Hello videodrones and thanks for tuning in to Channel 83. We are the TV guide for weirdos, the video word made flesh, evangelists of the obscure, and you wouldn’t like us when we’re angry. It is Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020, and today we’re bringing you another episode of Werewolf Wednesday.
This is probably the only episode we’re gonna be doing this week. I’ve been spending some time getting ready for a special episode that we’ll be doing pretty soon featuring our first guest on the show that isn’t married to me. So, look forward to that, I’m not sure if that one will be coming out next week or the week after but it should be a good one and I’m pretty excited about it and we’re going to try and have more guests on the show in the future; I’ve already reached out to a few people. Other than that, not much to talk about so let’s just get into Werewolf, shall we?
Well, I wasn’t too sure how I was going to do these episodes but after watching a bit of the series, I think I’m just going to do 3 episodes of the show per cast because it just so happens that these 3 episodes sort of make up a nice little arc.
So, after the excellent 90 minute pilot that we reviewed last week in episode 78, the series begins on a cliff hanger. Eric Cord has been turned into a werewolf and he must now track down the werewolf that originated the werewolf bloodline, a boat captain named Janos Skorzeny. Eric needs to kill Skorzeny to lift the curse and that’s where we pick things up in the second episode of the series, titled “Nightwatch”. Like the pilot episode, this one was directed by David Hemmings and written by series creator Frank Lupo. This would be the last episode of Werewolf to be written by Lupo.
This episode begins with Eric hiding out on Skorzeny’s boat waiting for the captain to return so that Eric can kill him with some silver bullets. Skorzeny shows up, words are exchanged, and Skorzeny tells Eric that he has killed Eric’s girlfriend Kelly. Eric unloads a revolver’s worth of silver bullets into Skorzeny’s chest but they seem to have no effect. Right as Skorzeny attacks Eric, Eric wakes up. It was all a dream and thank god because I’d be sad to see Michelle Johnson’s character killed off so soon.
Even though the confrontation between Eric and Skorzeny was all a dream, Eric actually is waiting for Skorzeny on the boat and he actually does have a revolver and some silver bullets. He opens up a journal and begins writing a letter to Kelly explaining how he ended up on Skorzeny’s boat and we’re taken to a flashback of Eric contracting a gunsmith to make some silver bullets. So, this is pretty similar to the pilot episode that began with a monologue from Alamo Joe that occurred at the end of the events of the episode before we’re transported back to the beginning to see what led up to it.
After leaving the gunsmith’s, Eric goes to a bar on the docks to look for Skorzeny. A sailor tells him that Skorzeny is there right now, sitting at the end of the bar. Eric approaches Skorzeny, readying his revolver, but is interrupted by another patron. When Eric looks again at the end of the bar, Skorzeny has left, escaping out the back exit. Eric gives chase in the alley but it turns out he was following the wrong guy and the guy he was following is pissed. The stranger, who identifies himself as Mueller, roughs Eric up a bit before Eric finally gets fed up and pulls his gun out and runs away. After this we get a scene of Alamo Joe hot on Eric’s trail, questioning the gunsmith. Then, we’re taken back to Skorzeny’s boat and the episode now picks back up on the night it began. Eric is asleep in the cabin of Skorzeny’s boat and Skorzeny strolls forebodingly along the dock. Skorzeny is stopped by Mueller and we learn that the two know each other. Mueller tells Skorzeny that there’s a young man with a gun looking for him. He also basically tells Skorzeny to get the hell out of dodge or he’s calling the cops. This, of course, is a mistake and Skorzeny’s eyes go all crazy and he sprouts some wolf fangs and attacks Mueller. Let me just point out that Chuck Connors as Skorzeny looks fucking terrifying with those colored contacts and wolf fangs. Hell, even before that he’s pretty intimidating. He’s a salty old sea captain with an eye patch, so I’m not sure why this dude Mueller thinks he can just roll up on Skorzeny and tell him to kick rocks. But he does, and as a result Eric is awoken by the nearby wolf howl of Skorzeny.
Eric sees the mark of the pentagram on his palm and if you listened to our cast where we covered the pilot episode, you’ll know that this means he’s about to turn into a werewolf. Eric patrols the dock in search of Skorzeny before returning to Skorzeny’s boat to find the young sailor that he had spoken to earlier at the dockside bar. The sailor tells Eric that he knows who Eric is and that there’s been a bounty hunter asking around about him. The sailor, along with an accomplice, attempts to tie Eric up but we all know this isn’t going to work out. Eric turns into a werewolf, slashes the sailor’s throat, and tosses his friend aside like a ragdoll. Just as all this is happening, Alamo Joe shows up and begins to fire at Eric. Eric leaps off the boat and into the water, narrowly escaping Alamo Joe. Alamo Joe is on the boat the next morning talking to the police. The police say that these sorts of attacks have been going on for a month, which piques Alamo Joe’s interest because he knows that Eric has not been in Santa Clara for a whole month. This is the first time that Alamo Joe has any indication that there may be more than one werewolf. The episode ends with Eric washed up naked on the beach while some wailing guitar music plays.
The next episode titled “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”, is a bit of a change of pace. This one was directed by Larry Shaw. Shaw has mostly directed television shows but he has a few TV movies to his name as well, including a movie from 1996 called The Uninvited. No, not the one about the alien cat and no, not The Uninvited starring Elizabeth Banks, either. Shaw’s film The Uninvited is a boiler-plate made-for-TV haunted house film starring Beau Bridges. Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf” is the first episode to not be written by Frank Lupo. This one was written by Mark Jones who was featured on this show way back in episode 16. He is the writer and director 1995’s Rumpelstiltkin but he will best be known to horror fans as the auteur behind the Leprechaun franchise. This episode of Werewolf came well before Jones’s 1993 directorial debut with the first entry into the Leprechaun series but he had already written for a number of TV shows at this point including A.L.F., Rubik, the Amazing Cube, and the Mister T animated series.
This episode begins with Alamo Joe chasing Eric (who is in full werewolf mode) through some woods somewhere. It’s a bit confusing since when last we saw Eric, he was naked on a beach but it doesn’t really matter all that much I suppose. Alamo Joe manages to shoot Eric, and Eric is discovered by a young boy who lives nearby. The young boy’s name is Davey Harris (played by Danny Cooksey who will best be known from his roles as Budnick on Salute Your Shorts and John Connor’s ginger friend in Terminator 2). Davey lives with his mother Leah who has an abusive boyfriend named Bobby. Davey is obsessed with monsters, so when he finds a wounded werewolf, naturally he leads the werewolf to his treehouse hideout. When Eric comes to the next morning, he finds that he has a bullet lodged in his abdomen and tells the 12-year-old Davey that he’ll have to dig the bullet out. Why? I don’t know, but Davey rides his bike to the local doctor and asks for some medical equipment so that he can dig the bullet out of Eric. The doctor obliges and gives Davey some surgical instruments. Why? I don’t know, but later on Alamo Joe comes sniffing around the doctor’s office and when Joe hears the doctor’s story about a local child performing surgery on a werewolf, the bounty hunter knows he’s hit paydirt. Anyway, the next night the drunken boyfriend Bobby starts beating Davey and his mother. Eric hears this and goes to defend the boy and his mom, getting into a fistfight with the boyfriend. In a scene very reminiscent of The Incredible Hulk TV series, Eric transforms into a werewolf and kills the boyfriend. By the time Alamo Joe shows up to the Harris house, Eric has already left and the episode ends with Eric howling at the moon while some wailing guitar music plays.
The fourth episode, “The Black Ship”, sees the introduction of some new names that end up being pretty prominent in the series. This episode was directed by James Darren, an actor/director/musician who has a pretty large body of work but nothing I really recognized other than some TV shows, many of which have ties to Frank Lupo. This is the first of 8 episodes directed by Darren and considering that there are only 29 episodes overall, that’s a pretty sizable chunk. “The Black Ship” was co-written by Allan Cole and Chris Bunch. Again, their credits consist mostly of work on other Frank Lupo productions but Bunch and Cole would go on to write 11 and 12 episodes of Werewolf, respectively.
The episode begins with Eric Cord returning to Santa Clara and inquiring about the whereabouts of Janos Skorzeny. He goes to a building – I’m not really sure what it is, I guess it’s some sort of sailor’s association or like the association that controls the dock. Not too sure but he goes there and asks the guy at the desk for information on Skorzeny. The clerk looks it up and finds that Skorzeny has no address or phone number listed but that a man named Otto Renfield has been paying Skorzeny’s dues for the last 7 years. Now, if you’re familiar with the story of Dracula, the name Renfield should be familiar to you and you probably know where this episode is going.
Eric finds Renfield at a bar. The old sailor tells Eric that he may have some information on where to find Skorzeny and the two go to the derelict ship that Renfield lives on. Renfield shows Eric some pictures of Skorzeny from 30 years ago. Skorzeny looks exactly the same in those pictures as he does in 1987, so we learn another bit of werewolf lore in this one: apparently werewolves in this universe do not age. Renfield tells a story about his sailing days with Skorzeny. 30 years ago, Renfield and Skorzeny robbed and killed a stranger in Australia. During the altercation, Renfield got stabbed in the leg. The wound became gangrenous and Renfield had to have his leg amputated. He was also apprehended by authorities and spent 5 years in prison as a result. Renfield tells Eric that he has hated Skorzeny ever since and he tells Eric that his papers regarding Skorzeny’s locations are in a chest in the jail cell of the brig. Renfield takes Eric to the brig and double-crosses him, locking Eric up in the jail cell just before Eric transforms into a werewolf. Unlike in the last episode, we actually get to see Eric transform and, again, the makeup and effects are solid. Wolf-Eric doesn’t really do anything though, he bangs on the bars of the cell for a little bit before we cut to the next morning where Eric is naked in the cell.
Renfield explains to Eric that he truly does hate Skorzeny but he wants so badly to be turned into a werewolf that he has spent much of his life cleaning up after Skorzeny’s messes in an attempt to get into his good graces. Renfield drops some hints that Skorzeny is far older than Eric had previously believed, perhaps even a few centuries old, so apparently werewolves in this universe are also immortal and that’s the main reason that Renfield wishes so desperately to become one.
Later that day, Skorzeny shows up, does his skin peel werewolf transformation, and attacks Renfield before making a b-line to the brig. By the time Skorzeny-wolf gets to the jail cell, Eric has already managed to escape, so unfortunately we don’t get another werewolf fight in this episode. Eric returns to the ship later on to find the wounded Renfield. Renfield has finally gotten his wish – Skorzeny has finally turned him into a werewolf – but Renfield realizes now that he doesn’t want any part of this and begs Eric to shoot him. Eric obliges, shooting Renfield in the head, and that’s where this episode leaves us.
Ok, so. These three episodes. I liked each of them but I wasn’t as high on these three as I was on the pilot. At this point Werewolf is a series that’s just finding it’s feet so ya gotta cut it some slack and I get that. My main issue with these three episodes is that they don’t do a whole lot to propel the main plot of the story. We do get little tidbits of info and some added lore in these three but there’s really not a whole lot going on. It’s mostly Eric aimlessly pursuing Skorzeny and Alamo Joe aimlessly pursuing Eric. The principle players are all there but nothing is really moving forward and the narrative is sort of in stasis at this point. From the end of the pilot to the end of the 4th episode, it doesn’t seem like anything has changed. Eric is still after Skorzeny, Alamo Joe is still after Eric. That’s about it. And even though I’m harping on the fact that this mini-arc didn’t propel the plot all that much, ironically the episode I enjoyed the most out of the three was the one with the little kid, which has nothing to do with the main plot and could be deleted from the series entirely without affecting the overall story.
In the upcoming episodes what I’d like to see is Michelle Johnson’s character Kelly popping back up at some point. In general, I’d like to see more recurring characters introduced because, as it stands now, each new character we’ve met only appears in one episode and then they’re gone. Or maybe just some more meaningful interaction between the 3 characters we do have. Alamo Joe basically doesn’t interact with Skorzeny or Eric, I mean, he shoots at Eric and there was one scene in episode 2 towards the end where Joe and Skorzeny exchange a few words but I’d like to see more. Overall, though, I’m still on board. Werewolves and wailing guitar music earn a lot of good will from me and this show has both of those things in spades, which is nice. One thing that I do enjoy about this show and something that makes it stick out from the shows its aping off of, is that Eric – as both a werewolf and a human – kills people pretty often. I think so far he’s killed like 5 people, so there’s more at stake for Eric in this show than there is for David Banner in the Hulk TV series. In that show, the whole thing is that Banner doesn’t want to be found out; he doesn’t want people to know that he’s the Hulk. In this show, of course Eric doesn’t want people to know that he’s a werewolf but there’s the added stress of knowing that he could basically turn at any moment and wreck someone’s shit. I’ve always enjoyed stories like this with a sort of morally gray protagonist, it’s part of why I love volume 2 of the Venom comic books so much and I think it’s an interesting and kind of bold choice to have a murderous werewolf be the protagonist of a late 80s television series.
Thus concludes our second installment of Werewolf Wednesday. If you’d like to follow along and watch the series with me, like I said I’m pretty sure you can find it online but if you can’t find it and you want to watch it, just hit me up and I can point you in the right direction. See ya next week.