Thursday, November 02, 2006

WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON (1973)


Over the past few days I’ve watched a number of horror films as Halloween approached. One of the nice things about the fall is that everyone seems to try to put out new DVDs of old horror movies and this year the new line of Elvira discs was a welcome addition to the market. Giving you the option of watching the full uncut movie with or without the hostess adding her two cents worth these DVDs are a cheap way to see pretty good copies of some rarer flicks.

So it is today that I sat down to watch WEREWOLF IN WASHINGTON (1973) starring Dean Stockwell as a presidential aide afflicted with lycanthropy. I’d heard about this one years ago but this was my first viewing and it was a doozy! By the halfway point I was laughing my ass off and simply stunned at the plain stupidity of the film! I’m assured this is an uncut print so I have to assume that at some point the producers stopped filming to save money. This is the only explanation for that fact that there seem to be whole scenes missing. I lost count of the number of times the screen would go to black after a scene and then the next sequence would begin hilariously in the middle of events. For instance- our wolf boy feels the onset of a transformation and locks himself in a bathroom in the White House. Cut to the next scene with him in full fuzzy face makeup clinging to the car roof of his intended victim! How did he get out of the White House? How did he get onto the top of the car without the driver knowing he was there? I was holding my sides with merriment and then the car stops at a strangely deserted gas station in the middle of the city. WTF! Since when?

I can’t decide if this was shot as a comedy or not. There are some really silly things but it’s played so straight that I would swear it seems to have been done strictly as a horror film. But the scene of Stockwell getting his hand stuck in a bowling ball while talking to the President couldn’t possibly be meant to be taken seriously. Could it?

Writer/director/editor Milton Moses Ginsberg would be the man to blame for this one I guess. He’s apparently still alive according to the Internet Movie Database so maybe someone can get hold of him for an interview. I’d pay good money to hear some reminiscing about this odd turd.

I’m still wondering what the funniest thing in the film is. Is it Stockwell crawling around on the floor trying to eat a rug with the cameraman’s shadow plainly visible in the shot? Is it the scene that shows us a pay phone booth on the steps of the Capitol building? Or perhaps the sight of the President of the United States on his knees trying to open a stuck bathroom stall door? Or the idea that a midget mad scientist named Dr. Kiss has a laboratory set up under the White House? Or maybe it’s the Werewolf vs. POTUS battle sequence near the end?

Come to think of it this must be a comedy. It’s just a really bad one. Man! Someone please interview Mr. Ginsberg about this mess! What the Hell was he thinking?

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