” the second installment of the “Twilight Saga” looks to reignite that age-old rivalry between werewolves and vampires. KPBS film critic Beth Accomando thinks vampires have been getting all the attention recently so she has these werewolf movie recommendations.

WEREWOLF(ba).wav SOQ 3:50 (music out at 4:50)

(Tag:) You can find these werewolf movies on DVD. Twilight New Moon opens on November 20. You can find more of Beth’s reviews online at K-P-B-S-dot-O-R-G-slash-cinema-junkie.


Coming up later this morning, KPBS film critic Beth Accomando has some advice for Halloween viewing.

CLIP It’s a full moon… beware the moon… and stick to the road… oops. (howl)

Be listening as Beth recommends some howling good werewolf films, that’s coming up on Morning Edition.

In “New Moon,” Bella finds herself even more torn between Edward, the sparkling vampire, and Jacob, the hunky werewolf. But while vampires have always maintained their popularity, werewolves have never caught on in quite the same way.

SFX Howl

Vampires have always had a sexy component, even going back to Bram Stoker’s 19th century novel “Dracula.” “The Lost Boys” put their appeal in hip contemporary terms: “Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It’s fun to be a vampire.” Vampires dress well, look cool, seduce you, and then bite you on the neck. What’s not to like? Werewolves on the other hand, transform during a full moon, and become hairy, wolfen creatures. Then they wake up in the morning naked with blood on their breath and not knowing where they’ve been or what they’ve done the night before.

CLIP American Werewolf in London

But werewolves might be challenging bloodsuckers as this year’s sexy beast – thanks to the ripped hard bodies of “New Moon’s” Wolf Pack. But werewolves have a long history in cinema. The silent film “Wolf Blood” is considered the first werewolf movie. But in 1941 Lon Chaney gave us the first memorable Wolf Man. Here he gets an introduction to werewolves from a lovely shop girl.

CLIP The Wolf Man

Chaney gave us a tormented soul and a man who didn’t realize that he was cursed. Every full moon he would transform, attack people, and then be haunted by unclear memories. In that film, Claude Rains tries to give a rational explanation for lycanthropy.

CLIP The Wolf Man

But we know better. In “An American Werewolf in London,” David Naughton is bit by a werewolf and his friend is killed by one. The decaying ghost of his dead friend explains the curse of the werewolf.

CLIP An American Werewolf in London

Of course Naughton doesn’t heed the warning, and he does indeed transform in fabulous fashion thanks to Rick Baker’s still impressive make up and effects.

SFX transformation scene with cracking bone sounds and howling

The film also contains the best lycan soundtrack ever featuring Blue Moon, Moondance, and Bad Moon Rising among others.

Lycanthropy was just an added problem of youth for Oliver Reed in “The Curse of the Werewolf.” For a brief moment he hopes the love of a good woman can save him.

CLIP Curse of the Werewolf: Will you marry me…

But at the first full moon…

CLIP Curse of the Werewolf: get away…

For a perverse psycho-sexual fairy tale take on werewolves, there’s Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves.”

CLIP The Company of Wolves: A wolf may be more than he seems, the worst kind is the one that’s hairy on the inside, when they bite you they drag you with them to hell.

Then for more action, there’s “Dog Soldiers.” This one has a wicked sense of fun as a group of soldiers in Scotland can’t believe that their enemy is a pack of werewolves.

CLIP Dog Soldiers

These films provide a good intro to werewolves and maybe they’ll make you warm up to the big hairy, tormented beasts. And in addition to “New Moon” next month, you can look forward to Benicio Del Toro in the remake of “The Wolf Man” next year.

For KPBS, I’m Beth Accomando.

MUSIC OUT Bad Moon Rising