Halloween 2022: Oct. 8ᵗʰ – Werewolf By Night

Alright, boys and ghouls, welcome back to the Halloween 2022 festivities. On October 8th I threw Marvel’s Werewolf By Night on the slab and opened it up to see what was inside. Let’s get to it!

Remember 20¢ comic books? Me either. This is from 1973, so I hadn’t yet arrived on this planet.

OCT. 8ᵗʰ – WEREWOLF BY NIGHT

The image you see above is the title card from Marvel’s Werewolf By Night, and it was the best part of this program. Yeah, you heard me, true believers. I said what I said.

Disney decided to present Werewolf By Night in black and white, presumably in tribute to classic horror films of the 1940s, before studios started cranking out endless 1950s low budget sci-fi/horror B-movie garbage. While the thing itself wasn’t blocked, framed, or shot like an old horror movie, this title card could have been right out of 1942. Seriously, I know it sounds like I’m making a big deal out of this, but if you’ve seen enough really old classics, you’ll know instantly that they NAILED this. The film grain, the lighting, the shadows, the contrast, the typefaces… this is absolutely perfect. I’m not kidding; to me, this is art. I love this title card.

Is that face paint supposed to be Día de Muertos sugar skull decoration? Don’t worry about it. It isn’t explained or even mentioned because it’s not your business. Your job is to love this thing because Disney and Marvel made it. Just do your job!

It’s too bad a title card this great was attached to the rest of this… thing. Maybe I’m just getting sick of Marvel. There are only so many dozens of times you can see the same basic story retold before superhero fatigue sets in. And although I am getting a bit burned out on The House Of Similar Ideas, the real problem here is that it feels like the audience is expected to be in awe just because we’re watching something from Marvel. It felt like this entire production was one big after credits scene, but instead of following a movie, it followed the Marvel Studios logo.

Watching Werewolf By Night felt a lot like watching Moulin Rouge or The Matrix Reloaded. I wasn’t watching something I was supposed to like because it was any good. No, I was watching something I was expected to like. As if it was my responsibility to find enjoyment in it. Not based on the merits of the storytelling or performance, nor because of the inherent quality of the piece. No, I was expected to like it just because they made it. Because they put something in front of my eyes with a certain word in the credits. Well, I saw that word. They made sure you couldn’t miss it. And there were plenty of things moving around on the screen. But it was all just empty.

The bravest hunter of the Bloodstone clan.

I keep calling Werewolf By Night a thing. It’s too short to be called a movie or feature. They’re only making one, so it’s not an episode, show, or a series. And I refuse to use the word “special” to describe it. It’s just a thing. There were plenty of characters introduced in the fifty-five minutes this thing was on my television. Most of them would end up dying, which was fine with me, because they were largely uninteresting, they were never identified by name, and I felt no emotional investment in their stories. The one name I do recall is Bloodstone, because they say it roughly every thirteen seconds. There are four Bloodstones of consequence in this thing – five if you count the inanimate object called The Bloodstone – and two of them were dead before the story began. Of the remaining two, one was unlikeable and is eventually murdered, and the other is supposed to be a badass but literally ends up cowering in tears when faced with the idea of a werewolf. And I get the feeling she’s going to be a recurring character. Yay.

As bright as it gets.

Werewolves, at least the kind in this thing, are changed by the full moon. Which comes out at night. So the title Werewolf By Night seems a little redundant. But that was coined in 1972 when pot, LSD and Quaaludes were flowing freely, and cocaine was making a big comeback. Shit was gonna get weird. So I can overlook the title. The title isn’t the filmmakers’ fault. But the lack of story certainly is. All we really learn about the title “hero” is that he’s a monster hunter, he’s killed over a hundred other monsters, and he lives in fear of changing into his wolfman form. That’s right, he’s not even a proper wolf-shaped werewolf. He can only change into his lame ass Glabro form. Not that we get to see much of it. The visual effects crew apparently didn’t know how to light a black and white film, because the big fight scene at the end was so dark it may as well have been an episode of Game Of Thrones.

The best non-title card part of this thing was that Man-Thing showed up. I’ve always been curious about Man-Thing. He’s a clear ripoff of DC’s Swamp Thing, but I don’t know anything about him besides that. I was hoping this thing would clear up some of his backstory, but the only thing it cleared up is that he’s friends with Werewolf By Night, and that his friends call him Ted. And that’s it. Seriously, we learn NOTHING more about him. He’s in it, he leaves, and that’s it. Okay, to be fair, we do learn a little more. Later when this thing becomes colorized for no good reason, we find out he can make some kind of hot beverage. I can’t remember if they specified whether it was coffee or tea, and I’m not going to go watch it again just to find out. But Man-Thing can brew something. So there’s that I guess.

Ted Man-Thing is The Monster Barista! Coming this fall to Disney+!

Look, for all the shit I’ve given this thing, I am actually going to recommend that you watch it. Why? Because Man-Thing was in it, and because it was less than an hour long. It’s not great by any stretch of the imagination. It’s not even all that good. But it’s not the most terrible way I’ve spent an hour of this year’s Halloween season. Like many of the classic horror movies it emulates, it’s minimally acceptable. Don’t expect much and you won’t be terribly let down. But if you go into this looking for another Captain America or Endgame, your day is gonna get real sucky real quick. I expected something really interesting. I did NOT get it. Let my mistake be a lesson to you.

I give Werewolf By Night a 6 out 10.

THE SCI-FI GUYS HALLOWEEN 2022

Oct. 1ˢᵗ – Draculus
Oct. 2ⁿᵈ – Coffee mate Pumpkin Pie Creamer & Roll For Burger
Oct. 3ʳᵈ – Mel-O-Cream Bites
Oct. 4ᵗʰ – Netflix’s The Haunting Of Hill House, Episodes 1-7
Oct. 5ᵗʰ – The Body
Oct. 6ᵗʰ – Burmese Crispy Beans
Oct. 7ᵗʰ – The Ring
Oct. 8ᵗʰ – Werewolf By Night

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