Werewolf
Werewolf. (Werewolf)

“This Is Absolutely Fascinating…” A Look At Tony Zarrindast’s ‘Werewolf’ (1996)

With the name Werewolf, you’d think Tony Zarrindast’s 1996 film would be the mother of all werewolf stories. Well, it did make quite a litter for itself.


How I Met The Beast and Why You Should Meet It, Too

Like the vast majority of folks, I first experienced Werewolf through Mystery Science Theater 3000 (MST3K). Quite simply, that is the safest portal through which to view bad/mediocre movies. However, in Werewolf’s case, one almost doesn’t need the MST3K guidance.

The movie begins with archaeologists in Arizona looking for God knows what. For better or worse, the crew digs up an honest-to-goodness werewolf skeleton, which a guy named Joel (Joe Estevez) immediately calls, “Yalloglanchie” (or is it “Yetiglanchi”? I’ve seen both.). One of the crew, Tommy (Jules Desjarlais), cuts his hand on the skeleton, and we can guess where this is all going. It’s revealed that “Yalloglanchie” is a Navajo word for a skin-walker, or a witch that can change itself into an animal. To be clear, this is the titular werewolf, and it shall eagerly kill humans, much like the media stereotype.

Extra Cheese, If You Please!

Werewolf
The MST3k boys address “Sam The Keeper” (Werewolf)

Although Desjarlais’ acting tries to make the transformation seem physically painful and sad, it’s painful and sad in a different sense. It is grade A cheesy lycanthropy, and the science fiction aspect of Werewolf — the idea that serious scientific research is occurring — only adds to the overall effect. You also have funny-sounding accents and butchered English, like when the character Natalie Burke (Adrianna Miles) says, “Wuur-wilf? You mean, Joel thinks this thing is a wuur-wilf?” What’s not to like about that? Then, at one point, she says in a completely emotionless tone: “This is absolutely fascinating.”

If that’s not enough, you have the undeniable awkwardness of Yuri’s (Jorge Rivero) constantly changing hairstyle throughout the movie. Seriously, even without the MST3K guys joking about it, this would be one of the funniest aspects of the film. You simply have to love the chameleon-esque hair!

The Many Looks of the Wuur-Wilf

Like with Yuri’s hair, this werewolf changes its look quite a lot. At times, the werewolf looks like a man with pubes stuck to his face. Other times, it’s a mere puppet. It takes on the appearance of a strange, alien bear. Sometimes it is bat-like in appearance. Then, maybe weirdest of all, is when the makeup on the werewolf is actually surprisingly well done (you’d think they would have stuck with that method).

Some Finishing Quotes

Like any great cheesy movie, Werewolf  has some classic quotes that keep us coming back.
Here are three of my faves:

“Weird things a-goin’, weird things a-comin’, weird things a-doin’ ’round here!”
— Sam the Keeper (R.C. Bates)

“So it all comes to this? You and Noel is in it for fame and fortune? But over my dead body! You hear me? I won’t stand for it!”
— Natalie

“They can also tell when a man is Yalloglanchie. He takes on a series of strange body habits, like sleeping like a coyote, nose to anus. The house begins to smell like coyote urine.”
— Noel (Richard Lynch: Rob Zombie’s Halloween)

If reading this article doesn’t get you in the mood for some cheesy Werewolf fun, then I don’t know what will. (This Article was updated on 12/10/2020)

About wadewainio

Wade is a wannabe artist and musician (operating under the moniker Grandpa Helicopter), and an occasional radio DJ for WMTU 91.9 FM Houghton. He is an occasional writer for Undead Walking, and also makes up various blogs of his own. He even has a few books in the works. Then again, doesn't everyone?

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