Friday, July 14, 2017

Wolfman (1979)



I like to believe that Earl Owensby had an absolute blast during the ’70s, building a production facility in North Carolina so he could generate a string of low-budget movies in which he starred, despite having negligible acting skills. Most of his flicks were redneck-themed action pictures, but every so often he threw a curveball with something like Wolfman. As the unimaginative title suggests, this on-the-cheap creature feature delivers a bland lycanthropy tale owing a great deal to The Wolf Man (1941). Owensby’s Wolfman is a terrible movie, thanks to anemic acting and sluggish pacing, but it’s almost endearingly bad because one gets a sense it was fun to make. After all, what movie fan wouldn’t get a kick out of building Gothic sets, drenching them with artificial moonlight, and shooting scenes with hands popping out from graves, monsters crashing through windows, and supernatural zealots wielding silver daggers? Plus, by casting himself in the title role, Owensby got to emulate Lon Chaney Jr. by sitting still while makeup applications and overlapping dissolves create the unconvincing (but charmingly old-fashioned) illusion that he’s becoming a hirsute horror. Not that it matters, but the plot, which is set in the early 1900s, goes like this: After his father dies, Colin (Owensby) returns to the family estate, where conniving relatives make him the latest victim of family’s werewolf curse. There’s other stuff—forged legal papers and romance with the girl next door, et cetera—but that’s all background noise. The “pleasure” of experiencing Wolfman involves watching a doughy dude with a drawl and his down-home pals shuffling their way through what amounts to a Halloween-themed costume party.

Wolfman: LAME

1 comment:

Steven Thompson said...

You have to admit, as low and no-budget film entrepreneurs go, Owensby was a step or two ahead of Wood and Steckler. Not saying much, perhaps but credit where credit's due, y'know?