Werewolf: The Devil's Hound
When you consider all the variations in the horror film genre one stands out as leading the way in popularity, the werewolf flick. Every since Lon Chaney Jr. walked across the murky forest under a bright full moon and slowly transformed in to the Wolf-Man movie audiences have been fascinated with the concept of become a beast. People with such powers have appeared in myths and folklore through the ages and around the world. People just seem to like the idea of taking on the powers of a beast and perhaps the excuse that any damage they do is a result of them losing their human control. Well, if you collect films of a lycanthropic nature make room on your shelf for one more. Lion’s Gate has released ‘Werewolf: The Devil's Hound’. This one has everything that is required for the genre, fangs, growing hair, clothing being ripped and copious amounts of blood and gore. On the flip side of the coin this flick could have used a better structured script and a little less levity. Now horror films seem to come in two basic flavors, serious and comical. This film appears to have a little difficulty in deciding which one it wants to be. The film tries to find its way but falls short of success. One thing to remember since this is a popular sub-genre it is extremely difficult to come close to the leaders of the pack, so to speak. With movies like ‘American Werewolf in London’ that could combine humor and horror or the more myth driven cult classic ‘Wolfen’ this one has some steep competition to deal with. There is enough of what matters to make a reasonable flick for a weekend beer and pizza fright night. So gather some friends, turn the lights low and have a bit of predicable fun. You might want to think about a MST3K style time with your friends.
The text at the start of the movie informs us that the events that follow will take place in the near future. A full moon shines as a crude map of central Europe is shown zooming into a house in Germany. First thing to notice here is the music in the soundtrack; it is more of the zither sounding UFO tones that the spooky ‘deep in the forest’ musical cues. A man tells his son to go get his sister. He goes off to gather weapons including rifles with tranquilizer darts and nifty looking goggles with colored lights on the sides. Considering the fire power I guess they are used to sis doing more than breaking curfew. The camera shows the viewpoint of sis with the infrared look moving fast over the terrain. One look at the title of the film should give a clue at this point. Off in the distance a wolf howls, a furry humanoid shape runs quickly by. We switch between the green night vision goggles and her infrared vision like a traffic signal having a seizure. Some flashes of fur, a sticky sound or two and blood and guts follow, sis is mad and really needs to consider a good body waxing. The remaining men capture her and place her in a shipping create. I hope they tip the Fed Ex guy well.
Meanwhile back in the States, Connecticut to be exact, the Tripeg Special Effects Company is getting ready for the biggest demonstration they have ever done. This is a family run business and everything is riding on this show. The company consists of patriarch Phil Madden (Phil Gauvin), his son Kevin (Michael Dionne), his wife Char (Tamara Malawitz) and a receptionist Sharon. There is another son, Michael (Adam Loewenbaum) who is more into having a good time and looking for aliens. Vandals have been breaking into their warehouse and destroying their equipment including the all important robots needed for the demonstration. You would think if they could build a special effects robot they could make some sort of alarm to keep the neighborhood kids away. To make matters worse a shipment of fireworks failed to arrive and Char is waiting for a replacement crate. There is little stretch to the imagination required to figure out just what will be in the new crate they get. When Char calls the man in China about the replacement fireworks we know he is over there because he is wearing a conical coolie hat and is surrounded by Asian children. When the crate gets there we know what is in it because of the through the air hole infrared vision is used. Why there would be air holes in a crate of fireworks, well that is just plain thinking too much. This is only less than ten minutes into the flick so you better shut off all higher cognitive functions in your brain in order to go on. Kevin is at the office late one night catching up on things like wrapping his face with scotch tape and throwing a ball against the wall when there is a noise. The crate is broken, from the inside. Something gets out and bites him. Sharon obviously forgot something and runs back to the office only to wind up the first snack for the creature in just out of the box. At diner with his wife, dad and sister Elizabeth (Jennifer Marsella), who conveniently works in a vet’s office, Kevin seems to have a huge appetite. The creature snacks on a few more locals, we all know that locals are like potato chips, it’s impossible to eat just one. There are actually some cartoon drawings to so dad’s dream of making a lot of money and moving away; really, cartoons. In the morning Kevin doesn’t want his usual breakfast and no longer needs his glasses. That night Kevin is approached in the moonlight by a beautiful woman, Christine (Christy O. Cianci) who seems to want to ‘mate’ with him. More people wind up dead or at least the parts of them that are found are dead. Christine chases Kevin day and night and Char is upset. Finally the film ends after some more moonlight romps.
For a film that is about a special effects company the creature looks like a white ball of fur. The entrails look like some sausages and blood from the local butcher shop. The film is paced really slowly with a long time to wait for the first kill. This is especially strange since the cinematography is choppy with rapid fire cuts. There should be a warning for people with seizure disorders before the film starts. It still gets me that they shoved in a cartoon bit in the middle of all of this. It is not as if they needed more comic relief. As mentioned the film is trapped between tongue in cheek and a true horror flick. If it had picked a side things would have been better. The acting is like something from a community college drama group. It is stunted but Michael Dionne does manage to get some of the better done scenes in. The film moves between camcorder and more polished camera work trying to give a little texture to the film. Lion’s Gate has a lot of horror flicks in their DVD release catalog. While this is not one of the best it is something that you can get into if you like strange little flicks.