This is an awesome Halloween episode as it parodies The Wolf Man (1941).
It’s dark and stormy Halloween night and Cory sits at his desk writing a letter. Shawn comes in and asks him what he is doing. That’s when Cory announces he is a werewolf!
Shawn doesn’t believe him, and Cory does a flashback to tell him what happened and what brought him to this conclusion.
So the day before, October 30th, Cory was going outside to throw away his trash, when he notices that Mr. Feeny is putting his trash inside the house. Cory thinks that is strange and asks him why he’s doing that. Mr. Feeny tells him how a wolf has escaped from the Zoo, and he is prowling around the area. Cory is shocked! After Feeny leaves, Cory is putting the trash away when he hears something in the bushes. It attacks him!!!
The next day he feels really strange. He has strange urges with food. He has hair everywhere!!!
“Cory Matthews: Eric, what you’re about to see may shock you.
Eric Matthews: Then put a towel on.
Cory Matthews: Okay, look! [comes out with his arms thrown in the air, completely normal]
Eric Matthews: Oh, my God! I don’t see anything at all!”
But even though everyone tells him its just puberty and that he isn’t a werewolf, Cory is not convinced. Eric plays along with it as he finds it hilarious.
“Eric: I don’t want to alarm you or anything, but you might be turning into… a werewolf.”
Cory is really upset. At lunch he goes off campus to a yogurt shop and finds himself wanting to eat strange things…things like blood and guts!
The blood is actually strawberry yogurt, and the guts are actually chocolate. While there Cory hears the report on the news about the wolf and freaks out, asking the yogurt worker if werewolves are real or not. He tells them that anything could be possible and that Cory should visit his mother, “Madame Ouspenskaya”.
Madame Ouspenskaya is a “gypsy-fortune teller”, that presides in the back room of the yogurt shop. And she not a very good gypsy, but she manages to hit the nail on the head about Cory. As he gives her more and more money to know about his future, she reveals three things that will happen before he fully transforms into a werewolf.
He will develop a taste for strange things.
The pentagram will appear on his palm
And he will kill the girl who cares for him (9:00).
Cory thinks that he will be okay as no girl cares for him, so he won’t have to worry about a full transformation, and tells her so. She tells him that she is the real deal and that he’s over 20 minutes late to class.
When he gets to class, Shawn wants to know what’s up with him. Cory tries to tell him, but Mr. Turner is upset with his tardiness. He tries writing a note to Shawn but Mr. Turner gets angry at him and asks for the paper. Instead of giving it up, Cory stuffs it in his mouth as he doesn’t want Mr. Turner to find it. That’s when he realizes, it’s the first sign.
He will develop a taste for strange things.
Cory becomes really worried and freaked out. He is acting so strange that Mr. Turner asks him to stay after class. He tries to get Cory to open up, but Cory is too freaked. As they are talking, Cory accidentally picks up Mr. Turner’s keys. That’s when he notices the pentagon keychain in the palm of his hand!!!
2. The pentagram will appear on his palm. (Cory thinks a pentagon it is the same thing as a pentagram.)
Afterwards he is freaking out some more. But then he realizes, he doesn’t have any girl that cares for him!! That means he is saved. He’ll be fine!
As Cory is celebrating Topanga goes over to ask Cory what’s up with him. She tells him she cares for him and will listen to his problems.
Someone cares for him, that means is going to be a WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Topanga tries to reassure him that she doesn’t “like” him that way, she is just a friend, but it’s too late. Cory believes his fate is sealed. He is going to turn into a werewolf and kill Topanga. Which brings us back to the present.
“Cory Matthews: [writing a letter] So I hope that you will all forgive me, so that I now can escape my destiny. Fondly, Cory A.O. Matthews.
Shawn Hunter: What does A.O. stand for?
Cory Matthews: Ah-ooh.”
He makes Shawn promise to take care of Topanga and take him for walks and stuff.
Topanga comes over anyways, and Cory tries to get rid of her but it doesn’t work.
“Topanga Lawrence: Cory, get a grip. We’re only going to a Halloween party.
Cory Matthews: Yeah, that’s how it starts! Then we get married, have kids, and I eat them!”
To make things worse, Topanga is dressed like a damsel in distress:
He tries to get Topanga to go, but she refuses. Instead she waits with him and it reaches 9:00 Full Moon!
And nothing happens. Nothing at all. It’s just Cory and Topanga
Finally something GOOD!
Cory is so happy that he kisses Topanga!
The next day, Cory finds out that there was no wolf anywhere, it’s been in the Zoo the whole time. Which begs the question…Who bit Cory?
It turns out it was just a rabbit. No wolf, just a lil’ ol’ rabbit. But hey Cory, those can be extremely dangerous! Haven’t you ever read Bunnicula?
“This alpha predator of yours, doctor, do you really think he has a chance? The arrogance of men is thinking nature is in their control and not the other way around. Let them fight.”
So when this film came out I had mixed feelings. I was a huge Godzilla fan when I was a kid and saw all the films growing up, and after the 1998 debacle I wasn’t too excited. My friend, however, really wanted to see the midnight showing, so we did. After I saw the film, I had even more mixed feelings of it. So here we are the pros & cons
1) Opening Credits
These beginning credits were amazing! I loved how they had pictures from old drawing of plesiosaurus, dinosaurs, disaster headlines, and pictures from the 1940s-50s atomic testing. I thought it was a great idea to overlay it by blacking out words and names to reveal the director, producers, actors, etc.
2) Half the Film Was Set in Japan.
I loved that the beginning to middle of the film was set in Japan as it made it much closer to the original film. I felt it also made Godzilla seem more authentic having it set in Japan. And I absolutely loved that unlike the “whitewashed” Godzilla (1998) they had lots of Asians in the film who actually spoke in Japanese.
3) Increased Diversity
I also loved that when they moved through different locations, the diversity continued. In Japan we have Japanese; in Hawaii, we see Asians, Whites, and Pacific Islanders; and in California we have a huge increase in Latino actors. This was great as even in 2014, films tend to be centered on one ethnic group.
4) Godzilla Was Actually Godzilla-(Ravaged the City while Protecting it)
This is extremely important, as who wants a Godzilla that doesn’t do anything? The earlier Godzilla films caused countless destruction, but at the same time were trying to “save” the city from other monsters. A type of “I’m the only one who can ruin this city”-type thing. You know, like when you have an older sibling that picks on you, but protects you from everyone else? Well in the 1998 Godzilla, not only was it an incredibly dumb storyline (and oh Matthew Broderick was incredibly stupid in that film!) but he just destroyed. He wasn’t fighting anything.
1) WHERE WAS GODZILLA???
GODZILLA WAS BARELY EVEN IN THE FILM!!!!! It takes 55 minutes, HALF THE FILM!!!!, before we even SEE GODZILLA!!!!! I mean I know they wanted to surprise us and throw us for a loop by having the first creature be the MUTO (Moving Unidentified Terrestrial Object), instead of Godzilla; but really? REALLY?????THEY ARE ONLY GOING TO SHOW THE BACK OF GODZILLA???!!!! WHAT IS THE NAME OF THE FILM???!!! GODZILLA!!! NOT MUTO!!!
2) Fight? More Like Flight!
WHAT WAS UP WITH THE FIGHT SCENES???!!! We get a millisecond of him fighting the male MUTO and a glimpse of the female. Then that’s it, game over. Really, really now? Why do you think I even came to see this film, I wanted to see the freakin’ monsters fight!!!
3) MUTO? Better Name WIT (What is This?)
What was up with the MUTOs? What the heck were those things?
I get the teasing of Mothra. We see it on the poster in Ford Brady’s room and it is the name of one of his pet insects. But then its not Mothra, and I’m okay with that if only they WOULD TELL US WHAT IT IS!!! They give us a male bat/moth thing and a female bat/ape thing? What are they? Where did they come from? Tell us! TELL US!!!
4) The Wife
I FREAKIN’ HATED THE WIFE!! SHE WAS SOOO HORRIBLE!!
She did not act like one happy to see the person they have been apart from. I mean she hasn’t seen him in IN OVER 14 MONTHS and he has a job where HE COULD DIE EVERY DAY!!! They are back together and she’s like “nope I need to answer the phone.” “Oh you have to leave, I’ll see you soon. Good-bye!” I mean her husband just got back and she’s pushing him off!!!! She should have been like “I don’t want you to go but your dad needs you so you need to go” or something.
Then there is when she thinks her husband is hurt in the destruction of Japan by the MUTO. THERE IS NO WAY THAT SHE WOULD HAVE LEFT HER PHONE IN THE OTHER ROOM AND ON VIBRATE. SHE WOULD HAVE THAT THING LOUD AND ON HER 24/7 IN CASE HE CALLED!!!
Then she is at the hospital, and let me do one quick reminder. Her husband has returned after being away over 14 months. He immediately had to go to Japan where there has been all kinds of destruction (as MUTO escaped) and she hasn’t heard from him. Then she gets a call on the hospital phone while she is at work (she’s a nurse) AND DOESN’T ANSWER THE PHONE??? SHE HASN’T SPOKEN TO HER HUSBAND IN OVER 24 HOURS!!! SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN RUSHING TO THAT PHONE TO SEE IF IT WAS HER HUSBAND!!!
I thought she was having an affair or something the way she acted.
5) We Can Kill Them- They’re Just Tourists
They kill sooooooooooo many people.
When they are in Hawaii, one of the largest tourist attractions ever, and they don’t even clear the beaches before they start bombing and shooting? That was like Waikiki, do you know how many people are there on vacations?
In San Francisco, they just bomb and shoot everything!
There is no way they could do that. They could never get away with that much killing of U.S. citizens, no way!!
If you really want a closer look at the issues with it, check out Everything Wrong With. They are spot on!
But no matter what issues it face it was far, far, far better than that travesty of a Broderick film, and that in itself is enough for me.
But what really makes this a spectacular film is that many of the modern myths of werewolves were originated in this film: such as a person becoming a werewolf through a bite; the only way to kill a werewolf is with a silver bullet; and changing into one during a full moon. These are all original concepts created by writer Curt Siodmak. Isn’t that amazing! Like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon this film isn’t based on a book or any specific resource, which allowed the writers a lot of leeway in their work and creations.
So this isn’t the first werewolf film, as that was The Werewolf of London, which actually did rather poorly in theaters. This was the second werewolf horror film to be made and become the most famous. All the later depictions such as: The Howling, An American Werewolf in London, I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Van Helsing, The Wolfman (2010), etc.; looked to it in creating their stories.
So the film was originally written for Boris Karloff, but he turned it down. And although I love that man [read my The Mummy (1932), Frankenstein, or The Bride of Frankensteinpost]I can’t imagine this film being as amazing with him as the title role. Lon Chaney Jr. was just superb! Lon Chaney Jr, was the son of the famous Lon Chaney (who I talk about in my Phantom of the Opera post) and interestingly the set that was used to film this movie was the same used for The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923) which starred Lon Chaney Jr.’s father, Lon Chaney.
Now I love this movie and story but it is soooo sad as well. Here is a wonderful man pure of heart, who has the unfortunate luck of being bitten by a werewolf and can’t do anything to stop it. Unlike modern movies where the person can control it, change at will, etc; in the original when the man transformed into a wolf he literally transformed into becoming a beast and losing all his humanistic thought, reasoning, etc.
So the film starts out with Lon Chaney Jr. as Lawrence Talbot returning home.
Look at this sweetheart
His older brother has died, and as he is the second son he will now inherit everything–money, title, family home, etc. More importantly, after the realization that his brother is no longer, Lawrence AKA Larry, is eager to rebuild his relationship with his father. They had previously parted on not the best terms (he wanted to be an engineer his father wanted him to be something else. He decided to run away to California, against his father’s wishes).
Larry reacquaints himself with the village, taking a deep interest in a particular shopkeeper, Gwen Conliffe, who is unfortunately engaged. However, she is equally interested and as Larry buys a silver-wolf handled cane the two make a date to meet up later that night and visit the gypsies that are camping nearby.
That night Larry meets up with Gwen and her friend Jenny. The three make off to the gypsies passing some wolfsbane along the way. Both girls repeat the old gypsy folklore about wolfsbane:
“Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright“
Now what is really interesting about this old piece of folklore is that it isn’t that old. This quote has been thought to be an Eastern European folk saying, but Siodmak admits that he was the one who made it up. Even though that might be true, it went down in film history becoming a part of almost every future Werewolf film and recited in every future Universal film appearance of the Wolf Man. [It is quoted by Van Helsing, but one of the lines was changed to “The moon is shining bright” instead of “The autumn moon is bright“]
Meanwhile, in the gypsy camp one of them has a terrible secret. Bela, played by Bela Lugosi, is actually a werewolf and hiding it from everyone.
When the group gets to the gypsy camp and have their fortunes read, Bela sees the pentagram on Jenny’s hand and knows that she’s next for death.
Bela runs off and the trio start walking home. Soon Jenny is attacked by a wolf and Larry tries to save her. He wrestles with the wolf and kills it by braining it with his cane. (It being silver can kill it) Unfortunately, he couldn’t save Jenny and during the battle, he ended up getting bit…
Making him the next werewolf.
The next day the constable comes to visit, causing Larry to second guess himself as they found a dead Bela instead of a wolf!
They found Bela beat in the head, and Larry’s silver cane matches perfectly as the weapon.
Col. Paul Montford, chief constable: [showing Larry’s stick to him] Is this your walking stick?
Larry Talbot: Why, yes. That’s the stick I killed the wolf with.
[Sir John Talbot and Col. Montford look at Larry with great concern]
Sir John Talbot: Larry, Bela the gypsy was killed last night. Your walking stick was found next to the body.
Larry Talbot: You mean, Bela the fortune teller? But… I only saw a wolf.
Larry is completely confused as he knows that it was a wolf. And how does that explain the murder of Jenny? Which was done by a wolf? The constable tells him he is still investigating as he really doesn’t want to arrest the Lord’s son, especially since there are so many questions. He ultimately deems the incident an accident.
Larry on the other hand is extremely puzzled. Could he have killed Bela? But he saw a wolf he was bit by one. Except the mark can not be found!
Larry needs answers and decides he will go see the Gypsy woman and not only apologize for her son’s death but ask her what is going on! Gwen and her fiancé Frank go with him.
The gypsy woman, Maleva, reveals that he did kill a wolf–a werewolf. Her son Bela was a werewolf and the only thing that could kill him was silver, silver like the silver on his cane.
Maleva: You killed the wolf.
Larry Talbot: Well, there’s no crime in that is there?
Maleva: The wolf was Bela.
Larry Talbot: You think I don’t know the difference between a wolf and a man?
Maleva: Bela turned into a wolf and you killed him. A werewolf can only be killed by a silver bullet, or a silver knife…[looks down at Larry’s walking stick]…or a stick with a silver handle.
Larry Talbot: You’re insane! I tell you, I killed a wolf! A PLAIN, ORDINARY WOLF!!!
Maleva: Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.
Larry Talbot: Ah, don’t hand me that. You’re just wasting your time.
Maleva: The wolf bit you, didn’t he?
Larry Talbot: Yeah. Yeah he did!
Maleva: [Larry shows Maleva his chest wound concealed under his shirt] Go now – and heaven help you!”
Larry of course doesn’t believe her and leaves. That night he transforms into the WEREWOLF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Now the transformation was laborious. The makeup took six hours and was the design by Jack Pierce for Henry Hull in Werewolf of London. Hull had rejected it as he didn’t like how long the process would be to apply it. Chaney Jr. claimed he had to sit motionless for hours as the scenes were shot frame by frame. Pierce used grease paint, a rubber snout, wigs, and glued layers of yak hair to Chaney Jr.’s face. Larry’s dissolve transformation on screen only took seconds, while in actuality it took almost ten hours as they had to keep reapplying layers for the changing fur.
That night the Wolf Man attacks a grave-digger, Richardson.
The constable and the Doctor finds his ravaged body and wolf tracks.
Meanwhile, Larry finds himself in bed with wolf tracks all around and has finally decided that the gypsy women must be telling him the truth. He talks to his father who just thinks that he is in shock and doesn’t take any of the “werewolf nonsense” seriously. He even calls the doctor who deems it just a mild form of hysteria.
The Constable and doctor prepare the woods to catch the wolf so that it doesn’t kill another person. The night Larry as the Wolf Man steps in one of the traps and gets caught. Luckily the Gypsy woman frees him, as she had felt sorry for his predicament.
Larry transforms back into a human and asks the Gypsy woman and for help. She gives him a charm that will protect him from turning into a werewolf and warns him not to give the charm to ANYONE ELSE AS IT WON’T WORK FOR ANYONE ELSE!
He then runs off to see Gwen to tell her that he is leaving. He knows he has killed the others and doesn’t want to hurt anyone else.
“Larry Talbot: You wouldn’t wanna run away with a murderer wouldja?
Gwen Conliffe: Oh Larry, you’re not. You know you’re not.
Larry Talbot: I killed Bela. I killed Richardson. If I stay here any longer, you can’t tell who’ll be next.”
Gwen tries to get him to take her with him as she loves him, but Larry sees the mark of the pentagram on her hand and tells her he can’t. Instead he gives her the charm. YES THE CHARM THAT IS ONLY SUPPOSED TO PROTECT HIM! Really Larry? REALLY??????!!!!!!
YOU ARE MAKING THE SAME FREAKIN’ MISTAKE THAT EVERY OTHER MONSTER FILM HERO DOES!
DID YOU NOT HEAR THE WOMAN EARLIER? SHE SAID IT WILL WORK ONLY FOR YOU! ONLY FOR YOU!! ONLY YOU!!! YOU KEEP IT! What’s the point of going to a gypsy for help if you ARE NOT GOING TO LISTEN????!!!!!!! I mean this is such a classic mistake made by these men in these horror films. In Dracula, he gives the girl the cross charm that is supposed to protect only him, and then gets knocked out and is unable to keep her from being kidnapped. In The Mummy, he gives the girl the charm that is only supposed to protect him, and it doesn’t work for her. Instead Imohtep knocks him out and takes the girl anyway. MORAL OF THESE STORIES, KEEP THE DANG CHARM!!!DON’T GIVE IT AWAY!!! Alright! So if any of you are given a protective charm you freakin’ keep it!!! YOU HEAR ME????!!!!
And now that I got that little rant out of my system, let’s get back to the story.
So Larry goes to see his father and asks him to lock him up; tie him up in a chair, lock the door, etc and to go far, far, away as he doesn’t want him to be hurt. He also gives his father his silver cane as he knows that it will protect him.
Now this is why I hate modern interpretations of werewolves, except for The Wolfman (2010), as they never capture this aspect of the story. Here is a good man who has become evil, but he doesn’t want to be evil. It wasn’t like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde in which Dr. Jekyll made a choice, or even The Phantom of the Operawhere he suffered such horrible things and had a complete snap and broke down. This was a good man who wanted to fix bad things in his life but the timing was off and he too is caught up in the evil. Modern interpretations also never cover the heartbreaking scene as this with his dad. He knows he can’t control the evil and the last thing he does is try to protect the ones he loves, first Gwen and then his father. The most emotional is the scene with his father, as here is a man he has been fighting with, had a horrible relationship, but you see in this moment how much love he has for his father. He gives him the cane as he wants his father to be safe, no matter what. And you see how much his father loves him by taking the cane, even though he thinks Larry is delusional.
Gwen is worried about Larry and goes looking for him, running into the woods even though the Gypsy warns her not to. I mean seriously, why don’t we listen to the Gypsies? They are gypsies, they know stuff.
So Gwen runs out and into Larry, who has escaped from his room. But instead of the sweet, adorable, loving Larry we are confronted by the horrible beast.
But before the werewolf can do anything, Sir John comes and hits him with the cane, killing him.
The constable and doctor presume that Larry was killed trying to save Gwen, but Sir John knows the truth and now is left alone and has to bury his other son.
“Maleva: The way you walked was thorny though no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Now you will have peace for eternity.”
Yep. I have to say that this is one of my all-time favorite horror films. Although it makes me want to cry every time.
So that was our kick-off piece. Stay tuned for many more wonderful pieces to come!