- Wolfguy Enraged Lycanthrope (1975, Kazuhiko Yamaguchi)
This is why I do Shocktober, guys.
I expected to enjoy it, yes, but not love it. Japanese films can sometimes seem quite cold and distant. Wolfguy, however, howled at the moon and straight into my heart.
It’s less of a horror and more of a very bleak, very very violent noir. Think The Big Sleep, but with funk music, yakuza street fights and werewolves.
I know right?
Our hero is legendary Japanese badass Sonny Chiba (The Streetfighter, Kill Bill). Sonny is a news reporter who witnesses a man in the street torn apart by nothing. At first, the police suspect him, but then the coroner’s report clears things up.
Sure, I…guess that makes sense…
Sonny then gets embroiled in an overcooked plot that takes in a psychic woman seeking revenge against her attackers, a clan of werewolf people, and a sinister government agency. It’s impossible to follow and yet I was never confused. But then, every 5 minutes or so, something like this happens –
or this –
or this –
It’s crazy, but it’s also beautiful and occasionally haunting. There’s a stunning musical number in a strip joint that I loved. In fact, the music throughout is really seedy funk that aids immeasurably in creating the sleazy atmosphere.
It’s all going so well, until suddenly Sonny meets a cave dwelling woman with the same name as his mother. As she literally thrusts her boobs in his face, he has flashbacks to being breast-fed as a child. Later, in bed, he tells her ‘You are my mother. But also my wife.’
You could write a thesis trying to unpack the Freudian implications of that scene, but I’m happy to draw a veil over the whole thing and move on.
I hugely recommend Wolfguy Enraged Lycanthrope. It’s a gritty, hardboiled noir mystery with more than enough nudity and violence to satisfy your average jaded gorehound.
But most excitingly, I also discovered The Sonny Chiba Inspirational Poster Game! Simply pause the film with the subtitles on to create your own motivational wall hanging.
Here’s a few to get you started…
I ALSO WATCHED…
2. The Thing From Another World (1951, Christian Nyby)
I thought I’d watch a classic that I hadn’t seen before.
I wish I hadn’t bothered.
The Thing From Another World is deathly dull for much of it’s running time, and when the ludicrous vegetable monster finally shows up it’s too late to care.
The first of who knows how many disappointments of Shocktober 2016.
3. Final Exam (1981, Jimmy Huston)
Next up was the compellingly moronic Final Exam, an early 80s slasher that wants to be Halloween but manages to do everything wrong.
There’s an extraordinary sequence where some meat-head finds a corpse in the school. He runs out of the building, goes next door, down the stairs into a boiler room, then into a small storage area. Unfortunately for him, the killer is hiding in a barrel in this very room.
Sometimes you’re just shit outta luck.
But there’s something about Final Exam that keeps me watching. As a horror film it’s a disaster, but as a relic of low budget filmmaking it holds some fascination. Every so often there’s a pretty good quip, or a weirdly inventive shot.
Also, the killer is just some guy with a terrible 70s Dario Argento bowl-cut. Why is he killing? We never find out. But if you’re like me, you’ll never want to know.
Some mysteries were never meant to be solved.