Goregirl’s Werewolf Project: WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON (1973)
There are so many reasons I love horror films. Some horror films are strikingly beautiful, some are wonderfully gory, some are powerfully chilling, some are deliciously strange and perverse, some are delightfully schlocky and campy and some, like Werewolf of Washington are so bad they are awesome! Yep, that is right, I said awesome! I certainly can’t argue Werewolf of Washington’s lesser qualities, which are many, but it made me laugh and laugh!
The action revolves around reporter Jack Whittier. Jack takes a job in Hungary after his relationship with the President’s daughter turns sour. He is asked to come back to the U.S. to act as the President’s press assistant. On his way to the airport he is bitten by a werewolf. He is marked with a pentagram which looks like the little star stamp my teacher used in grade school. It is not long before Jack transforms into the titular monster. As the body count grows, Jack tries desperately to convince anyone who will listen that he is the werewolf terrorizing Washington.
Werewolf of Washington is a political satire with a werewolf theme. According to Wikipedia the film is poking fun at the Nixon presidency. Not that it matters really, it made me laugh regardless of who it was intending to mock. Whittier is played by Dean Stockwell. Stockwell is an unusual looking cat with quirkiness about him I absolutely can not resist. He is wonderfully manic in Werewolf of Washington! The film is jam-packed with corny humour! The word “pentagram” is mistaken for “pentagon” numerous times throughout. Jack tries in vain to convince several characters that he is a werewolf. Eventually Jack manages to convince a couple people, who chain him to a chair in his living room and leave the television on so he can watch the President’s address. But the President calls and insists Jack show up for the address. A helicopter carrying the American and Chinese presidents comes and picks up Jack. Media all over the world are printing stories about a werewolf loose in the United States. The Chinese President asks the U.S. President about these stories, who of course pleads ignorance. The administration rather blame “hippies”. Meanwhile Jack is transforming into a werewolf right beside him!
My favourite scene took place in the Whitehouse bowling alley. The president insists Jack bowl with him. The whole damn scene is hysterical but the bit where Jack’s fingers swell inside the bowling ball pre-transformation had me tearing up from laughing so hard! I love all the transformation scenes and the werewolf makeup was surprisingly passable considering. I thought Fury of the Wolfman had unbelievable continuity gaffs but Werewolf of Washington has it beat but good! The sets are ugly to the point of being an offense to the senses. The opening segment in Hungary is ridiculously dark. The whole damn film is downright ugly and cheap looking! The wackiest of the continuity related scenes occur when werewolf Jack finds his way into the Whitehouse basement. In the basement we meet Dr. Kiss who seems to be working on a number of experiments including the creation of a Frankenstein-esque monster (and I think I might have seen a vampire in a cage). He is elated to see the werewolf and scratches it behind the ears and pats it on the head and in response werewolf Jack reacts like a loyal dog panting and nuzzling. The “evil doctor experiments in the basement” thing is not even remotely explained! Just one of several “what the hell?” moments! Some of the chuckles admittedly are due simply to the insane continuity and general badness. I have to think there is a tiny segment of the population that will be as entertained by this film as I was. I wholeheartedly recommend Werewolf of Washington to that tiny segment!