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dark adventure comic pitting the cursed Jack Russell against the Marvel Universe’s darker corners. Universal’s THE WOLF MAN was the progenitor of the transformation scene, which represented the state-of-the-art special effects of the time. This slow- dissolve effect was done years prior in DR. JEKYLL & MR. HYDE, but it still remains an iconic werewolf staple to this day. Though it skids the narrative to a screeching halt, the change from man to beast is often the highlight of the werewolf film and the thing folks talk about on their way out of the theater. In 1981, three films upped the ante when it came to werewolf films and their effects: THE HOWLING, AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN LONDON, and WOLFEN. All sported state-of-the-art special effects from modern masters of illusion like Rob Bottin and Rick Baker. But the effects were only part of the reason these three films stand out. In more ways than one, 1981 proved to be the year of the werewolf, cinematically speaking. Joe Dante’s THE HOWLING


From Comics to CG to Oscars, the Werewolf is truly one of the most popular monsters in all of pop culture.


repeated plays on the music channel. A more ‘whodunit’ approach was taken


with Amicus’ 1974 film THE BEAST MUST DIE in which a group of shady individuals, including millionaire Calvin Lockhart and monster-hunter Peter Cushing, are grouped together in a mansion and told that one of them is a werewolf. Distinguishing this from other films is the bonus feature giving the audience a “Werewolf Break”–30 seconds to discuss with others in the theater who they think is the beast before the big reveal. Another werewolf film taking the whodunit route is Stephen King’s CYCLE OF THE WEREWOLF, a novella retitled for the screen as SILVER BULLET (1985) that pits a wheelchair-bound Corey Haim and a gonzo Gary Busey against a mysterious wolf creature haunting a Maine town. Half of the film follows the amateur detectives trying to find out who the werewolf really is; the other half is spent on them trying to convince the authorities. The short-lived TV series WOLF LAKE (2001), starring Lou Diamond Phillips, centered on the


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mystery of an age-old werewolf curse, but viewers failed to tune in to solve the mystery, and the show was canceled after five episodes. Fox’s WEREWOLF television


series (1987-1988) had a longer run and borrowed the story structure of THE HULK series. It starred Bill Bixby as a man on the run in search of a cure for his bestial alter ego.


reminiscent


Though of


Jekyll and Hyde, controlling the beast


within


is a common theme of THE INCREDIBLE HULK comic book. Marvel Comics even had its own werewolf in WEREWOLF BY NIGHT—a


FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND • JAN/FEB 2012


incorporated humor, sex, and werewolf iconography through the ages in order to create one of the most terrifying werewolf films ever made. The film spawned eight sequels, which lessened in effectiveness as they went on, but it is undeniable that the original represents the werewolf in its most classic and bestial form. Rob Bottin’s


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