Werewolves seem to be coming back and quite frankly it's about time. I love a good werewolf film and I of course hate a bad one. Much like the mummy I don't think that the werewolf has been properly exploited, barring exceptional films like The Howling, Dog Soldiers, and Ginger Snaps. If you are a regular reader then you know of my love for Hammer films, and 70s horror in general. In never really has been done better than during that time of the 70s to the early 80s, where a lot of standards were set in the bar was placed so very high. nce American horror has been less than interesting lately, I set my ghts on foreign horror time and again. A film that I've been looking forward to has been Juan Martinez Moreno’s Game of Werewolves a.k.a. Lobos de Arga.
Game of Werewolves very much feels like a Hammer film if Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez had been working there back in the day. Though it does have its funny moments it reminds me more of From Dusk Till Dawn than an outright horror comedy, but that's just me. Regardless of your stance on where the film should be placed at your local Blockbuster, there is no question that this film needs a statede release immediately.
The opening title sequence/prologue is done in comic art format, milar to the old 70’s XXX comics. Very cool. Damn those Gypsy curses! A prominent woman in the village of Arga tries desperately to get pregnant. After several attempts with her husband she began to lose faith. But where there's a will, there is way and this Way comes in the form of a traveling troupe of Gypes. The woman falls for a young sexy knife thrower and attempts to seduce him. This doesn't go very well for her and after being rejected for the evening she orders him to be abducted and brought to her. She straps him down and saddles up and gets what she wanted. Her being a thorough woman, she then orders the death of the entire group of Gypes, men, women, and children. This is done immediately, but not before one of the elder gypsy women curses the woman and her new seed. The woman gives birth to a child and all seems well. The child seems normal for the first few years, but on his 10th birthday, things get a little hairy.
Generations later, Tomas, the only living male decedent of the Marino bloodline, is invited to the village to be honored with an award called “The Freedom of the City”. Tomas is a somewhat failed writer but wants to stay a while and try to write a second novel.
Though the first night is uneventful, the morning gets things down to buness. It seems that the “Freedom of the Village” is not an award for him; it is an award for the village. What is it that they want freedom from? Nightfall brings the answer…the Werewolf lives!
The film stars Gorka Otxoa as our misanthrope, Tomas. He has a very John Kranski type of everyman thing going on and is perfect as our guide through this journey. Hollywood, if you're listening, that's your guy for the remake nce I'm sure you're already thinking about it. But I digress. Anyway, his companion for the journey is his dog Vito, who is very much like Eddie, the dog from Fraser.
Carlos Areces, who plays Callisto, Tomas's best friend from years past, is great as the dekick with an edge and a streak of selfishness no less.
Everything about the film from the production degn to the script itself is top-notch. There are a lot of surprises thrown in and the approach is definitely different. For instance only sex and the film is in the aforementioned comic art prologue.
All of the major effects in the film are practical, this is a big plus of course. This along with the clasc sets provides the viewer with a nostalgic look at a modern feel. Is this one of the best werewolf films ever made? In my opinion, it's definitely in the top five.
No word on a US BD/DVD release yet but keep your eyes peeled. This is one thats definitely worth watching out for.