Cart Art Halloween Special: Werewolves!

Long before they were shirtless, Native American teenagers running around the Pacific Northwest fighting vampires and pining after high school girls, Werewolves were beasts of horror and legend. These transmogrified men turn wolf have a long and grand history scaring the poo out of people. This week in Cart Art, the full moon is out and we amidst a bevy of games featuring these hairy meat eating machines. So grab your silver bullets and dog whistles because Lycanthropes abound!

Altered Beast
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Come on, say it with me. “Rise from your grave!” This arcade classic was the pack in title with the Sega Genesis and not only is it a great game, it’s one heckuva cover. The werewolf on the cover here looks like he spent the last 2 years locked in a closet doing crunches and not even dreaming of eating a carb. Not only will this beast shoot a fireball out of his fist, he will look awesome and buff doing it. Good thing when this werewolf changes, he grows a nice hairy loin cloth thingy. Thank you artist! However, what is up with that fish thing on the bottom right of of the box? Is that a werefish? Some sort of were-wide mouth bass? “Welcome to your doom” stupid fish-an-thrope.

Wolfchild

Something about this guy’s midsection makes me uneasy. He doesn’t have abs, he has like anti-abs, subducted abs of some sort. Get this man a cheesesteak stat! Was the guy on the bottom right swimming out in the ocean when a lighting bolt struck him, turned him into the beast we see before us. The again, if you had a terrible receding hair line like that guy, you would go to the ends of the Earth for a full head of luscious hair. I know the multiple heads are trying to show the man turning into the werewolf but it seem like the last wolf head on the right is coming out of his crotch. Hey, I didn’t make the cover, I just stare at them long enough to realize this stuff. . . .you’re welcome!

Wolfman

This beast seems less like a werewolf and more like a vampire with a skin condition, a massive widow’s peak and a sweet uni-brow. Look at his clothes. What kinda of self respecting beastman would only tear the cuff of their coat when they undergo the horribleness of the change. I think his shirt is still tucked in for goodness sakes. Seeing this guy on the night of a full moon would not sent me fleeing in terror, he would send me fleeing to my orthodontist.

Werewolves of London

“Grrrrrrr, me viscous werewolf and information booth operator for the London Underground subway system! Arrgggghhh, you want to avoid a horrible death by my claws and teeth, you should take the Circle Line to Farrington! Aaaaaaaa-woooooooo, mind the gap!.” I enjoy how even as a hairy monster man, he kept his argyle tie on. Good choice in my book, plus those are some sweet dress slacks. I just want to know what is going on with the moon, it is all glittery and covered in what seems like shinny warts and pimples. I enjoy this cover greatly, not enough to try to play this game, but if I was a kid and I saw this one in the store, I would pick it up. “Grrrrrrr, good cover equate to game sales!”

Rampage

What is better then a werewolf? A giant city destroying werewolf of course. Yeah, take that buildings of man, taste the wrath of my mighty paw. This cover is all business, no fluff, just pure action. Wouldn’t you buy this game if you saw the cover? Now the werewolf (whose name is Ralph) does look more like a weredog then a werewolf but that is just fine, he’s still kicking the crap out of that structure. The solider with the gun is putting on a brave face but we all know he’s shaking in his combat boots. This cover only ends in one way, a city reduced to rubble and a little snack of a soldier.

Special Bonus Cover: Castlevania: Legacy of Darkness

With a new Castlevania title having just been released for the modern systems, I figured we should include one Castlevania cover in this Cart Art. Now the lycanthrope on this cover has that sort of Egyptian dog statue feel to him with the long snout and the “scratch me on the head” ears. Here is my problem, what kind of werewolf wears shoes, baggy shoes and a girdle? This beast needs a girdle? Too many fat peasants in the diet for this guy. I like the vampire in the background. Looks like he is angry that the werewolf just took a wiz on the carpet.

With a finale dying howl, we must say good bye to this edition of Cart Art. If you have any suggestions and question for Cart Art, please feel free to post them in the comments section or send me an email at Offisapups@retroist.com. Tune in next week when the fangs come out, the blood gets spilled and I promise, nothing will sparkle in the sun. Now if you excuse me, I got a rolled up newspaper and a shock collar ready, because someone has been a bad doggy-man.

The Howling

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Year: 1981
Director: Joe Dante
Special Make-up Effects: Rick Baker, Rob Bottin, and Greg Cannom
Starring: Dee Wallace-Stone, Patrick Macnee, Kevin McCarthy, John Carradine, Slim Pickens, Robert Picardo, Dennis Dugan, Christopher Stone, Elisabeth Brooks, Belinda Balaski

Silver bullets or fire, that’s the only way to get rid of the damn things. They’re worse than cockroaches.

By the time that The Howling hit the giant screen at our local drive-in I had already watched the classic Universal Pictures, The Wolf Man, with Lon Chaney Jr. and I absolutely loved it. It’s easily my favorite film of the Universal Monsters series. It also began my love of movies dealing with Lycanthropes. Luckily for horror fans this is one of the best Werewolf movies of all time!

Karen White (Wallace) is a Los Angeles television reporter who has found herself in the last couple of weeks the target of a serial killer, Eddie the Mangler (Picardo), and has agreed to aid the police by being wired and to meet the killer in a location of his choosing. Karen walks the streets looking for the locations that Eddie wants her to visit, he leaves smiley stickers on various spots to show her she is on the right trail. Meanwhile, her husband, Bill (Stone) and close studio friends Terry (Balaski) and Chris (Dugan) are listening to her updates through an equipment rig the detectives have set up. The police are also following her in patrol cars but the mic she is wearing is getting interference, “…it’s all that neon out there, it messes up the signal.” We are told by the operator at the studio so they are missing out on the locations she is giving them. Which begins to cause her husband to understandably start to lose his temper.

Karen finds the theater in the back of an adult store and enters a booth that Eddie has marked with one of his smiley faces. She enters the booth and sits down in a seat in front of a small screen and we realize that Eddie is in the booth with her as he places his hands on her shoulders after depositing a quarter to start a violent porn movie.

Meanwhile, some of the patrol cops are now on foot questioning people on the street if they have seen Karen, a prostitute tells them that she was asked directions to the theater just minutes ago. The cops rush off in the direction of the adult book store while in the studio we see celebrated therapist Dr. George Waggner (Macnee) is plugging his new book. The station manager, Fred Francis (McCarthy), explains to Bill that waiting is always the hardest part which is the straw that breaks the camels back and he storms off.

Inside the booth, Karen has requested to turn around and look at Eddie, a request he denies and goes on to explain that the women he murdered are the like the image of the poor woman on the screen, they felt nothing they are nothing. After a bit he asks her to turn around, the darkness of the booth and the light of the projector behind him blot out his features to us but Karen is shocked by something so badly that she can’t even scream. Outside in the shop the cops are questioning the manager of the store and he tells them that he did see a woman that matches Karen’s description, then we hear Karen scream from within the booth. The cops rush to the back room and the youngest of the two cops opens fire through the door killing Eddie as we learn later.

The experience of that night has also caused Karen to suffer amnesia though when she sleeps the truth tries to come back to her. After freezing up in panic during her news report she goes to see Dr. Waggner to see if he can help her come to grips and learn what happened in the booth. He invites her and Bill to an outdoor resort called The Colony, a secluded place for treatment for some of his patients.

Once there Karen and Bill meet some very colorful characters that evening at a BBQ. Like Sheriff Sam Newfield (Pickens) and Erle Kenton (Carradine). After a few hours there the couple learn that not all of the willing patients of Dr. Waggner think his resort is such a great idea. Bill is hit on less than subtly by Marsha Quist (Brooks) but he spurns her advances and the subject is forgotten when Kenton tries to walk into the flaming bonfire on the beach.

What is going on at The Colony? Will Karen get her memory back? Is that can of Wolf Brand Chili in the background as funny to everyone else as it is to me? You’ll have to rent or purchase the movie for yourself to find out those answers.

One of the things I would like to mention is how great a fan of the horror movie genre Joe Dante is, I mean the man is responsible for Piranha (Non-3D version), the 3rd segment of the Twilight Zone Movie, Gremlins, and one of the most frightening entries in the Masters of Horror series, the Screwfly Solution. You can also see Dante’s love of cult horror as this film is peppered with quite a few cameos, Roger Corman, Dick Miller (as an occult book seller), John Sayles (writer of the film), and Forrest J. Ackerman all make appearances in the movie. Dick Miller’s character is actually named after his role from Corman’s Bucket of Blood.

Of course the special effects are quite nice which should be no surprise with Baker, Bottin, and Cannom in charge and this was the first of two werewolf movies that opened in 1981, the second being An American Werewolf in London a few months later.

This film is full of wonderful dark humor, great acting, and of course nice special effects. Any horror fan that hasn’t had a chance to catch this film should make sure they correct that mistake. I give the Howling five pumpkins out of five!

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