Sunday, February 14, 2010

Howl of the Werewolf - the movie!

So, I've just been to see Howl of the Werewolf... sorry, The Wolfman... and a very fine film it was too. 142 minutes of gruesome skin-changing fun - exactly what you want from a movie released in time for Valentine's weekend.

The Wolfman is old school horror, a classic jump out of skin shocker, enhanced by modern special effects although, pleasingly, prosthetics and make-up are just as important as the CGI elements in the film. Anthony Hopkins sleep walks through his part, but Bernicio Del Toro is perfectly cast as the eponymous monster of the title. Emily Blunt does what she has to (which isn't very much) but Hugo Weaving, as disgraced Ripper-hunter Inspector Aberline, is great fun to watch - especially in the scene in the village tavern.

The setting is late 19th century (1891 to be precise) and everything is suitably grim, rundown, gloomy, smoky and gothic. There are creepy mansions, foggy London streets, rugged moorland studded with standing stones and brooding skies. Danny Elfman's score evokes the music of Bram Stoker's Dracula and Sleepy Hollow. There are plenty of OTT bloody deaths to get your teeth into, and Joe Johnston (the director) doesn't waste any time in getting the blood pumping with a drama attack on a gypsy camp and doesn't linger on the weeks between full moons either. Oh, and parts of it were filmed at Castle Combe in Wiltshire and others at Chatsworth House in Derbyshire.

Half way through The Wolfman briefly turns into An American Werewolf in Victorian London, and there's even a nod to the Piccadilly Circus scene from John Landau's classic, but it's an exciting sequence with a hilarious lead-in set within Lambeth Asylum.

But when you consider the subject matter of the film and the plot (particularly in the last reel) I couldn't help feeling that I was watching Howl of the Werewolf committed to celluloid - which was kinda cool, in it's own way. (Oh, and talking of Howl of the Werewolf I am reliably informed that it will be re-released later in the year as one the new format Fighting Fantasy books, which'll be cool too.)

So, to sum up, if you're into werewolves, Bernicio Del Toro or things that go bump in the night generally, then The Wolfman is for yoooooouuuu!

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