House of the Wolf Man
Directed by Eben McGarr
Starring Ron Chaney
Available on DVD
The 31 Days of Halloween wraps up today with not one, not two, but three different reviews. We start with a modern “vintage” film, in the 2009 direct-to-DVD film, House of the Wolf Man. The concept is simple, take the old Universal Studios Monsters, make a new movie with them (or as close as you can legally get without paying for the rights) in classic style of black and white, mix in one Chaney family relative and instant success?

Oh if only that worked out. Normally I try not to do spoilers in reviews, but this movie isn’t good and if you’re interested in seeing it, the review will only help to guide you to the film (and possibly lower your expectations to a realistic level) and if you’re not going to see it, what do you care if I spoil it?

The plot is simple enough and the concept is actually novel, fill in the gap of the “House of” series from Universal. You see, once Universal realized they had a money making franchise on their hands with the monsters, they started putting them together to do battle. First in Wolf Man meets Frankenstein and then a series of films with “House Of” in the title. The Wolf Man never got a House film, until now.

We start out with two kids arriving at a spooky old castle. The kids are Reed and Mary Chapel, brother and sister. Reed is dressed like a 50’s high school football player and could have been an extra on Dobie Gillis. Mary has really weird and unnatural shaped hair. They’ve been summoned to the house because they might be heir to it. Once inside they meet a creepy butler and the owner, mad scientist Bela Reinhardt. We know he’s mad, because he has the outfit. Also his face never changes expression. Then again, maybe that’s just Ron Chaney’s bad acting.
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Creativity in Hollywood is dead, but we all knew that didn’t we. Everything is either a sequel or a remake, with more often being the latter. Amazingly there are lots of movies out that are remakes that I sometimes didn’t even know was a remake. That’s not to say I’m against all remakes, sometimes a movie can be improved upon or redone in a way to make it relevant to a new audience. Today comes the news that “An American Werewolf in London” is going to be remade.

John Landis spoke on the matter to BloodyDisgusting:

“Yes, Dimension is now in negotiation for the ‘An American Werewolf in London’ remake rights. Perhaps someone will make a brilliant movie out of it, regardless, my film comes out on Blu-ray this summer and looks amazing. I was afraid the digital cleaning of the negative would result in too clear a picture and hurt Rick Baker’s make-up, when in fact the incredibly crisp detail actually makes Rick stuff look even better!”

Apparently Dimension films and the Weinstein brothers will take a crack at this at some point down the road. While I think the original film is a tad dated, it’s not really up for remake material. I consider it one of the real modern classic horror movies. The film isn’t exactly a traditional werewolf story, but it more or less could be. There isn’t anything there that couldn’t be replicated while being original. You could write your own werewolf story and not have it be a “remake”… Which ultimately will probably be what this film is. American Werewolf in London in name only, which will probably benefit fans of the old film.

They made a sequel some years later that wasn’t a terrible film but was a complete comedy. I never really understood that as I know there are some dark comedy elements to the original, but it’s hardly a movie that you laugh at. I remember seeing An American Werewolf in Paris and laughing right off. Intentional laughs mind you, not ones based off the crapiness of the movie.

As long as the new movie features Warren Zevon’s Werewolves of London song I approve. Want to talk about bad remakes? Kid Rock’s recent riff of that song. Everytime I heard that familiar piano tune on the radio I’d crank it about to jam out to some Zevon, only to realize it was that Kid Rock disasterpiece.

I guess werewolves will be the next big thing. Benicio Del Toro’s Wolfman remake looks to be incredible from what little I’ve seen, so maybe this will follow in those footsteps and be a truly good remake. Expect to hear about a Howling remake any day I’m sure.

Like Werewolves? Well one of Moon Knight’s oldest enemies is Marvel’s Werewolf by night! Be sure to tune into Infinite Hollywood tonight at 11PM EST for more exclusive Moon Knight content here on Moon Knight week!