I didn't catch much of Friday night's C2C with the werewolf folklore expert but I'm sure it was great. I love werewolf storytellers on the radio.
On the big screen, not so much.
I have not seen "The Wolfman" starring Benicio Del Toro yet but I will, someday. Judging by the reviews it's getting, perhaps by the time they show it on Bravo cut up with a million commercials, I'll catch it.
I was thinking about seeing it today anyway but I was involved in the consecration of the IX Bishop of Minnesota, the Right Reverend Brian Prior.
The photo accompanying this week's blog post is what it looks like when a bishop is consecrated if you're hovering overhead in a blimp or roaming the catwalks of the theater like "The Phantom of the Opera."
(Photo Credit: Sarah Rust Sampedro)
Where was I? Where? Wolves.
Not that there hasn't been the occasionally great werewolf movie through the years. "American Werewolf in London," "The Howling" and "Dog Soldiers" and even "Teen Wolf" are pretty entertaining and sometimes even scary.
But an official retelling of the original "The Wolf Man" (1941) must be held up to a higher standard (don't ask me why this one is "The Wolfman" and not "The Wolf Man" like the Lon Chaney, Jr. version--maybe the author of the novelization of the book explained that last night with George Noory, maybe nobody bothered to check).
From what I hear, though, this new version is to the original what "American Werewolf in Paris" was to the original John Landis classic. Rottentomatoes.com has not been kind.
I'll add this to my list of Universal monster movie remake disappointments like the more recent "Frankenstein," "The Mummy" and even "Bram Stoker's Dracula."
Later this year, an updated "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" comes out. The way this is going, it will be tough to break the monster-size jinx that seems to hang over all these Universal remakes. The good news is, I read somewhere that the son of one of the original screenwriters was hired to rewrite his father's classic (which would make it "The Son of the Father of the Creature," of sorts). The bad news is, in the new movie, the "Gill-Man" will be fighting on the side of right against an evil pharmaceutical company that's trying to exploit the Amazon. Really?
To quote Rocky the Flying Squirrel, "That trick never works."
Or better phrased, rarely works.
Did you know that the original "The Wolf Man" was written by a Jewish screenwriter who had escaped Nazi Germany and used that experience to create his original screenplay?
Think about it: A normal, everyday guy's life is turned upside down by evil powers outside of his control. Suddenly, people who were once his friends and neighbors turn against him and he begins to be hunted. He can't believe it's happening to him but soon he realizes that he will lose everything that he loves. He runs but he can't hide--the story of both Lawrence Talbot before he was turned, against his will, into a monster and the once happy, patriotic German screenwriter Curt Siodmak before Hitler demonized the Jews.
Need further proof? Ever consider how the glowing pentagram--the sign that change is coming--that appears on the Wolf Man's hand gives him away just like the yellow Star of David that Hitler made the Jews wear?
It just goes to show you that the Universal movie monsters were just that--universal.
It might be a great lesson to future horror screenwriters that it's better to be more subtle and avoid "timely" in favor of "timeless."
Here's more on the subject if you're still interested: