Richard’s Year of Movies — The Wolfman

The Wolfman was actually supposed to be released around Halloween last year, but production troubles pushed it back to this weekend.  Which is too bad, because it’s a great haunted mansion kind of movie, with a great spooky atmosphere and plenty of good jump scares to be had.  It does fall down a little bit in the story department — there’s a relationship that they want to deliver this huge emotional climax, but since it’s never really built up throughout the film, it falls kind of flat at the end.  And there’s a twist that isn’t a twist if you have eyes and ears and have ever seen a movie before in your life.

But it’s hard not to get caught up in the sheer gothic enthusiasm on display.  And setting the film in the 1800s helps excuse some of the film’s hammy excesses.  It probably also didn’t hurt that I saw it for free — if it didn’t cost me ten bucks, I’m likely to be a whole lot more forgiving.

Besides, with a movie like this, it’s all about the monster, and boy does it deliver in that department.  Everything about the werewolf in this film is great, from his deep, haunting howl to the transformation scenes to the overall look they came up with for him.  It’s not the tired old guy turning into a wolf that should have been retired after Rick Baker perfected it in An American Werewolf in London.  This is full-on White Wolf RPG-style man-wolf goodness, and when he’s running around tearing entrails out of people, the film hits a delirious high that lets you coast through some of the slower patches.

They say timing is everything, and they may have missed their audience by not getting this done in time for Halloween, when people are in the mood to be scared.  Valentine’s Day weekend seems like an odd time for it to be coming out.  Then again, a movie featuring people’s hearts being ripped out might just fit right in.

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