Skip to main content

My Takeaways for My HalloWolf-themed Halloween 2021...

Well, I did it.  I finished my HalloWolf-themed content binge for October 2021 and, frankly, I had an excellent time.  Looking back on the experiment, I made a number of connections, spotted some parallels, and drew some conclusions.

In no particular order, here they are...

1)  PICK A THEME!  ADHERE TO IT!  OR NOT...

First, I am so glad that I picked a theme for my Halloween celebratin' this year.  

My Official, un-official HalloWolf tee from Cavity Colors.

Theme-picking is not something I usually do, though I've dabbled with it from time to time.  Back in 2019 when Mountain Dew released their mystery Halloween soda VooDew, it inspired me to add Black Sabbath's "Voodoo" to my Halloween playlist that year, and Wes Craven's The Serpent and the Rainbow to my watch list.  Though three-items-doth-not-a-theme-make, by this year I was still thinking back to 2019 as my "voodoo" year and I liked the ability for my mind to categorize and remember it for that reason.

So when this season approached I thought I would dive all the way in to a full-on THEME--- but I needed some framework.  I'm a believer in setting boundaries or limitations as they help with focus and inspire creativity.  For instance, in searching for werewolf MOVIES, I eventually stumbled on episodes of TV SHOWS that had a werewolf theme... which led me to comedy radio shows, kids programming, and on and on.  And only by watching all of these disparate things did I discover connections between Halloween & werewolves which further drove home my HalloWolf title (more on this below).  Oh, and I got my SpookBag shirt in the mail from Cavity Colors so I had an 'official' themed t-shirt.


2)  UM, WHAT HAPPENED TO THE DOG?

This is a sad discovery, but worth mentioning:  dogs don't fare well in werewolf movies.  

Bad Moon movie poster

As a dog parent, this makes some of these movies a tough watch.  I never really realized that dogs were in such grave danger in werewolf movies, until I started watching a bunch of them in a row.  It's such a trope, that some screenwriters play with the audience's knowledge that 'the dog ain't gonna make it' and twist the presumed outcome (like in the movie Bad Moon).  Dog lovers, beware the moon.

3)  CONNECTIONS or what I call "BOOM.  HALLOWOLF."

I Was a Teenage Werewolf poster.
 

As I mentioned above, I started finding inadvertent connections between things: serendipitous, wonderful crossovers that I never would have discovered otherwise.  

TV Guide ad: Highway to Heaven "I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf."
 

Cases in point:  I had the movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf on my list.  I had never seen it, and always wanted to watch it because the title is so iconic and often referenced in popular culture.  In reading the Wikipedia page for the film, I discovered that Michael Landon (who played the lead in IWATW) would don the werewolf makeup again on a Halloween episode of his hit show Highway to Heaven in the '80s.  Ooooooo.  Gotta watch THAT.  In watching it, I discovered that Landon, acted, wrote and directed the episode, titled with a wink "I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf."  That alone makes it a fun watch.  But seeing the houses of 1987, professionally Set Decorated with tons of '80s-era Halloween decorations is a Halloween-nostalgia-junkies' dream.  Best of all---one of the main locations in the episode is none other than the Doyle house from the climax of John Carpenter's Halloween!  

Boom.  HalloWolf.

Moving on:  I watched The Wolf of Snow Hollow (one of the first entries on my list) and had my first introduction to the wonderful writer, director, actor Jim Cummings.  Imagine my surprise, a week later, when watching Halloween Kills on Peacock, --there's Jim Cummings as one of the Haddonfield police officers facing off against Michael Myers!  

BOOM.  HALLOWOLF!

These connections kept manifesting.  A wonderful branching exercise that I won't forget.  


4)  A FEW FAVORITES

Here are some of the favorites from my list with a note or two:


  • Werewolves Within:  A brand new one (2021).  REALLY quirky funny!  And a whodunnit too.
  • The Wolf of Snow Hollow (2020):  Another newish one.  Very Twin Peaks-ey.  Tragic bordering on funny.  My first dose of Jim Cummings and I will follow this filmmaker wherever he goes.
  • Full Moon High (1981):  Felt like an Airplane! or Naked Gun-type werewolf movie.  Plus it's got Alan Arkin and son Adam Arkin on screen together (and the father is clearly cracking up the son in some scenes).
  • Werewolf MST3K:  Mystery Science Theater 3000 will always get a few big laughs out of me.  It always feels like I'm watching a bad movie with funny friends.  The movie?  Terrible.  But boy did I have a good time.
  • Late Phases:  A smaller movie, with a lead actor who is TOTALLY doing his best Charles Bronson impression, and for that alone it was worth watching.  Charles Bronson vs. werewolves in a retirement community.  That's the elevator pitch for this one.
  • Howl:  It's a siege movie (I love siege movies).  British commuters' train breaks down and is besieged by werewolves.  Interesting werewolf design and it takes some turns that I wasn't expecting.  Worth a watch.
  • Cursed:  A Wes Craven film notoriously plagued by reshoots.  I had heard so many bad things over the years that I was surprised how fun it was.  Great cast.  Takes place in LA.  I had blast!

5)  THEY CAN'T ALL BE GEMS

Here is a smattering of some of the worst of what I saw (apologies if some of these happen to be your favorites).  These just weren't for me.


  • The Rats are Coming, The Werewolves are Here:  Despite some friends' protestations to never watch this, the title has always had its hook in me (SEE HERE for proof).  But alas, a title doth not a good movie make.  This movie is terrible.  TERRIBLE.  It's super low budget.  The microphone must have been in the back of the room so the dialog is all echoey and hard to hear in the mansion they used as a location.  Terrible acting.  Terrible effects.  Actual animal cruelty (if you believe what you read on Wikipedia).  The big 'twist' has been telegraphed from the beginning.  Terrible.  TERRIBLE.
  • Van Helsing (2004):  I saw this in the theater back in the day and have always wanted to give it another shot, mainly because I remember the werewolf transformation being cool.  It... is still not good.  For such a big budget movie with a great cast, it's just an unending barrage of music, effects, and action with no pauses and I found myself not caring.  About any of it.  Again.
  • Bonehill Road:  This is a perfect example of how a great movie poster can sell a bad film.  It's basically a low-budget serial killer movie, with a Brad Dourif-lookalike, and then werewolves are tacked on at the end.  Cheap.  Sadistic.  Not for me.
  • The Company of Wolves:  I've always wanted to see this '80s 'classic' (the VHS box art always horrified me) but it didn't really resonate. The practical effects are great, and it's beautifully shot, but its dreamlike Red Riding Hood fairytale allows the plot to not have to make any sense.  Left me scratching my head in a "what did I just see?"-way...

Here's the full list (below) for posterity, with my check marks denoting what I actually was able to see before the 31st (and few personal notes on where to stream the films a/o '21).  I managed to take in thirty-two, which would have put me over my goal of one-a-day for the month of October.  

Full confession:  sometimes things were watched, thinking they would relate to werewolves but they never did (Electric Company, I'm looking at you).  I still counted them.  Why?  My theme.  My time.  My rules to break. 

☑︎ Werewolves Within 2020 rent

☑︎ The Stan Freberg Show (Radio) “Gray Flannel Hat Full of Teenage Werewolves.”

☑︎ Werewolf FOX TV show S1 EP14 “All Hallow’s Eve”

☑︎ Wolfman’s Got Nards

☑︎ The Electric Company “Meet the Wolf Man.”

☑︎ Psychoville Halloween Special  Britbox

☐ Werewolf: The Beast Among Us (sequel to Benicio del Toro movie, recommend by Brian Collins horror-movie-a-day) tubi

☑︎ Highway to Heaven “I Was a Middle-Aged Werewolf” S4, EP5 aired Oct 28, 1987

☑︎ Barney Miller S3 EP6 “Werewolf”

☐ X-Files S1 EP19 “Shapes”

☑︎ Kolchak the Night Stalker S1 EP5 “The Werewolf” 

☑︎ Trick ‘r Treat  2007 MA, HBO

☐ House of Terror (1960) Mexican horror comedy. 

☐ Face of the Screaming Werewolf 1965 (uses scenes from 1960s House of Terror)

☑︎ Silver Bullet AMC+

☐ The Amityville Moon 2021, rent

☐ Freaks of Nature  rent

☐ The Boy Who Cried Werewolf   Netflix, P+

☐ The Beast Within (’82) Paramount, rent

☑︎ MST3K Werewolf. YT

☑︎ Making of Thriller doc with music video

☑︎ The Rats are Coming the Werewolves are Here YT, 99¢ Amz 

☑︎ The Monster Squad

☐ The Beast Must Die  DVD, hoopla, tubi

☑︎ The Howling (80s) rent

☐ Skinwalkers 2006, Peacock

☐ Howling 5: Rebirth (another whodunnit) vudu ad, tubi

☑︎ Bonehill Road vudu ad

☑︎ Late Phases. Werewolf movie. Recommended! Vudu ads

☐ Bloodthirsty  prime

☑︎ Cursed (Wes Craven) rent, HBO

☑︎ The Wolf of Snow Hollow 2020 rent

☑︎ Bad Moon (good werewolf design) vudu ad, tubi

☑︎ Howl vudu ad, tubi

☑︎ Ginger Snaps vudu ad, tubi

☑︎ The Wolfman (Benicio del toro) peacock

☑︎ The Company of Wolves  tubi, kanopy

☑︎ Van Helsing peacock

☐ Wolf (Nicholson) rent

☐ The Curse of the Werewolf (hammer) rent

☐ Wolf Guy (Sonny Chiba, Arrow Video) kanopy

☑︎ I Was a Teenage Werewolf YT

☐ Teen Wolf  kanopy

☐ The Wolfman 1941 rent

☐ Full Eclipse  ???

☑︎ Wolf Cop hoopla, tubi

☑︎ An American Werewolf in London 

☑︎ Full Moon High (Larry Cohen) paramount

☑︎ An American Werewolf in Paris vudu ad, tubi

☐ Dr. Terror’s House of Horrors tubi, Roku

☐ House of the Wolfman YT

☐ Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban hbo, rent

☐ The Undying Monster 1942 YT

☐ Night Wolf (13 Hrs) 2010 YT, tubi

☐ Werewolves on Wheels tubi

☐ Sheep Skin tubi

☐ The Amityville Moon 2021

☐ The Boy Who Cried Werewolf hoopla, Netx

☐ Harmony Falls 2021

☐ Night of the Werewolf 1981,

☐ Werewolf Ninja Philosopher 2018 rent Vimeo

☑︎ The Werewolf 1956 (a retelling, fallout radiation) crackle free, plex free

 

So what about you?  Do you pick a theme for your Halloween every year?  If so, what was it for 2021?

If you don't, why not?  Drop a comment below and let me know.

Will I do a theme next year?  Probably.  I have enough leftover on my werewolf list and thought of a bunch more new ones to do another werewolf run.  But as I've learned over the years, it's better to mix it up from year to year or risk all your Halloweens-past becoming one big muddled memory.  

I guarantee you this:  whatever I wind up going with I'll be sure to write about it here.  
It's a Halloween Thing...




Comments

Popular

What did Steven Soderbergh watch on Halloween in 2021?

As a movie buff --ahem-- "cinefile," I look forward every year to director Steven Soderbergh's "Seen, Read," blog post , a meticulously curated list of all the media he consumed that year, by date.  My first stop, always, is what he watched on October 31st, Halloween...

Personal Stories: My Beloved Beistle Jointed Skeleton Decoration

To me, Halloween isn't just a feeling in the air as the temperature begins to drop.  It's not just the smell of "Pumpkin Spice" and the petrichor of wet leaves.  And it's not just the taste of a fresh fall apple or the latest seasonal junk food stunt.  It's a nostalgic attachment to imagery and items that --when seen-- trigger a sense-memory to a time of youth, excitement and exuberance.    Halloween decorations fall into the latter and, to some, these things may just be pieces of cardboard or plastic.  Disposable.  Temporary and signifying nothing. To me however, there are certain Halloween decorations I have a strong connection with and the Beistle Jointed Skeleton is one of them.

Of Sodas and Simulacrum: Why Mountain Dew's Halloween Sodas are Important...

Well I have found, purchased, and consumed Mountain Dew's third incarnation of their Halloween-themed "mystery flavor" soda:  VooDew 3.  And I have my guess as to what flavor it is... It's peanut butter. Wait---now, hear me out...