Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wolf Man's Got Nards!

From the get-go I've been pumped for Universal's Wolf Man remake. Director Joe Johnston (Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Rocketeer) may not be anyone's idea of a visionary but he knows how to pull together a solid film and off-hand I can't think of any of his movies that haven't at least been entertaining. He even made a better sequel to Jurassic Park than Spielberg himself did (with 2001's Jurassic Park III) so my confidence in his ability to make The Wolfman work, even under less than ideal conditions, has been high. Now that the official word has just come in that The Wolfman has gained an 'R' from the MPAA, I'm even more jazzed to see what Johnston has come up with.

An R is no guarantee that it'll be good, of course, but in the post-Howling, post-American Werewolf in London era, a watered down werewolf movie is hardly worth doing so at least this rating is an assurance that this remake won't be soft pedaling its horror elements. And that's a silver lining to this troubled film if I ever saw one.

8 comments:

Bob Ignizio said...

Having just recently watched the orignal 'Wolfman', I can say I'm looking forward to this remake more than ever. I love Chaney, but the movie itself is considerably less than perfect. Plenty of room for improvement no matter what the rating.

Matt-suzaka said...

I'm very excited for the movie too and I am more than happy to hear that it's going to be rated R! Very good news and gives the film that much more promise.

senski said...

I agree completely about Johnston - esp. JP3 (jeez, that sounds like a pope!). I wish that more big budget sequels were as tight, efficient and fast-paced as it was. And yes, that R rating is a hopeful sign. I'm hoping for a classy - and bloody - finished product, a movie that feels like the long-delayed final installment of the Dracula / Frankenstein trilogy started by Coppola in '92.

Jeff Allard said...

Bob, I haven't seen the orignal Wolfman in ages (like, a couple of decades, at least). I'm not surprised that it leaves room for improvement, though.

Matt, I'm cool with PG-13 horror when it comes to anything involving ghosts or hauntings or giant monsters but slashers, zombies, and werewolves have got to be R. And an R today really means something, by God! Back in the late '80s and through the '90s, an R-rated movie was like a slightly less watered down PG-13. Now with movies like Rambo, Punisher: War Zone and Ninja Assassin, an R could mean some serious gore is about to hit you.

Senski, glad I'm not the only JPIII supporter! As you say, it was the rare tentpole summer sequel to practice economic storytelling and not be ashamed to be a brisk, Saturday matinee style creature feature. And as for the new Wolf Man's ties to the '90s Gothic horror revival, it does make me want to go back and revisit those movies. They weren't perfect but at the time it was cool to see the classic monsters getting some attention.

Speaking of Bram Stoker's Dracula, over at STYD, in the comments discussing The Wolfman's R rating, some are bringing up BSD as an example of a true horror classic and a movie that did a vampire love story the right way (as oppossed to Twilight, assumedly) but I remember when BSD was released, ALL the complaints against it from the horror community were about the fact that Coppola had neutered Stoker's creation and turned Dracula - the Prince of Darkness! - into a sobbing, love sick little girl. Reading the comments defending it, all I have to say is: isn't it funny how history gets rewritten?

J.D. said...

I like Johnston... THE ROCKETEER was an excellent film and quite faithful to the source material and HIDALGO was a very underrated action/adventure film. I'm quite curious to see what he's done with THE WOLFMAN. Plus, you've got Benicio Del Toro and Emily Blunt. Not too shabby at all.

Jeff Allard said...

No, not too shabby. Pretty damn good, in fact! I never saw Hildago - that might be the only Johnston film I haven't seen. I remember thinking it looked like a good throwback to an earlier type of adventure movie. I'm glad he's doing the Captain America movie next as I think that's going to be a perfect fit for him.

knobgobbler said...

For whatever reason, when I think about werewolf movies as a subgenre, my kneejerk reaction is that most of them are kind of disappointing.
I'm not sure if that's objectively true, but even though I can think of some good stuff like Dog Soldiers and the first Howling movie... I still don't think I've seen a really all out crazy terrifying werewolf movie that lives up to the potential I think that mythology has in it.
I hope these guys can really take the muzzle off and bare their fangs on this one.

Jeff Allard said...

Yeah, the werewolf genre is full of untapped potential - which maybe is why it's so appealing to a lot of people. There's the sense that it isn't exhausted in the way that other sub-genres or monster archetypes seem to be. Hopefully come Feburary, The Wolfman will live up to our expectations!