Ratings Key



★★★★
= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
★★★
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Eyes of the Werewolf (1999)

Directed by:
Tim Sullivan

A group of hunters track down a werewolf, kill it, decapitate it and then sell the head to unethical Dr. Atwill (played by director / writer Sullivan), who runs a private clinic specializing in corneal transplants. Research chemist Rich Stevens (Mark Sawyer), whose eyes were destroyed when acid flew into his face during a lab explosion, is the unlucky recipient of the werewolf's eyeballs. It takes awhile to get to the first full moon, so first we get a tender love story between Rich and his compassionate, big-breasted nurse Sondra Gard (Stephanie Beaton). Sondra is so compassionate that she strips off her clothing and starts riding Rich in bed before he even has a chance to remove his bandages! After a month in the hospital, Rich returns home to icy wife Rita (Deborah Huber), who promptly tells him "You look pretty ugly" before speeding off in her Kia. Our hero soon discovers that Rita is not only a bitch, but an adulterous skank who's been carrying on an affair with his supposed friend Craig (Lyndon Johnson). Finally, the full moon rises and Rich finds himself in a hairy predicament as he transforms into a (very silly looking) werewolf creature. Predictable carnage ensues.

After ripping out Craig's throat on a beach, Rich wakes up in the brush the next morning with his clothes tattered and vague recollections of the evening's events. He makes friends with dwarf psychic / occult expert Andros (Kurt Levi) and is hassled by both local author Siodmak (Jason Clark) and lesbian-police-detective-in-a-pants-suit Justine Evers (Tarri Markel). When Rich confronts Dr. Atwill, the doctor sends his sadistic bald henchman Kass (Eric Mestressat), who gets a kick out of dismembering corpses with a machete at the clinic, after him. With help from Sondra, Rich manages to escape. Sondra takes him back to her place and basically rapes him on the couch during an overlong sex scene that lasts about five minutes. Will Rich be able to control his lycanthropy or find a cure for it before he claims more victims?

Shot on the cheap with a camcorder, this homemade werewolf flick has a somewhat unique premise with the eye transplant angle, but trots out cliché after cliché otherwise. The sets are sub porn level - the clinic scenes seem to have been filmed inside someone's home or apartment. The wolf transformation scenes don't even look as good as the time lapse photography used way back in the 1940s. Instead, they employ ragged editing. Throw some hair on the actor. Cut. Throw some more on. Cut. More fur... and fill his mouth full of white gunk he can spit out. Cut. No need to worry about continuity! There's no fade, no dissolve, nothing. It's pretty sloppy. Once fully transformed, the werewolf costume (designed by Jeff Leroy, who also edited and shot the movie) is pretty awful. It has red, glowing Christmas bulb eyes, fur that looks like shag carpet and a plastic face that's almost completely immobile. There are several times you can see the cameraman's fingers in front of the camera lens, and does the moon really stay full five nights in a row? As far as the cast is concerned, they're amateurish, but tolerable. And as far as B horror flicks are concerned, there are worse out there. This one is paced fairly well, is only 70 minutes long and does provide plenty of the red stuff during the attack scenes, as well as the aforementioned T&A from Ms. Beaton.

It was produced by David S. Sterling (CAMP BLOOD), who was one of the first to ride the wave of digital video right when it was first starting to dominate the low-budget/independent horror genre scene back in the mid/late 90s. Many of his notoriously awful productions were released by Brain Damage Films, a label to avoid like the plague for the most part. Fx guy Leroy (who is listed as co-director on IMDb, but not in the film's actual credits) and Vinnie Bilancio (who appears in a small role as one of the hunters) went on to make the much more fun and polished exploitation flick WEREWOLF IN A WOMEN'S PRISON in 2006, which had a similar-looking creature on display (red glowing eyes and all).

★★

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