Sunday, August 10, 2008

Rage of the Werewolf – review


Director: Kevin J Lindenmuth

Release date: 1999

Contains spoilers

You know, in 2003 the film Underworld was released. A film about werewolves and vampires and werewolf/vampire hybrids. Four years before that event there was this film about werewolves and vampires and werewolf/vampire hybrids.

To be fair there is no comparison, other than the key elements above, and this was nearly an honourable mention because our vampire, Kessa (Debbie Rochon), is only in the film for about five minutes – though she is plot essential. What this film has, above all else, is heart. A bravery to try and do something above its station and – unfortunately – by doing so it fails because what it tried was so far beyond its limited means.

werewolf!In 2001, according to the voice over at the head of the film, scientists noticed a meteor due to strike the earth. Nuclear weapons were fired at it; these did not destroy it but did push it of course and into the moon. As a result the moon’s orbit changed and it became closer to the earth. As well as all the seasonal/tidal changes this caused it also caused a biological change.

An alternate title to the film is Planet of the Werewolves and we are in a world gone mad when the lunar effect becomes stronger ish… We get some babble able a latent gene that is now becoming active. Infection is spoken about and yet only three cities in the States have been sealed off (we are in New York), one would have thought the problem would have been planet wide.

Jake and RalphAnyway, we are looking at life through the eyes of werewolf Jake (Santo Marotta) and his best friend Ralph (Tom Nondorf). Ralph is a werewolf wannabe, who keeps insisting he will change with the moon – much to Jake’s disgust. Jake sees being a werewolf as a curse.

wolfingOut in the park, at night, Jake hears something and finds a girl werewolf being attacked by four bounty hunters. It seems that you can get $1000 for a werewolf pelt – ignoring the fact that werewolves turn to human form when killed. Jake launches in, is shot but takes out the bounty hunters and, we note, he can speak in wolfman form.

Joe Zaso as LazloThey take the girl home. She is injured and she will need rest. You see she is a new werewolf, born from dormant genetics. Jake, and his brother Lazlo (Joe Zaso) were already werewolves due to a curse. Their father had been attacked by a werewolf and, though he didn’t change, he passed lycanthropy to his sons. They were wild when the lycanthropy became active at eighteen and the only effect the moving moon has had is to give them control (of their senses in wolf form and the ability to shift at will).

caged vampireJake just wants a quiet life, Lazlo wants to rule the world. To that end he has a captured vampire delivered and put in his basement. That vampire is Kessa and she is not happy to be there. There is some talk about clans of vampires but we only see the one. She is held in her cell by crosses and garlic.

effect of holy waterIndeed all the standards apply, sunlight burns, holy water (or God P*ss, as she describes it) burns. Decapitation is effective as a vampire remedy. She was captured by priests who sold her to the highest bidder. By blessing the building, in which they caught her, they prevented her from shape-shifting to escape.

vampire werewolf hybrid, oh my...So why does Laszlo want her, to make a hybrid of course. Now, one of the biggest problems of the film was within the werewolf effects. They bit off more than they could sensibly chew with the film’s concept and the wolves look crap. Even worse, the hybrids are the same crap werewolves with more teeth (out of the snout it appears) and bat wings for ears.

Santo Marotta as JakeThe acting isn’t anything to write home about but it is good enough for the level of filmmaking we are talking about. There are story issues and the double-crossing antics of some of the characters just did not ring true. That said there is a story, which is always good.

A valiant effort that should never have been due to the lack of budget, but ultimately no cigar, as they say. 2 out of 10 for the attempt.

The imdb page is here.

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