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AL J. Vermette's Interview with Actor Brian Steele

Master of Monsters

Meet The Werewolves of
Brian Steele

By AL J. Vermette

Brian Steele is the Lon Chaney of our generation, he is an actor who has dedicated his career to playing some of the greatest Movie Monsters of all time. Chances are if you have seen a monster movie, it was Brian bringing the films true star to life…the creature itself. His work can be seen as the Kothoga creature in the movie “The Relic”, Hell Knight in “Doom”, the loveable Big Foot of “Harry & The Hendersons” TV series, the bat creatures of “The Cave” and the Lycans in “Underworld.”

Brian has played everything under the sun and full moon for that matter almost 20 years now, but who is this man of many faces who slips into rubber and fur and brings these wonderful creations to life? Not long ago, I had the chance to meet Brian fresh from playing William: Lord of The Lycans in the movie “Underworld: Evolution” and I must admit it was so cool to talk with the man who has played all the Movie Monsters that I have seen over the years. Shortly coming from the set of “Resident Evil 3”, Brian and I set up this interview for the fans of “Werewolf Magazine,” “Werewolf Café” and “Blood Moon Rising.”

AL: As a kid growing up, have you always wanted to make yourself up as a monster?

Brian: I can remember running home after to school to watch Monster Week on Channel 50. It was so cool to watch these creatures do battle. That is when I fell in love with Monsters!

AL: How did you get into the movie biz playing creatures?

Brian: Well, I’m going to date myself here! In 1987 I went to an audition to play Frankenstein’s Monster at Universal Studios Tour. I got the job and thus began my adventure portraying Monsters.

AL: Please tell our readers what it is like to perform on a movie set as a monster and what it takes to become something other then human?

Brian: I have the greatest job in the world. I get the opportunity to perform these Creatures that Artists have created. The talent and imagination that goes into creating these Monsters on my body astonishes me every time. When performing on set it is a culmination of many months of preparation. I work within a team of makeup artists and puppeteers to create what is seen on film. My performance comes from understanding the sculpture of the Creature because this design lends itself to what the movement should be. Then, taking that into account, I begin my intense physical training to strengthen those muscles used to move this Monster.

AL: What were some of the longest make-up sessions you had on a film?

Brian: I believe the longest make-up session so far has to be on “Blade Trinity.” If I remember correctly the make-up took close to 4 hours. It was well worth it after seeing the final result.

AL: What was it like playing one of the Lycans in the movie “Underworld” and what did you have to do to bring the werewolves to life?

Brian: Portraying the Lycans in UW was a great experience. It was a performance that required me to wear leg extensions. This brought a new challenge to my performance. There I was standing over 7 and half feet tall fighting many different actors in this animatronic suit with leg extensions trying create a performance that was convincing. The last thing any suit performer wants is to look like a guy in a big rubber suit! So, I trained many hours with the extensions before leaving for Budapest until they became a part of me. This allowed me to work with confidence and concentrate on other areas of the Lycan performance.

AL: In the movie “Underworld Evolution” you played one of the coolest looking werewolves in all of film history, William the very first Lycan. What was it like to play him and what did you have to do to make him different from the other Lycans with acting?

Brian: WOW! Thank you! When I saw the Sculpture of William I just couldn't wait until they had a design for me to try out. He is just such a bad-ass! The great thing about William is that there were no limits on how to play him. I went into it with the idea of just making him ruthless. A killing machine! We worked on changes with the leg extensions to give him more mobility than what the original wolves had. As you can see in the film William has the ability to walk almost upright then attack in a quadruped stance. This gave me many performance variations to draw from. I can't say enough great things about Tatopoulos Studio. They designed and crafted the Lycans in UW, UWE and William for UWE.

AL: You play werewolves so well, have you portrayed any other lycanthropes for other movies other then “Underworld?”

Brian: UW and UWE have been the only Films I have portrayed werewolves in. Hopefully, I will get an opportunity to complete the Trilogy and work on UW3! Then we will try some really groundbreaking stuff!

AL: Please tell our readers what other creatures and movies you have been in?

Brian: Well, the best way to explain that is to direct your readers to my website&helip; To highlight the work I have done recently: Sammael in “Hellboy”, Hell Knight in “DOOM”, Creature in “The Cave”, Drake Beast in “Blade Trinity”, Tartutic in “Lady in the Water.”

AL: Of all the beasts that you have played over the years, which ones have been the most fun to play and why?

Brian: With out a doubt my favorite is Portraying Harry in the TV show “Harry and the Henderson’s” This character was so wonderful to work with. The writers gave me the freedom to perform and the cast was amazing to work off of. It was an incredible two years of my life.

AL: What is the one creature you have yet to play that you would most like to slip into the rubber for?

Brian: Great question! Lets see... I'll leave you guessing but, the clue is it has to do with a dark Lagoon!

AL: So what’s next for you and what creatures and movies do you have coming up that we can look forward to.

Brian: I recently completed work on the latest “Resident Evil” movie. I can't say anything about the monster except that it is damn cool. It looks like I could be going on location soon on a movie called “Gallow Walker”. That's it for now, but 2007 is looking very interesting!

AL: Thanks Brian and keep scaring us in the years ahead.

Go to Brian’s website
and see what creatures he has played & or will play in the future

"In the Red" Movie

A big thank you goes out to director David Matheny and three of the cast members who autographed this promotional card for their werewolf related movie "In the Red" for The Werewolf Cafe.

This movie is currently available on DVD.

You can check out David's website at with the direct link to the movie trailer being at

Thank you David and Cast!

In the Red (front)

In the Red (back)

"The Lycanthrope" movie

A big thank you goes out to director Tony Quinn, musician Matt Thompson, cast members Zayra Alvarez, Whitney Blake, Gerardo Davila, Adrian Green, Andrew Grillo, Jaime Javor and Aida Omar for autographed promotional items for the upcoming werewolf movie "The Lycanthrope." You can visit "The Lycantrhope" movie website at for all kinds of information about this film including the movie trailer, screening information, cast member bios and more. Thank you cast members and crew members of "The Lycanthrope".

Here is an autographed postcard that was autographed by all the cast members:

Lycanthrope Moview

Review: The Howling

Hello again, Werewolf Cafe patrons, and prepare to settle in for another fantastic yarn of man-eating lycanthropes and the hapless women they stalk. This month’s topic of one-sided discussion is the 1981 classic, “The Howling.” I think it goes a little somethin’ like this...

The Howling

Dee Wallace-Stone (E.T.’s mom, as “Scream” so eloquently put it) stars as Karen White, a TV news reporter who’s become the object of serial killer Eddie Quist’s psychotic obsession. The film opens with Karen’s daring attempt to catch the killer and land a great story by playing bait in a police sting. With her husband, co-workers, and the police listening in, Karen follows the smiley face stickers and obscene phone calls to a porno shop in a bad part of town, where she soon finds herself in a screening booth viewing a rape flick with Eddie breathing over her shoulder. As Karen begins to sweat more profusely, Eddie rants on and on about how he’s going to light up her whole body. Okay, it’s no secret that this is a werewolf movie. After all, this is the Werewolf Cafe, so I’ll just go ahead and say it: Eddie is a werewolf, and apparently he’s decided to recruit Karen. Sort of a werewolf take on what vampires always do when they see a chick they like. Hey, if it works... Anyway, the bad news is, the auditory connection to Karen has been lost, so she’s pretty much on her own. The good news is, she’s a screamer, and the cops hear her cries for help when Karen finally sees Eddie’s true face. A young rookie comes to the rescue and fills Eddie with lead before Karen can be physically harmed, but she’s already the victim of psychological damage. By the way, the older cop referring to the rookie as “Quick Draw McGraw” here never fails to make me chuckle.

Even the famous Dr. Waggner (Patrick Macnee) can’t help Karen remember the face she saw that night, which has been locked away deep in her subconscious. Finally, the concerned doctor suggests that Karen and her husband, Bill, spend some time at his “Colony,” a retreat in the California woods for some of his patients who need to “unwind.” When the two arrive there, however, Karen hardly finds it relaxing. Introduced to her fellow patients at a nighttime barbecue, Karen is not at all comfortable with their behavior. Hillbilly dancing, howling at the moon, and old men setting themselves on fire simply aren’t her thing, but Karen tries to make the best of it. She quickly makes friends with the ditzy Donna, and the two spend their time playing tennis and gossiping. But being surrounded by strangers who just keep getting stranger, disturbing howls coming from the woods at night, and a sudden rash of animal mutilations are all weighing heavily on Karen’s mind. To make matters worse, the Colony’s lovely resident nymphomaniac, Marsha, has designs on Karen’s frustrated husband.

Meanwhile, back in the city, Karen’s friends and co-workers, Chris and Terry, are doing their best to discover the secrets of Eddie Quist, who they find has mysteriously disappeared from the city morgue. Their search leads them to the serial killer’s home, his deranged yet impressive art portfolio, and a charming scene in a quaint little occult book store (Dick Miller is a national treasure). Their investigation is interrupted when Terry rushes out to bring some citified sanity to her friend, Karen, along with an all meat picnic basket that vegetarian Bill goes crazy for. See, Bill has secretly been seeing a little too much of the luscious Marsha Quist lately (did I mention Marsha was a Quist?), and their recent exchanges of bodily fluids have come with their share of side effects. But hey, if you’re going to become a werewolf, Marsha Quist is the way to do it. Everything starts to come to a boil when Karen catches onto her wandering husband, Terry has a deadly Quist encounter, and Chris swipes some silver bullets in a mad rush to join the fun! As the climax approaches, Karen comes face to face with the face that’s been haunting her dreams since she first saw it, Eddie Quist! She throws some acid in that face though, and makes a run for the door. Thank goodness doctors always have deadly acids sitting around their offices for emergencies! As Karen searches for help, Chris finishes off Eddie, and everything comes to a head in a nearby barn. The Colony’s werewolf pack takes Karen prisoner, still offering to make her a new member (which is actually quite nice of them when you think about it, she should really be quite flattered). Unfortunately, not everyone is happy with the way things are going under the good doctor’s alpha male leadership, and Marsha begins challenging his status. The power struggle only makes things more frightening for Karen, whose fate seems to depend on who comes out on top in what is basically a losing situation for her either way. Luckily, bright boy Chris shows up just in time, armed to the teeth with silver and rarin’ to go! Once the werewolves realize that Chris has the upper hand, he manages to back them into the barn and trap them inside. They commence to setting the place on fire and driving off to safety, though they still have to deal with Sheriff Newfield (played by the wonderful Slim Pickens), Bill, and a few others along the way.

Karen’s bad luck seems never ending when she gets bitten in the frenzy to escape, making hers and Chris’s return to the safety of high population and familiar surroundings a bittersweet one. The two friends make a decision to get the word out to the rest of the world, and on a live television broadcast, Karen exposes her new condition to the viewers. While she makes the change from woman to wolf, we are treated to the hilarious reactions of the disbelieving television audience. Finally, Chris puts Karen out of her misery, and a panicked Kevin McCarthy screams for a switch to commercial. Mm-mm, that dog food looks good. Cut to a local dive, where customers discuss the televised atrocity they’ve just witnessed. Who should be sitting amidst them but the loveliest nympho-werewolf the 80s ever provided, Marsha Quist, ordering up a rare hamburger. Very rare.

And that’s the story, folks! Only a few months before the legendary “An American Werewolf In London” was released, Joe Dante gave us the OTHER best werewolf movie ever made, the original “The Howling.” Rather than the lone, cursed wolf-man figure, The Howling gives us a very different take on the genre, portraying werewolves as pack creatures much like the animals they take their names from. Everything from alpha leaders, to challengers, to mating, hunting, and socializing is represented, giving us a much more realistically-based depiction. These tall and very impressive looking werewolves are also able to shape-shift whenever they choose, day or night, making them quite the formidable opponents. But “The Howling” doesn’t disregard the traditional Hollywood legends completely. It still takes silver bullets or fire to kill these werewolves, and their condition is still spread as easily as a single bite. The Howling’s effects are fantastic, only outshined by “An American Werewolf In London,” released that same year, and just as in that film, the material is handled with great love and respect. It’s loaded with humor and cute and funny references to wolf and werewolf pop culture, from cartoons and familiar illustrations, to a can of Wolf brand chili. There’s no shortage of gore and horror either though, with some genuine scares for any lone, nighttime viewers. The cast is excellent, studded with camp and horror favorites like Dick Miller, Patrick Macnee, Dee Wallace-Stone, John Carradine, Kevin McCarthy, Christopher Stone, Slim Pickens, Dennis Dugan, and Roger Corman, among others. Everyone is fantastic in their roles. Robert Picardo and Don McLeod are perfectly creepy as the Quist brothers (for those who haven’t seen the film, I’ve created a little illustration of Eddie to accompany this review), and Elisabeth Brooks is breathtaking as their sister, the frighteningly seductive temptress, Marsha. Now, for many, Karen’s final scene, in which we see a VERY different style of werewolf, tends to “ruin” the scary and impressive tone of the rest of the film. Don’t let this ruin it for you! According to Dee Wallace-Stone in a recent interview here at the Werewolf Cafe, this different look of the final werewolf was done to depict her character’s unwillingness to submit to the transformation. Knowing that makes the whole thing much more acceptable (thanks, Dee)! Overall, “The Howling” adds up to one frighteningly good time that I highly recommend! Definitely worth purchasing on DVD or VHS, as it is great for repeat viewings!

FYI, 6 sequels followed “The Howling,” ALL of which have an awful reputation. I recommend checking them out and judging for yourself, though. They’re all very different, and a couple might be rather enjoyable to you, but avoid the no-budget part 7 (New Moon Rising) at all costs. For more of my favorite werewolf movies, please check out my werewolf movie list on

Enjoy "The Howling," and see ya next review!

"Lycan Colony"

Submitted by: Full Moon

A big thank you goes out to director/writer/musician/producer Rob Roy for this cool promotional poster and magnet for the recently released werewolf film titled "Lycan Colony." To find out more about this movie, you can check out the "Lycan Colony" website at for information. Thank you so much Rob!

Lycan Colony Poster

Lycan Colony Magnet

The Wolf Man: a review

Submitted by: slave2moonlight

The Wolf Man: a review by slave2moonlight


Hello again, Werewolf Cafe patrons! Slave2moonlight here, back for another overly detailed werewolf movie review! This time, in honor of the Werewolf Cafe’s 2nd Anniversary, I’ve chosen a very special movie to add to the Cafe’s ever growing film encyclopedia, the Queen Mother of all werewolf movies, Universal Studios’ 1941 classic, “The Wolf Man!”

Okay, so “The Wolf Man” wasn’t the first werewolf film ever made. It is still, by far, the most widely known and loved. I mean, what werewolf is more iconic than the one Lon Chaney Jr. made famous? Yes, this review has been a longtime in coming, so sit back and enjoy my take on this American cinema classic!

The film opens in a very interesting way for the modern movie-goer. Immediately following the Universal logo and film title is a run-through of the principal characters. Each one is shown in a scene from the film, but without sound (only the main title music), and with their respective credits. Then, the story begins with a look at an encyclopedia definition of “Lycanthropy,” making reference to the English village and Talbot Castle that are the settings of the film. On to the first actual scene, where we see young Larry Talbot, played by Lon Chaney Jr., being driven by a chauffer to his family home, Talbot Castle. Larry has returned, after living in America for many years, to take over the family estate after his older brother was killed in a hunting accident. We learn all this when Larry arrives and is greeted by his father, Sir John Talbot, played by the wonderful Claude Rains. Sir John is an amiable fellow, but still a bit stiff and stuck on propriety. Larry is a laid-back, American, “average Joe” type. It’s clear that he left Talbot Castle due to the friction caused by being the younger son, second in-line for everything, but he is happy to be back and among family and friends. The only thing we see of deceased older brother John is a painting hanging above the fireplace which bears an uncanny resemblance to Larry himself.

As father and son happily agree to put the past behind them and settle Larry into his birthright together, two servants catch Sir John’s attention. They are carrying in a crate that holds a new part for Sir John’s telescope, and we soon see Larry and John in the observatory where Larry works to put the piece in place. Impressed by Larry’s skill with his hands, Sir John leaves him alone to finish up. Big mistake! You can’t leave Larry alone with a telescope! Larry is the Wolf-Man, after all! Ha, seriously. First thing Larry does is “accidentally” aim it at a bedroom in the nearby village, one just above Charles Conliffe’s antique shop. Through the window, he discovers Conliffe’s daughter, Gwen, played by the lovely Evelyn Ankers, putting on earrings as she finishes dressing. Naturally, being the wolf that he is, Larry hotfoots it over to the antique shop, and who could blame him? Gwen IS a hottie. If you think the waifish actresses we have nowadays are hot, get a load of 1940s dames! Anyway, Larry enters and commences to put the moves on Gwen, first pretending he is looking for a pair of earrings for a gift. After Gwen shows him what they have in stock, Larry requests the earrings still on her dressing table, describing them accurately enough to freak Gwen out. Gwen suggests that perhaps her father would be more helpful to him, and Larry quickly changes tactics, deciding he is shopping for a cane instead. Gwen pokes fun at Larry, saying the dog-handled cane would suit him best, but he settles on a can with a silver, wolf’s head handle instead. The handle also features a wolf inside a pentagram, which sparks Larry’s curiosity. Gwen proceeds to give Larry a quick lesson on werewolves, as he has no idea what they are. She informs him that the pentagram is the mark of the werewolf, and that he sees it in the palm of his next victim’s hand. At the heart of her brief tutorial is the first recitation of the film’s legendary poem, “Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.” Larry gets a kick out of the cane’s side-story and decides to purchase it. He also makes a date to take Gwen out later that evening at eight, though she insists she cannot go out with him. As Larry exits and Gwen follows, the two see a gypsy cart traveling down the street. Larry suggests that they make their date a visit to the gypsy camp for a fortune reading, though Gwen continues to insist that she will not be coming along. Later on, Larry relays the day’s events to his father, Sir John, who is happy to hear that his son is taking an interest in the townsfolk, and who also seems to know the little poem about werewolves that Gwen recited earlier. Werewolves are very popular around Talbot Castle!

So, 8 o’clock comes around, as it always does, and Larry shows up outside the antique shop for his would-be date. Gwen is there too, waiting for him, though she still insists that she can’t go. Sure, that’s why she brought a chaperone along. Oh, yes, she brought a friend to make sure there was no funny business. You know how hot girls usually have unattractive best-friends around to ruin everything? Well, Gwen Conliffe has Jenny Williams. The three set off together, laughing about the situation as if they were off to see the wizard. As they walk through the eerie woods, Jenny brings up the old werewolf poem again. Clearly, the girls in this village have a werewolf fetish...hmm... When they find the old gypsy cart, Jenny asks to be the first, and Larry and Gwen are only too happy to allow it. Inside, the mysterious and off-putting Bela (the legendary Bela Lugosi) begins to read Jenny’s fortune, but clearly he is having health problems. Jenny is disturbed when she notices the pentagram shaped scar on Bela’s forehead. Meanwhile, outside and already a distance away, Larry fills Gwen in on how he knew about her earrings, almost getting himself into trouble, but not much. People took things like that better in those days, ha. In return, Gwen enlightens Larry as to why she has been so resistant to him. It seems that she is already engaged to the Talbot Estate’s gamekeeper, Frank Andrews. Well, this doesn’t stop the two from giving each other goo-goo eyes, but they are interrupted when a panicked Jenny sends out a scream in the night as she is attacked by a wolf while fleeing Bela’s gypsy cart. Larry rushes to Jenny’s aid but is too late to save her. He does, however, manage to kill the wolf that attacked her by beating it to death with the silver handle of his cane. Unfortunately, not before being bit by the beast himself!

Back at the castle, Sir John is conversing with Captain Paul Montford, the obnoxious chief constable of the area and childhood friend to Larry. They are both startled when Larry is brought into the room a complete wreck. Paul and his men head out to the location of the attack to do a full investigation, squeamish assistant Victor Twiddle, one of the only “English” people in the film that actually has an English accent, takes notes and provides comic relief to the murder scenes. They inspect the body of Miss Jenny Williams, and they also make a discovery of their own. There’s no dead wolf to be found, but they do find the bludgeoned body of Bela the gypsy!

Everyone figures that Larry must have gotten confused in the fog and excitement, accidentally beating Bela to death instead of the wolf. Larry is certain that it was a wolf he killed though, and is greatly distressed by everyone doubting his mental condition! He is sent off to bed, only awakening to find matters worse, as his one bit of proof that a wolf was involved, the bite on his chest (strange place for a bite), seems to have disappeared. He decides to check on Gwen and visits the antique shop, but inside he finds Jenny’s mother and her cohorts giving Gwen and her father a good tongue lashing. Jenny’s mother seems to be channeling Margaret Hamilton here. The old women get the worse end of it though, and Larry, being the bad-ass that he is, chases them right off when he shows up! Hooray for Larry! Just as he is having a moment to talk to Gwen though, her fiance shows up, dog in tow. Frank’s dog takes an immediate disliking to Larry, and he has to be removed from the room. Gwen then attempts to introduce Larry to Frank, but Frank is in a daze over Larry’s cane. This makes Larry uncomfortable, naturally, and he makes his exit. When he later sees Bela’s mother, the gypsy woman Maleva, in town on matters of her son’s death. He follows her, listening in on her words over her son’s dead body, “The way you walked was thorny through no fault of your own, but as the rain enters the soil, the river enters the sea, so tears run to a predestined end. Your suffering is over, Bela my son. Now, you will find peace.”

Carnival time! Everyone is out to enjoy the gypsy carnival, and Larry is no exception. He runs into Gwen and Frank and is urged into playing a shooting gallery game with gamekeeper. As Sir John and Paul the cop watch from a distance, Larry seems to be doing fine, perhaps getting a handle on his mental state. Then, a wolf target pops up and the image sends a panic into Larry, causing him to miss. Frustrated, he runs off and passes old Maleva’s tent. The gypsy lures him in and gives him some terrifying news. Bela was a werewolf killed by the only thing that can kill a werewolf, silver. Larry was bitten by Bela. “Whoever is bitten by a werewolf and lives becomes a werewolf himself.” Larry is horrified by her words! She forces him to take a charm to protect him, and he does, but only gives it to Gwen moments later when he sees her outside. Gwen is the only one able to calm Larry down. He tells her what the gypsy woman said. Of course, Gwen doesn’t believe in werewolves. Seeing that Gwen is alone and may not be for long, Larry attempts to kiss her, and he manages to for a bit, until the gypsies create an uproar throughout the camp. Maleva has spread the warning that there is a werewolf around, and they aren’t sticking around to find out who it is! Gwen decides it’s time for her to go too, leaving Larry there in a very confused state. He heads back home to the castle, worried and unwell. Alone with his thoughts, a strange feeling comes over Larry. He checks his legs, which seem harrier than normal. He panics, and rightly so. Larry’s feet soon transform into wolf feet. Scrolling upward, Larry has transformed completely into a wolf-man!

In his werewolf form, Larry prowls the night in search of victims. He finds and kills Richardson, the poor gravedigger. Upon turning human again in his own room, Larry rubs out the muddy wolf-prints leading in from the open window. When word of Richardson’s death spreads, Larry is aware that it was his fault. Rumors are spreading throughout the village about Larry, even outside the church on Sunday morning. They think it strange that there were no murders in the sleepy little village until Lawrence Talbot showed up. When Larry and Sir John try to attend weekly services, the unfriendly stares of the townspeople send Larry back out the door. Paul Montford has a good laugh at Talbot Castle when Larry enters the room and tells everyone that a werewolf is responsible for the murders of Jenny and Richardson. Doctor Lloyd thinks Larry needs more rest, Sir John thinks he needs to face his fears, and Frank is just concerned with setting traps for what they feel must be a real wolf after finding tracks at the scenes of the murders. As the men go out in a hunting and trapping party, Larry transforms into a wolf again, this time getting caught in a painful looking trap. As he apparently passes out or goes into shock from the pain, the old gypsy Maleva finds the werewolf laying on the ground and says her chant over him. Temporarily, Larry is human again. He sets himself free, eludes the hunting party, and makes his way to Gwen’s place. Waking Gwen up from her sleep, he tells her, in a frantic state, that he is a murdering werewolf and is leaving the village. Gwen is filled with concern for Larry and insists on running away with him. She even tells her father she is going with Larry when he comes downstairs. Larry has seen the pentagram on her hand though, and knows he must get as far away from Gwen as possible! He runs out of the Antique shop and back to Talbot Castle. As Larry attempts to leave for good, his father stops him. Sir John demands that Larry faces his problem tonight, head-on, and so he straps Larry into a chair in his bedroom, bolts the door, and locks the window. Sir John then goes off to join the hunting party, taking with him the silver handled cane at Larry’s insistence. Naturally, Larry transforms once more, and the ropes that hold him down have little effect. Larry is soon on the prowl again as the wolf man, and Gwen, wandering through the woods in search of him, is now in more danger than ever!

Maleva the gypsy finds Sir John and warns him to return home and tend to his werewolf son, but Sir John only becomes angry at the woman for infecting Larry with her superstitions. Maleva also discovers Gwen and gives her a warning too, but everyone is put off by her werewolf talk. Still, just as Maleva warned, the Wolf Man soon finds Gwen, and, just as he prepares to tear her up the way he did Jenny, his father comes to the rescue! Sir John gives his son the same treatment Larry gave Bela, beating him to death with the silver handle of his cane. As Maleva performs her magic chant one last time, Larry turns human just before everyone finds him lying in the heavy mist. Paul declares that Larry must have been trying to rescue Gwen and gotten killed in the process, just as Bela had, but Sir John finally knows better.

A masterpiece and one of the classic “big three” of Universal horror, “The Wolf Man” is a must see film, especially for anyone perusing THIS website! Half hero, half villain, Lon Chaney Jr. turns in a performance to make his poppa proud! The makeup effects and attention to detail are phenomenal too. The Wolf Man even walks with his heels off the ground! Sure, he’s fully dressed, but he still strikes a more imposing figure than you might think! That face is totally wild! There’s great chemistry between Lon and the lovely Evelyn Ankers, and the writing throughout the film is pure poetry. Claude Rains and Maria Ouspenskaya are unforgettable in their supporting roles too! A triumph in mood and style, an achievement of paranoia and fear, a study on dual identity, a film that has inspired countless werewolf films since and several sequels of its own, “The Wolf Man” is still one of the best werewolf films ever made, and it’s 65 years old! Props to Universal Studios and director George Waggner for that enormous achievement! Available on DVD in various forms and on VHS, I recommend the “Wolf Man Legacy Collection” 2-disc DVD set to the real werewolf fanatics out there. It also includes the sequel, “Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man,” along with “Werewolf of London,” “She-Wolf of London,” and a handful of fun bonus features. Pick it up ASAP!

Okay, readers, that’s all for now! Happy viewing, and check out me, slave2moonlight, on “My Space!”

"Death Walks the Streets"

Submitted by: Full Moon

A big thank you goes out to James Zahn (Director/Co-writer) and Ben Brezinski (Co-writer) for this autographed promotional card for their upcoming movie titled "Death Walks the Streets." We want to mention that there are websites at and at for this film. Thank you James and Ben!

Death Walks the Streets Front

Death Walks the Streets Back

"I was a Teenage Werewolf" Movie Poster

Submitted by: Full Moon

A big "thank you" goes out to actor/entertainer/writer Kenny Miller for autographing this "I was a Teenage Werewolf" movie poster.  Kenny Miller played the part of "Vic" in that movie.  Kenny has a website at with lots of information about Kenny, his career and his projects.  Thank you so much Kenny!

Kenny Miller

Kenny Miller

Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman

Submitted by: slave2moonlight

Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman: A review by slave2moonlight


Well, it’s that time of year again, Werewolf Cafe readers! As Halloween fast approaches, I’ve decided a special treat is in order for this month’s werewolf movie review. Something as sweet as it is scary. Well, it’s probably a lot sweeter than it is scary, but don’t worry, it’s very appropriate for The Werewolf Cafe. The film I happen to be reviewing is the direct-to-video masterpiece “Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman,” and don’t blow it off just because it’s a direct to video Chipmunk flick! This is a great little animated movie! So, let’s get started!

We catch up with our favorite 80’s pop star, Alvin Seville, still as young as ever and in the middle of a run for his life. His pursuer? None other than the legendary Universal Studios horror icon, the Wolfman! Though, he actually looks nothing like the Universal Studios Wolfman; they did a much better job when he guest starred on “Freakazoid.” Still, he looks pretty cool and plenty ferocious. We eventually come to find that this black and white chase was all a dream, and Alvin is, in fact, suffering from such nightmares on a repeat basis thanks to his obsession with watching horror movies late at night. While Simon gloats about out-guessing Theodore on which monster would terrorize Alvin’s dreams tonight, Dave bursts in covered with ceiling plaster and gives Alvin a good “I told you so.” The next morning, Alvin is clearly suffering from lack of sleep, and we discover that Theodore is suffering from the wrath of a school bully, but the three boys must head off to school anyway.

On their way to Clyde C. Crashcup Elementary School (an in-joke for fans of the original Chipmunk T.V. show), Alvin and his brothers must pass their new neighbor’s house, and Alvin makes it clear his feelings about the suspicious Mr. Talbot, whose howling dog he blames for causing his latest Wolfman nightmare. Flash forward to after school, when Alvin is in the middle of a dress rehearsal for his starring role in the school play “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” When Alvin breaks character after sucking back a nauseous concoction from a test tube, drama teacher Mr. Rochelle goes into a tizzy and adds to his lecture the need for more aggressive thunder effects from little Theodore, who is suppressed by the threat of physical violence from bully Nathan if he irritates him with more loud noises. Happily, this is where those lovable Chipettes enter the picture. Eleanor does her best to encourage Theodore to stand up for himself, to no avail, while too-cute diva Brittany complains to Jeanette upon realizing her role in the play will not be a weeping girl named Willa, but a weeping willow. Everything comes to a standstill when Alvin pulls out his “Madame Raya Mad Scientist Kit” and explodes the school auditorium! Dave witnesses the mushroom cloud from his own kitchen and immediately gives the telephone a fearful glance. Sure enough, it rings, and he’s back in Principal Milliken’s office discussing Alvin’s antics. Surprisingly enough, it’s not Alvin that Principal Milliken is concerned about. With the knowledge that she will be taking early retirement soon and that the school has a special insurance policy against damage caused by Alvin, she explains that her worries are about Theodore and his troubles with the school bully. The two visit the auditorium, where all the kids are busy cleaning up the slime produced by Alvin’s unplanned experiment. When Dave sees Nathan’s bullying in action, he attempts to step in, but Principal Milliken insists that Theodore must learn to fight his own battles. Luckily for Theodore, Alvin steps in and drops a stage weight on the bully’s foot, sending him packing.

Nightfall, and the Chipmunks and Chipettes are making the unusually spooky walk together to their respective houses. The topic of the evening is Nathan and his nasty bullying of poor Theodore, when Alvin is suddenly spooked by a strange sound and the kids scatter! Both groups high-tail it to their own homes, locking the doors behind them. Dave is stunned when his boys burst in and lock-up in a panic, and everyone is even more disturbed when a knock on the door soon follows. Wake up, Werewolf Cafe readers! It’s time to meet the Wolfman! A stranger at the door introduces himself as their new neighbor, Mr. Lawrence Talbot. He’s tall, fierce, and carries a cane with a silver wolf’s head handle. Now, just as the werewolf in this film looks nothing like the old Universal Studios Wolfman, despite this being a Universal Studios film, this Lawrence Talbot looks nothing like Lon Chaney, Jr.. In fact, this Lawrence looks a bit more like Barnabas Collins in a bad wig. This is explained away later in the film, however, when Mr. Talbot mentions that his cane is a family heirloom once owned by an ancestor with a shady past (the original Lawrence Talbot?). Anyway, the purpose of Mr. Talbot’s visit is not introductions, but rather to complain about Alvin and the boys trampling over his irreplaceable wolfsbane plant in their mad rush to get home. He counteracts complaints about his noisy dog with the revelation that he has no dog, and insists that the Sevilles keep their distance in the future. Then, after sniffing the air and informing Dave that his lasagna is burning, he takes his leave. Naturally, Dave is not pleased with Alvin’s continuing monster issues and decides to give him a good talking to.

Alvin is saved by the bell when Mrs. Miller, caretaker of the now terrified Chipettes, gives David an angry call. Meanwhile, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore make a break for the T.V. set, and Alvin plants it on his favorite late-night monster movie show, hosted by the mysterious Madame Raya. The trio tune-in just in time for Madame Raya’s commercial break (during a little film called “The Wolfman and the Mummy Go To College,” sorry, no footage), when she takes the opportunity to push her new book, Madame Raya’s Monster Book of Monster Facts. For only 13.99, you not only get this life-saving book, but a bonus amulet as well. Alvin is drooling over the tome, while Theodore contemplates how much Eleanor would like the crystal amulet. Simon is just disgusted. Alvin insists to his skeptical brother that there IS a werewolf on the loose, and that he is convinced that it is their new neighbor, Lawrence Talbot. Simon argues the point with the help of his list of names of people Alvin has already accused of being some type of monster; a list that includes seemingly everyone in town, aside from Dave. Speaking of Dave, he returns from his verbal thrashing with a conviction to free Alvin of his monster obsession. Dave makes the boy go cold turkey, visiting his bedroom and coming away with a box full of everything even remotely associated with monsters. Dave even insists that Alvin give up his role as the star of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” in the school play. Alvin is devastated, and so is Mr. Rochelle. The drama teacher is even more distraught when Principal Milliken insists that Theodore be Alvin’s replacement. This also angers Nathan, who had his sights set on taking over the role. Shy and frightened Theodore is none too pleased either, and takes only a small amount of comfort in the knowledge that Simon will be handling the heavier burden, taking over the Dr. Jekyll half of the Jekyll/Hyde dual role. Meanwhile, Alvin sits in his room in a state of withdrawal, suffering from chills and sweats over his separation from the monster world. His dark cloud quickly reveals a silver lining, however, when the mail truck pulls up outside. As Theodore waves goodbye to Eleanor, who was visiting to help him with his lines, the mailman gives him a package addressed to Alvin. The devious Alvin immediately takes action, making sure that the package goes directly from Theodore to him, by having his little brother hook it onto a fishing line he has lowered out his bedroom window. Alvin has told Theodore the package contains a book entitled How to Survive in a Monster Free World. This, of course, is baloney. The book is, in fact, Madame Raya’s Monster Book of Monster Facts, and once it is in Alvin’s hands, he is able to breathe easy again. That is, until Simon comes upstairs to add insult to injury and frisks his brother Alvin from head to toe, revealing a tidy pile of rubber snakes and chattering fangs. He didn’t get the book though, which Alvin had safely nestled away behind a pillow. Now, uninterested in the free amulet, which Madame Raya admitted to being useless, Alvin had chucked it out the window before Simon came in, striking little Theodore in the head with it. When Theodore discovered what it was that hit him, he was overjoyed at the opportunity to thank Eleanor for all her support with a gift. That night, armed with his massive, new monster book, Alvin confronts his brother Simon with his plan to prove that Lawrence Talbot is a werewolf. Exhausted with arguing the subject, Simon agrees to help with the understanding that Alvin will truly give up monsters if he is proven wrong. With that, we get the first musical number in this Chipmunk feature, “Munks On a Mission,” playing over a montage of Alvin and Simon thoroughly investigating Mr. Talbot as the days pass, with the monster book as their guide, while Theodore struggles with his new role as Mr. Hyde. It’s the first of three original songs that play throughout the film, all of which are quite catchy and enjoyable! At the end of the tune, we learn that Alvin has made no progress in proving his theory about Mr. Talbot as he reads aloud from his book the old “Even a man who is pure of heart...” bit we love so much around these parts. Soon, Alvin and Simon are arguing over the subject again, and Alvin points out the tell-tale symbol of a wolf’s paw mark that appears on all true werewolves’ palms. As this goes on, Theodore practices his lines in the yard. The little fellow is having an awful time learning to play evil, until Dave shows up and instructs him to think how bully Nathan would say the lines. After a great new read and a sudden burst of confidence, Theodore thanks Dave and decides to finally give Eleanor his gift of the amulet. His timing is not the best, sadly, as it is getting late. Eleanor is thrilled by the gift, but Theodore’s good feeling ends abruptly when he is attacked on the way home by some sort of vicious dog. He comes home in tears, and Dave tends to the bite on his hand with some comforting words. But, as Theodore lies in bed later that night, an odd looking symbol appears on his bandaged hand; the mark of the werewolf!

The next morning, Theodore is a changed Chipmunk. The previously committed vegetarian is suddenly craving a more substantial breakfast; something along the lines of steak, or... steak. When Alvin offers to race him to school, Theodore leaves his brothers in the dust, and at rehearsals later on, he even scares the faculty with his Mr. Hyde performance. Even Nathan is impressed by Theodore’s new aggression. Alvin and Simon are the ones who get to find out why Theodore has changed so profoundly though, when he makes a complete change later that night. As the two older boys argue over the existence of werewolves again in their bedroom, sleeping Theodore transforms into a beast before their very eyes! At first, his brothers are terrified, but they quickly realize that Theodore isn’t exactly a werewolf, he’s a werewolf puppy; a non-housebroken werewolf puppy. And, as they argue whose side of the room Theodore’s mess is on, the energetic and destructive pup makes a break out the window! Alvin and Simon chase him down and quickly realize they have a job ahead of them keeping a werewolf brother a secret and under control. The second song starts up on that note, “The Monster Out In You,” as we go through the following days of Theodore getting wolfier, not to mention cockier and more aggressive, while Simon and Alvin grow tired of dealing with him and his unpleasant new attitude. They’re not the only ones who are getting tired of Theodore, either. Unlike the other girls in school, Eleanor wants nothing to do with him now, and, as the Chipettes walk home with Alvin and Simon after their last dress rehearsal, Brittany, the only one not the least bit intimidated by the chipmunk-wolf, expresses her confusion over the new Theodore. It seems like only Mr. Rochelle is pleased with the sudden turn of events. Troubled by matters out of their control, Simon and Alvin make a decision that night to visit Madame Raya at the local T.V. studio and ask her for some sage advice.

To Alvin’s surprise, Madame Raya does not dress like a gypsy in her off hours. Luckily, she’s still full of terrific monster knowledge for the desperate Alvin and Simon. Madame Raya explains that Theodore transforms every night instead of just during the full moon due to the fact that he is a chipmunk and therefore already closer to the primitive animal state. Unfortunately, her only advice to cure a werewolf is to club it to death with something silver. This sends the boys away pretty upset, but, after collecting her 13.99 for the Monster Book of Monster Facts, she throws in that maybe if they club him while he’s still a puppy, that they won’t have to club him quite so hard. However, she adds that it must be done before the next full moon, for then he will become a full-fledged werewolf and quite dangerous! To Alvin’s dismay, he discovers the next morning that the next full moon will take place that very night. As he plots to snag Mr. Talbot’s silver handled cane long enough to bop Theodore on the head, Simon studies a blood sample of Theodore’s and its unusual reaction when mixed with the blood of Mr. Talbot, which he had collected off a thorny bush some time before. As Dave works in the garden and Theodore digs holes in the yard, Alvin sneaks up behind his little brother with the silver handled cane he just swiped off Mr. Talbot’s porch while the neighbor wasn’t looking. Alvin makes several attempts to conk the unsuspecting Theodore, but never can bring himself to do it. Funnily enough, it happens anyway, quite by accident. This only angers Theodore, however, who grabs the cane away from Alvin and breaks it up! Suddenly, he is faced with having to explain the broken cane to Dave, who is not at all pleased. Dave wants Alvin to apologize to Mr. Talbot and offer to pay for the cane, but when he sees that Alvin is terrified of the man, he decides to do it himself.

Evening comes, and Alvin, Simon, and Theodore are off to the play, while David pays Mr. Talbot an uncomfortable visit. He confesses to Mr. Talbot that Alvin broke the cane accidentally while, according to Alvin, fighting off a giant gopher. Mr. Talbot seems only half interested though. After griping about how the cane was a family heirloom, his attention sways to the full moon outside, and, to Dave’s shock and horror, Mr. Talbot transforms into a werewolf!

At school, the whole neighborhood is turning out for the opening night of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” There’s danger in the air, however, as the moon is up early tonight. Not yet transformed, Theodore is already running rampant causing trouble, and, once the play is underway and he actually transforms, it’s all up with the house! The audience is at first blown away by the magnificent make-up effects on Mr. Hyde, not to mention the horrifying performance, but things soon get out of hand. Leading-lady Eleanor quickly becomes frustrated with Theodore’s unwillingness to give his lines, and she storms out of the theater leaving Simon, Jeanette, and extras Alvin and Brittany to improvise. Meanwhile, back at Talbot’s house, in a scene that would make a heck of an animated series, we see Dave Seville defending himself against a monstrous, snarling werewolf with the business half of a broken, silver handled cane! When Dave gets his chance, he runs for the door and makes it nearly all the way to the school in an effort to warn the kids, until he suddenly realizes he is leading the wolfman right to them! Seconds after this brilliant realization, he runs smack-dab into a pole and knocks himself out. This probably would be Dave’s final hour, had the werewolf looming over him not seen the lone Eleanor in the schoolyard nearby. His attention quickly drawn away from Dave, the werewolf lumbers in Eleanor’s direction, but the little chipette decides “the show must go on” and makes it inside in the nick of time. The wolfman follows her though, and things finally come to a head! Inside the theater, as the now completely nonsensical improv play rolls on, Eleanor, now informed that Theodore is in fact a real werewolf, is suddenly the object of his attack. Backed into a corner, Eleanor is saved when Theodore recognizes the amulet around her neck and suddenly feels a conflict within himself. The pint-sized werewolf manages to shrink away from his victim, and things seem to be looking up, but then the wolfed-out Mr. Talbot arrives on the stage. Everyone is horrified, though for a moment Alvin is filled with satisfaction at having been right about him all along. Wolfman Talbot sets his sights on Eleanor again, but werewolf Theodore comes to her defense! The two wild creatures lock eyes in an epic struggle, circling and snarling, all to the amazement of the elementary school’s theater going audience. In an opportunistic move, Theodore puts the bite on the beast that made him, and, before everyone’s eyes, both creatures instantly transform back into their old selves! Naturally, since modern audiences place more importance on great special effects than on plot, the play receives a thunderous ovation! Meanwhile, Simon explains to a disbelieving Alvin and the Chippettes, and Theodore, who has no memory of being a werewolf, the science of werewolf bites canceling each other out. It’s the kind of werewolf movie resolution that is just corny enough to work, in an animated comedy at least.

Mr. Rochelle is a hit at the wrap party, but Principal Milliken is more interested in giving her goodbye speech to the students. Just as the Chipmunks and Chipettes are breathing a sigh of relief, she introduces the new principal of the school, Mr. Lawrence Talbot! At that moment, Dave finally makes the scene! He carries in his hand the silver handled half of Talbot’s cane, ready to bash him over the head with it! The boys stop him just in time and explain the situation to him. Principal Talbot gives Theodore a quiet thank you for curing him of his family affliction, and all is right with the world. To end things on an extra special note, and to REALLY get the after-party started, the Chipmunks and Chipettes break into a final song exemplifying the feeling that “Everything’s Going to be Alright.”

And that’s the story, folks! Released on vhs in 2000 from Universal, and now available on DVD as well in a DVD “Monster Pack” that also includes several other monster ‘toons (perfect for the Halloween season), “Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman” is excellent werewolf fun for the whole family, especially those of us who grew up with Chipmunk adventures every Saturday morning in the 80s! Despite being direct-to-video, the animation quality of this film is excellent throughout, above that of the animated series, even if not quite at the level of their theatrical feature. In fact, aside from the theatrical “Chipmunk Adventure” feature film, this is Alvin and the gang’s best work yet! There was no slacking off in the writing department (well, unless you’re nitpicky on the cure issue), with a thorough and involved plotline and plenty of Chipmunk-style humor throughout that should work for any age group. Plus, it’s got the Chipettes! Who doesn’t love them? The regulars’ voices haven’t changed a bit, nor have their personalities, new characters are voiced by some of the best actors in the business, all three new songs are original and wonderful, and the whole experience is just fun, fun, fun! If you haven’t seen this one yet, I definitely recommend you go out and pick it up today!

Van Helsing Review

Submitted by: slave2moonlight

Van Helsing

Hello again, loyal readers! Slave2moonlight here! Yes, amidst my numerous duties as storyboard/sketch artist for the independent werewolf film “Lycan Rising,” I finally managed to squeeze in some time to do a new review for The Werewolf Cafe. The subject for this moon’s review is no less than the recent big budget mega-movie, “Van Helsing!” And what a movie it is! One thing this movie cannot be accused of is a lack of ambition! Of course, it IS a Stephen Sommers flick. Stephen is fast becoming one of my favorite modern directors in fact, alongside that Star Wars guy, the Indiana Jones guy, and the Sleepy Hollow guy, among others. “The Adventures of Huck Finn” and the Mummy flicks are also huge faves of mine by Sommers, and “The Jungle Book” is good fun too. But, let us now get directly to the point: Stephen Sommers’ “Van Helsing.”

The movie opens with the modern Universal logo, which then switches to black and white for the fast-paced flashback that kicks off this fast-paced film. The year is 1887, and the villagers are storming Frankenstein castle with torches and pitchforks in a scene that lets you know exactly what sort of movie you’re watching. “Van Helsing” is a popcorn movie, pure and simple, inspired particularly by the classic horror films of Universal Studios, with a Hammer Studios style (especially “Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter”), and a little James Bond and “Vampire Hunter D” thrown in. The villagers in question are Transylvanians, their anger ignited by the evil experiment taking place in the castle at the hands of Dr. Frankenstein himself, and under the watchful eye of his evil benefactor, Count Vladislaus Dracula. For reasons yet unknown to the viewer, Count Dracula has been sponsoring Dr. Frankenstein’s efforts to harness the life-giving power of electricity in the form of a monster constructed from the bodies of 7 dead men. However, once the experiment is a success, the two-faced count lets his true nature show. Frankenstein’s reluctance to allow his creation to be used for evil forces Dracula to put the bite on him (ouch, sorry). This disturbs the now living creature, who knocks Dracula into the fireplace with a piece of laboratory equipment and storms out of the castle with his father in his arms.

Van Helsing Rule Number One: Fire doesn’t work on Dracula.

The villagers pursue the Frankenstein monster to an old windmill (classic), and, as he looms over them from the top screaming a very operatic “Whyyyyyy!!!,” the windmill is set ablaze. Just then, the crowd is frightened away by four horrific figures emerging from the clouds. They proceed to land before the burning mill and weep at the loss of their dream. They are Dracula and his three brides. Very cool opening, though campy at times and thoroughly hammy. Richard Roxburgh’s Dracula takes some getting used to, but with repeat viewings he can really grow on you. Two of Dracula’s three brides, Josie Maran and Elena Anaya, can suck me dry anytime. Silvia Colloca is a bit too mature, and downright scary, for my tastes.

Fast forward one year, to a world that is still dark, but now in color, where we witness a wanted man named Abraham Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) trailing another man known by two names: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The setting is Paris, nighttime, and the trail leads to the belfry of the Notre Dame cathedral. Here, we learn the nature of Van Helsing’s work. He is a monster hunter, and he brings ‘em back dead or a live, which often results in him being mistaken for a murderer. In the big fight scene that follows between Van Helsing and the hulking Mr. Hyde, we learn that Abraham is an easy-going character, much more likeable than the usual tough guy hero personas. He’s also a religious man, though he has issues (including a loss of memory reminiscent of another famous Hugh Jackman hero), and most importantly, he’s the best at what he does. Clad in a dark leather coat and wide-brimmed hat, armed with spinning tojo blades and a sharp wit, Van Helsing makes short work of Mr. Hyde, Dr. Jekyll, and the cathedral’s famous Rose Window.

Avoiding capture by the French police, Van Helsing makes his way to his home-base of sorts, the Vatican City, Rome. Through a secret door in a confessional booth, after some chastising and grumbling back and forth with Cardinal Jinette (guilt and remorse take their toll on Abraham), Van Helsing takes us into the secret lair of a holy order made up of all the religions of the world on a mission to eradicate the monsters that plague our planet. At this point, Cardinal Jinette explains Van Helsing’s newest mission to him, simultaneously divulging the details of the plot to us, the audience. It seems that the last two members of a line of Transylvanian nobles, Gypsy Princess Anna Valerious and her brother, Velkan, are in dire need of help to destroy Count Vladislaus Dracula. The fate of the souls of their entire bloodline rests on accomplishing this task, and now they are down to two. Then, in a sequence right out of a 007 film, a quirky young friar named Carl (David Wenham) introduces Van Helsing to his new “ahead of their time” array of gadgets and weaponry. Before the scene is over, Van Helsing has wrangled Carl into the mission as well.

Cut to Transylvania, where the aforementioned gypsy prince and princess are about to spring an elaborate trap to catch a werewolf. A CGI werewolf, but possibly the second coolest looking werewolf ever depicted on film(the first being in this movie also)! Naturally, despite some very cool action and werewolf footage, things don’t go as planned. The werewolf does get nailed with a silver bullet, but not before taking Velkan over a cliff with him and down to the icy waters below. Her heart sinking, the lovely (but not quite as lovely as on the slide back at H.Q.) Princess Anna looks on and prays for help. Luckily, Van Helsing is on his way, sidekick Carl in tow. Their arrival is not a welcome one, however. The Transylvanian villagers, the same ones we saw storming a castle one year earlier, are wary of strangers. They prepare to kill Abraham and Carl on the spot, with Princess Anna giving the orders, but are interrupted by the vampire brides on a mission to kill the final Valerious. In the process, we finally get a good look at how hot the brides are. Unfortunately, the price is the loss of Josie Maran far too soon in the movie (and with one of the worst CGI effects I’ve seen in a while). Killing Josie, or Marishka, as she is called in the film, earns V.H. some respect, though he is still not accepted with open arms. It is expected now, that the vampires will be more violent than ever.

The two remaining brides return home to Dracula’s secret castle, where we are reintroduced to the count, in color this time. He mourns the loss of his bride for about two seconds, walks around on the ceiling, does some ranting, gently reprimands the hideous Igor(played by the always fun and creepy Kevin J. O’Connor) who is torturing a werewolf behind a curtain, and then we’re back to a scene with Anna and Van Helsing. In Anna’s castle, Van Helsing and the princess toss their tactics at each other while flaunting sexual tension. Unfortunately, they don’t come to an agreement, resulting in Van Helsing spraying Anna with some wicked cool knockout Binaca in the hopes that she’ll have no choice but to use his plan of waiting till morning to hunt. I guess it wares off too soon though, because Anna wakes up and gets to work. Van Helsing catches up with her just in time to chase off her brother, the new werewolf, before he could do any harm during a failed attempt at warning her of Dracula’s plans. Van Helsing goes after the beast, but instead has a run in with Top Hat, the creepiest guy in town, who ends up meeting his end at the hands of the werewolf. While Abraham attempts to kill Velkan the werewolf, Anna catches up with him, and the two have it out about people shooting at her brother... After some bonding, the monster hunters soon find themselves heading in the direction of Frankenstein castle to help Velkan and put an end to the Count. While snooping around within the castle walls, they uncover Dracula’s secret plan. He has been trying to use Frankenstein’s machine to bring his children to life; hundreds of hideous, gargoyle-like babies, born dead and hanging from the ceiling of the castle in slimy pods! Using mortal humans as conductors has been fruitless, so Dracula begins to experiment on Anna’s werewolf brother, Velkan. The creatures are suddenly brought to life, and Dracula sends them out to feed, with his brides teaching them. As Van Helsing goes after Dracula and Anna goes after her brother, the little Dracula babies swoop down and attack the village below. Van Helsing attempts to stake Dracula, but instead of celebrating, the two heroes find themselves fleeing Frankenstein castle, outnumbered by vampires, werewolf Velkan, and the creepy Dwergi, Dracula’s goblin-like henchmen.

Van Helsing Rule Number Two: Silver stakes don’t work on Dracula.

Van Helsing Rule Number Three: Crosses don’t work on Dracula, but they do burn.

Well, after that fun little adventure, Van Helsing and Anna stop for some wooing over a bottle of absinthe, both having learned something from their recent experience. Van Helsing has learned a bit more about his mysterious past (and apparently, this guy has been fighting evil for a long time, well over a thousand years in fact), Anna has learned that the best thing for her brother is a quick death, and all the vampire babies exploded from an insufficient electricity supply, so no major characters are worse off for the visit. In fact, Carl even gets a little action from a villager girl whose life he saved! Typical friar... Anyway, while reflecting on the events of the previous night, Carl makes a significant discovery in the Valerious home. The young friar accidentally finds a hidden clue: a magical painting depicting two knights in battle, one transforming into a werewolf, the other into a bat-creature. Simultaneously, Anna and Van Helsing make a discovery of their own. While discussing the mystery of how to kill dracula and swigging back green liquor in the ruins of the old, burned down windmill, Anna and Van fell through a weak spot and landed in the middle of the Frankenstein monster’s secret hangout! Yes, that guy is still alive! Now that morning has come and the two have regained consciousness, they find themselves face to face with the man-made man. He is in no mood for polite conversation, so Van Helsing knocks him out with a blow dart. V.H. seems to love knocking people out. Before the creature passes out, however, he manages to reveal to them the secret of his existence. He is the key to life for Dracula’s children, and there are thousands more waiting to be given life in Dracula’s own, hidden castle.

When we next see Frankenstein’s monster, he is being loaded into a buggy led by an impressive team of Transylvanian horses, Carl accompanying him. The plan is to take him to Rome, where he can be kept safe by the Knights of the Holy Order. They don’t get far before they are attacked by Dracula’s brides and his pet werewolf. Good thing the buggy Van Helsing is driving is only a decoy. Anna is driving the real one. After his team of horses makes a supernatural jump across a crevasse with Van Helsing hanging on, his buggy goes over the edge and explodes, unleashing an arsenal of flying stakes, one of them nailing a bride right through the heart. That’s two down, one to go. Thankfully, the beautiful Aleera survives for a while longer! Back up top, Van Helsing has reconnected with Anna, and together they fight off Velkan the werewolf. The beast gets killed, but not before he has spread his curse to Van Helsing himself! And, just when things seem darkest, Anna is carried away by Aleera, forcing Van Helsing, Carl, and Frankie to go on a rescue mission to save her.

In Budapest, Van Helsing and his companions encounter Aleera again, with whom a trade is arranged: The monster for Anna. To keep the monster from objecting, Van Helsing knocks him out, of course. They hide him away in a tomb at a nearby cemetery, then head to the Halloween Ball where the trade is set to take place. There’s treachery afoot, however, as it turns out that everyone at the ball is a vampire. The rescue of Anna is a success regardless, thanks to one of Carl’s greatest inventions, a light source with an intensity equal to that of the sun. Unfortunately, Dracula and a few of his cronies survive and manage to get their hands on the monster after all. As they sail away for Dracula’s castle, Van Helsing, Carl, and Anna look on from out of reach. Things continue to grow more intense, as the curse of the werewolf begins to make changes in Van Helsing’s mannerisms and abilities. When the heroes are back at the Valerious castle, they make a mad rush to figure out the location of Dracula’s secret lair. Van Helsing takes a closer look at one painting in particular, which Anna’s father had considered the secret to Dracula’s home. Van Helsing notices a missing piece and fills it in perfectly with a scroll given to him by Cardinal Jinette. Now, the inscription can be read, opening the portal to Dracula’s hidden castle. Through the mirror that appears on the wall, Van Helsing and his friends discover a snow covered mountain top with an ominous castle at its heart: Castle Dracula. Anna, Carl, and Van Helsing carryon, with the intention of bringing their mission to an end, one way or another.

With no apparent way to enter the great fortress, Van Helsing takes hold of his friends and makes a series of supernatural leaps up and over, causing both his partners to worry about the progress of his condition. They come across the wretched Igor first, then the Frankenstein monster imprisoned in a block of ice. The monster informs the heroes of a werewolf cure that Dracula keeps in his castle. Why does Dracula have a werewolf cure? Because, as Carl quickly realizes by remembering the painting he saw come alive in the Valerious castle, the only thing that can kill Dracula is a werewolf! Van Helsing forces Igor to take Anna and Carl to the cure while he attempts to free the monster and go after the count (after a passionate kiss, of course), but things just keep getting in their way. Before Van Helsing can free the monster, enough lightning is conducted through him to bring Dracula’s thousands of remaining children to life, making the death of Dracula the only way to kill them. More bad news: Igor traps Anna and Carl in the room holding the werewolf cure, and Aleera soon arrives to finish them off. When the jar of acid holding the cure is shattered on Aleera, some remaining fluid is used to melt the bars of the room, allowing Carl to escape with the syringe. Anna doesn’t manage to get around the quick-healing Aleera, but soon, with Carl’s help, the Frankenstein monster arrives to lend a hand (accidentally killing Igor on the way). Meanwhile, back in the laboratory, the clock has struck midnight, and Van Helsing’s transformation has begun! Just as Dracula is about to put an end to Abraham’s meddling, he realizes what is about to happen. Van Helsing transforms into the coolest onscreen werewolf you’ve ever seen, despite the whole CGI thing, and a panicked Dracula transforms into a hideous bat-creature in defense. The two start wailing on each other, and it’s quite a sight to watch! The clouds are untrustworthy though, and at one point, the moon becomes hidden again. This works out for the best, as it gives Van Helsing a chance to catch Dracula off guard. He transforms into his human self too, so he can try some of his usual Dracula psychology on Van, but soon the moon is out again, and before Drac can think twice, his throat is ripped out by the super-badass Van Helsing werewolf. Dracula is destroyed, his children explode in mid-flight, and Anna, having just finished off Aleera permanently, arrives with the cure, but werewolves are just to quick. Carl enters the laboratory room just in time to see the huge Van Helsing werewolf hovering over Anna. As Carl prepares to drive a silver stake into the creature, Van Helsing turns to face him, stops his arm, and roars ferociously. Carl sees the empty syringe in his chest and the lifeless body of Anna, and backs away. A look of concern comes over the beast’s face as he looks back to the subject of Carl’s anguish. Taking the girl’s body up into his arms, Van Helsing lets out a mournful howl and transforms back into the man he once was.

A funeral pyre burns on a cliff above the ocean that Anna longed to see. As the Frankenstein monster sails away on a raft, his two friends, Abraham and Carl, mourn over their lost comrade. A mist from the fire awakens Van Helsing’s senses, and his gaze is directed to the clouds. There, he sees the spirit of Anna reunited with the family she knew she would see again someday. The two heroes look towards each other, their missions completed, and so it ends. A darn good movie.

As I said in the beginning, Van Helsing is a “popcorn flick.” Much like “The Mummy Returns,” “Van Helsing” is a thrill-ride of a movie. It’s a special effects laden action-adventure based on the icons of Universal Studios horror. The point of a film like Van Helsing is to have a good time while watching it, and on those grounds, it’s a huge success. Now, I’m not one to praise computer animated characters in live-action films. I confess, a great many of my favorite recent films rely heavily on computer generated characters, but I would almost always prefer audio-animatronics and other real-life effects over CGI, especially with werewolves and other horror related subjects. Why? Well, because I very rarely encounter CGI effects that aren’t obvious, and how can you get a chill from something you KNOW isn’t there? CGI effects are best when used in conjunction with real elements, and it’s always better when the real outweighs the CGI. “Van Helsing” is different though. Yes, there are computer effects in this film that bother me, the death of Marishka, the mouths of the vampires (I prefer the old-fashioned kind), etc...., but these were a few points in a movie heavily laden with CGI. In a film with so many computer effects (think along the lines of the Star Wars prequels), it almost becomes more like watching a painting, making the CGI characters seem much less out of place than they appear in a film like “An American Werewolf In Paris.” With Van Helsing, so much of the backgrounds and effects are CGI that the pure CGI characters seem to blend in so much better than something that is merely pasted over a world completely real in every other aspect. Thanks to Stephen Sommers’ obsession with “Sommersizing” every aspect of his films, the CGI creatures are far less distracting and far more believable. And, one has to admit, you just can’t get great werewolf moves like that with costumes or animatronics. These things are fast and fierce, and the coolest looking werewolves I’ve ever seen. Their transformations usually involved ripping the human flesh off their bodies, which was actually cooler than I ever thought it would be (probably because it wasn’t done in a gory way). And, though I don’t love this new breed of werewolves that climb walls and columns like a panther or something, at least that was kept to a minimum here.

Effects issues aside (since you either can take CGI characters or you can’t), this film is top notch for what it aims to be. The cast is perfect. Who doesn’t love Hugh Jackman? I’ve already raved about my two favorite vampire ladies, and Shuler Hensley was such a noble monster (I’d love to see his performance as Jud in Oklahoma sometime). Everyone in the cast was a perfect compliment to Hugh Jackman. I’ve never been big on Kate Beckinsale, but this is one of those films where you can’t help but be charmed. And, oh, the music! Alan Silvestri is just awesome! Definitely, a movie for the collection. Not high art, but a perfect choice for a carefree evening of fun and adventure! I sincerely hope a sequel has not been ruled out! The one thing that irks me is that I had several of my own stories conjured up for possible comic book format, some of which actually involving werewolves that hunted vampires and the whole idea of a werewolf bite being deadly to a vamp... Oh well, beaten to it again. Now I’ve discovered Constantine, another idea I had previously conjured up and am rather disturbed to find already exists... I gotta start copyrighting stuff!

Anyway, Van Helsing is available on a great DVD (fullscreen or widescreen, be careful) with two commentaries (no, neither feature Hugh or Kate), a tour of Dracula’s castle, outtakes, other behind the scenes treats, and a nice little look into the character of Van Helsing, the rival of Dracula since the two personalities were first cooked up by Bram Stoker in the 19th century. You can also buy Van Helsing on VHS, or get an Ultimate Edition DVD that includes the original Universal classics “Dracula,” “Frankenstein,” and “The Wolf Man,” along with a couple extra bonus features. There’s even an animated DVD prequel to Van Helsing entitled: “Van Helsing - The London Assignment.” I believe this deals with the story of Van Helsing going after Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I definitely need to pick up that one someday. Van Helsing is also available in video game format and in the action figure realm. I have a few of the figs, and they’re not great, but they could be worse. Sadly, the werewolf I liked the least of the three in the film, Velkan, is the only one they’ve made toys of so far... Those other two werewolves, those guys rocked! Van Helsing: If you like fun werewolf movies and can tolerate CGI, I highly recommend checking it out!