"I don't know, you had it last!"Werewolf
, also known as Arizona Werewolf
, is a 1996 direct-to-video horror film that was lampooned in this
1998 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000
Archaeologists working in Arizona find a werewolf skeleton. In this film, werewolves are part of American Indian mythology, which the head archaeologist, Noel, calls a skin-walker
or yee naaldlooshii
(which somehow gets pronounced "Yetiglanchi"). And apparently werewolves take on habits such as "sleeping nose to anus" ("What? It's fun!").
...that's a quote from the film, by the way.
The first ten minutes or so of the film shows one of the crewman getting scratched by the skeleton and eventually turning into a werewolf who is quickly put down by other members of the crew (including one played by Joe Estevez
). However, the ill-tempered foreman of the dig site, Yuri (played by Jorge Rivero), took some of his blood and soon becomes fascinated with the idea of creating a "man-made" werewolf. Soon after the first werewolf gets put down, a writer named Paul Niles (Federico Cavalli) moves into a house in suburban Flagstaff and becomes close to another of the archaeologists, Natalie Burke (Adrianna Miles). As the two make nice at a party, Yuri makes his first attempt at werewolf creation via an ill-fated security guard (played by the film's director, Tony Zarindast), who promptly crashes his car mid-transformation and dies. However, Yuri's growing dislike for Paul turns into an opportunity when the two men fight at the lab where the werewolf skeleton is housed and Yuri stabs Paul with the skull. Soon, Paul finds himself becoming a werewolf at night and menacing the entire town. Events come to a head when he's finally revealed to both Natalie and Yuri, as the former has fallen in love with him, while the latter just wants to cage him up and make money off of him.
The movie remained mostly obscure until it became the feature of a 1998 episode of movie-mocking television comedy series Mystery Science Theater 3000's ninth season. Werewolf
was noteworthy for having been filmed only two years previous to the MST3K
episode mocking it, as well as one of the few films featured that were actually created during the run of the show. Mike Nelson and his robot friends made considerable light of the clumsy direction of the film, the relatively cheap, inconsistent nature of the werewolf costumes, Adrianna Miles' bad English and her constant pronunciation of the word werewolf as wuhr-welf, about the full moon occurring every single night in the movie, the fact that Yuri has a different hairstyle in almost every scene, the fact that the security guard drove past the same location several times while a werewolf, and the fact that almost all the cast — despite playing Americans — spoke with various thick accents, saying such phrases as "you and Noel is in it for fame and fortune? But o
ver my dead bo
dy!" Because of the numerous ripe opportunities for riffing, Kevin Murphy, who played Tom Servo, referred to the film as "a gift from God". Mike and the Bots also sing various songs to the film's closing credit music, in the style of Fleetwood Mac
Bizarrely similar to Track of the Moon Beast
and It Lives by Night
, both of which were featured in MST3K
's tenth and final season. Hell, Moon Beast
is even about a guy named Paul in the southwestern United States being turned into a monster in a manner that ties into Native American folklore while his ditzy ladyfriend does pretty much nothing relevant to the plot.
Not to be confused with the card game
of the same name.
See the rundown of the MST3K
Tropes used in Werewolf:
- Abhorrent Admirer: Yuri is a male version for Natalie.
- Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Both Yuri and especially Natalie do this a lot.
Natalie: This doesn't look like any conventional animal I'M familiar with!
- Badass Bystander: A random citizen manages to kick Werewolf Paul's ass. So much for the horror.
- Black Best Friend/Token Minority: Elgin. The trope is so blatant as to almost be a parody.
Elgin is my black
- California Doubling: Wherever this is, it's certainly not Flagstaff, Arizona.
- Creator Cameo: Director Tony Zarindast as Vic, the security guard who gets turned into a werewolf and crashes his car.
- Crazy Survivalist / Crusty Caretaker: Sam the Keeper, of "I just heard Count Dracula was a faggot!" fame. He's practically a one-man Wacky Wayside Tribe, really; he's unimpeachably bizarre, there's no reason for him to be in the movie and he has no effect on the plot, and yet the movie would be nothing without him.
- (Almost) Death By Sex: Natalie gets turned into a werewolf by their doing the nasty with a lycanthropizing Paul.
- Dull Surprise: "Dis is ubsolutely fesscinating."
- '80s Hair: Despite the film being made in the mid-90's.
- Establishing Shot: An overly-long one of a building prompts Tom Servo to say "Man, they're establishing the hell out of this building here!" on MST3K.
- Exactly What It Says on the Tin
- Fake American: Nearly every cast member.
- Special mention goes to Natalie, whose first language is clearly not English
"You and Noel is in it for fame and fortune. But over my dead body!"
- For Science!: Why is Yuri making people into werewolves? Because that's the plot.
- If you squint, you might be able to see that Noel and Yuri think the whole "warwelf" thing will make them celebrities and ensure enough money to continue their research for as long as they want. It still doesn't explain why Yuri goes around jabbing random security guards with werewolf blood.
- Yuri uses the term "modern, man-made wuhr-welf" constantly, like he's got a copyright on that term. Though, at the time he's drunk and pissed, and wants to test his theory on the security guard.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Joe Estevez.
- Hollywood Darkness: The depths of blue-filter night.
- Improbable Hairstyle: Yuri's hair manages to change color and style at least six times over the course of the movie. "A yellow mohawk? How about orange Jheri curls?"
- To be fair, his hair remains the same. It's the Godawful inconsistent lighting that makes it look different in each shot. That, and evidently production ran really long on this one, with the actors being called back to do some scenes a year or so after the others were completed.
- Informed Ability: Paul gives his occupation as a writer and yet is never once seen writing anything, even going so far as to blow off Natalie's question as to what he's working on. We get that he needed an occupation that allowed him to remain at home a lot, but couldn't they have worked in a shot of him sitting at a typewriter or something?
- I Resemble That Remark: When Paul calls Yuri a psychopath, Yuri savagely attacks him with the skull of the werewolf
- It's Probably Nothing
- It's Pronounced Tro-PAY : It's yee naaldlooshii, not yetiglanchi. Considering the fact most of the cast struggle with English words, it's not surprising they can't speak Navajo.
- They also manage to make the Navajo word yataali sound like hot toddy.
- Jerk Ass: Yuri.
- Karma Houdini: Noel is responsible for digging up the werewolf and getting Yuri to infect innocent people with lycanthropy, but apparently he gets off just fine. On the other hand, he was smart enough to not go chasing after a pissed off werewolf while unarmed, unlike Yuri...
- Left the Background Music On: At one point, the background music is actually turned off by Paul when he turns off his radio.
- The Man Behind the Man: Noel
- Money, Dear Boy: Rather harshly averted with Jorge "George" Rivero who never got paid for this film and never worked on an American non-union production again.
- Monster Misogyny: As usual.
- Ms. Fanservice: Natalie, especially when she wears a tight blouse while playing billiards.
Servo (as Natalie): People say "rack" to me a lot. I wonder why that is.
- Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Easily subverted. "Paul, you is a wur-wilf!"
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sam, the keeper, looks a lot like Fidel Castro and acts a lot like a nutcase.
- "Not Bob Vila! No!"
- "Basquiat is in danger!"
- "Brooks & Dunn finally have it out!"
- No Fourth Wall: Sam likes to remind the audience that he's one of the good guys.
- There are a couple moments where Yuri looks at the camera, almost expecting a reaction.
- Noisy Nature
- Our Yee Naaldlooshii Are Different: Even getting scratched by the bones of one can infect you, and they sleep nose to anus.
- And this is even specifically claimed early in the movie by Noel, that this isn't your movie monster, white man's "werewolf". Note that at no point is the yee naaldlooshii shown to be even slightly different from the standard movie werewolf dating back to The Wolf Man (1941).
- Fridge Logic: How would ancient Native Americans think of silver bullets?
- Paper Tiger: For deadly werewolves, neither Paul nor Tommy are shown as much of a threat. Tommy is gunned down easily not even thirty minutes in and Paul only kills two people over the course of the movie (one of whom he was only able to kill because she tripped and fell while running away). At one point a random dude on the street manages to fight Werewolf Paul with his bare hands and almost wins.
- Psycho for Hire: Yuri
- She's Got Legs: Carrie is considerably more attractive than Natalie and she doesn't need pants to prove it.
- Silver Bullet: Joe and his pal are somehow able to cobble together silver shotgun pellets in an evening's time to shoot their lycanthropizing buddy, Tommy. Somewhat subverted in that it doesn't kill him.
- Skin Walker: In Name Only.
- Stock Sound Effects: You will hear the screech of the red-tailed hawk more often in the course of watching "Werewolf" than during five years of The Colbert Report.
- Too Dumb to Live: Unlike Yuri, if you successfully create a savage werewolf, do be sure not to taunt it, won't you? And if you hear bestial growling and snarling emanating from a room, don't go inside like the landlady does (though the landlady survives the encounter anyway).
- Also, if you are in a relatively well protected vehicle and you have the keys to it, do NOT exit the vehicle for no reason and make yourself an easy target for the werewolf outside of the vehicle.
- Also, Yuri was earlier shown to be, well, a psychopath; he manages to beat down all three of the diggers, and later Paul, fairly easily. A random bystander on the street almost fistfights werewolf-Paul to a standstill. Yuri seems to forget he that he's a punch-happy psychopath when he encounters were-Paul.
- Upon first discovering the wurwulf, Sam decides to freeze up and cry for help instead of reaching for the shotgun sitting just a few feet away from him.
- Troubled Production: According to an article written by one of the actors, the film had to shot on specific dates with long intervals in between due to being severely under funded, which explains why the three diggers vanish after the first act, and why Yuri's hair style keeps changing throughout the film.
- Twist Ending: And a rather nonsensical one at that.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Werewolf!Paul does this... a lot... for any reason.
- Weird Moon: "The most stubborn full moon in the history of the world." The moon is always full in Flagstaff apparently.
- What Happened to the Landlady?: So she gets chucked down the stairs by her lycanthropic tenant, and just...gets up and walks away. It's understandable that she'd want to get out of town, sure, but she apparently doesn't call the police, or tell Sam the Keeper or confront Paul about what happened or-or anything.
- Also two characters including Joe Estevez's disappear right after stopping the first werewolf and aren't ever referred to again.
- Tommy, the first werewolf, is mentioned as having survived being shot with silver bullets and having been hospitalized for it but then never mentioned again.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Most of the characters, but especially Natalienote .
- Wraparound Background: Possibly the only live-action example, when the security guard's driving rampage passes the exact same gas station four or five times.
"Dis is ubsolutely fesscinating."