Dean Stockwell is an assistant press secretery for the stupidest president in U.S. history. On a trip to Transylvania, Stockwell is attacked and wounded by a werewolf. Upon his return, senators and reporters start dying in grisly ways. Stockwell tries to tell the president and his staff that he's become a murderous lycanthrope, but they'd rather point the finger at those darned "hippies" or make it a racial thing. After all, how could a werewolf story possibly help them politically? WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON is a political satire disguised as a monster movie. It has it's good moments as well as those moments that make you want to send Dean Stockwell on a REAL quantum leap. Probably best viewed if you're an insomniac and it's 3am...
America is fighting an unpopular war; the President is trying to shift the balance of the Supreme Court with his judicial nominee; the front line of political debate is an out-of-control press, and there's a wild man running around who looks rather disturbingly like Howard Dean. No, I'm not talking about the state of affairs in 2005; I'm talking about Werewolf of Washington, an undeniably unique 1973 film that combines horror, comedy, and political parody in ways I would never have imagined on my own. I'm going to go ahead and slap a "you've got to see it to believe it" sticker on this one. This is clearly a very weird product of its times - it is, in a word, kooky.
Dean Stockwell plays Jack Whittier, a hotshot young reporter with a close connection to the White House (in the form of the First Daughter); his idea of ending the relationship involved getting a transfer to Hungary, of all places, and making it look like his newspaper sent him there as some kind of punishment. The President (Biff McGuire) thinks he was banished for his favorable articles on the White House, so he snatches Jack up as his new press agent. Before Jack can get out of Budapest, however, he goes and gets himself bitten by a werewolf. After his return to Washington, he starts seeing pentagrams on select people's hands and experiencing blackouts during the times those people are killed. (The writers work in not one but two pentagram-Pentagon confusion jokes, which gives you a pretty good idea of the comedic effectiveness of this whole film.) Eventually, Jack figures out that he has indeed been cursed, but no one really believes his claims that he is a werewolf - certainly not the President, who becomes thicker and thicker in the head as the story progresses. The transformations are interesting - it's just your standard time-lapse photography, but the early phase has Jack scrunching his face all over the place, and I swear he looks exactly like Howard Dean when he pushes his jaw out and gets that "Yeeeoooooow" look in his eyes. Once the transformation is complete, though, Jack just looks like an idiot - this may be the stupidest-looking werewolf in the history of cinema.
Once the whole werewolf setup is complete, the movie gets down to some serious (and seriously bad) political parody work. You've got hippies and other subversives for the Attorney General and FBI to keep their eye on, you've got the Watergate Hotel, you've got the President "cleverly" sidestepping questions he doesn't want to answer, and you've even got a little Agnew humor thrown in for good measure. The President's a dunderhead who gets stranger as his political support erodes, but the Attorney General is the real piece of work on display here. He's too honest for his own good, according to the President, and he's a master at speaking without thinking (just see how quickly he jumps from werewolf to Black Panther when it comes to a murder suspect). Then there's the war room meeting - I can't even begin to describe that scene. Toss in a "you won't have Jack Whittier to kick around anymore" line at the end, wrap it all up, and you've got the most unique werewolf film I've ever seen.
The political satire bit (which you've really got to see for yourself to appreciate - or not) is the only thing that makes this hairy dog of a movie remotely interesting. As horror, it's a total bomb. It basically strikes out when it comes to the comedy thing, too - but at least it's a weird, interesting kind of bomb in that regard.
on November 8, 2014
This movie was actually a little better than I was expecting. It's like a political horror/comedy spoof of The Wolf Man. Dean Stockwell stars as Jack Whittier, the press assistant to the President who is attacked by a Werewolf while in Hungary. When he gets backhe begins to turn and start killing innocent people in the night. Jack tries to warn everyone, but they all think it's hippies. The President is a dim-witted idiot who never pays attention. If you want a good cheesy werewolf grindhouse film, I would definitely recommend THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON!!!
on January 11, 2016
Werewolf of Washington, 1974 film
Jack Whittier asked for a transfer to Hungary to change his life from being a Washington reporter. While driving along a road he stopped because of a man in the road. His car won’t start! He seeks help. A wolf howls in the night; the moon is full. “What are you afraid of?” A large dog threatens Jack and Giselle, but Jack kills it with his silver-headed cane. The police are not interested in this death. But Jack was bitten by this creature of the night! Jack wonders why no one is interested. Jack said he killed a man but no one in interested. “Pentagram, not Pentagon!” “Whoever is bitten by a rare wolf becomes a rare wolf” she says. “Wear this charm over your heart” says the old woman. “Heaven help you” she adds. But Jack flushes away that charm when he returns to Washington. The President appointed him his Press Agent and tells him his plans. The President’s daughter Mary is seeing a Navy psychiatrist and is engaged to be married. Jack will take Mrs. Caffrey home, but he sees her palm!
The moon is full tonight. Mrs. Caffrey screams as she sees a creature of the night! An Administrative official complains about a critic on TV. They will attack the Networks, “a coterie of impudent snobs”. They learn of the death of Mrs. Caffrey! Jack goes to the White House to see the President. He asks a newspaper publisher for a favor. Jack sees her palm! Then he runs into a room and locks the door. A big car arrives with a creature on the roof! The woman is attacked and killed. There is a suspect, and eyewitnesses. One official blames the press because of their news coverage. Jack takes refuge in a toilet when the President enters the restroom. Later he tells the President he is not feeling well and suggests a replacement. Jack confides his secret to that Navy psychiatrist. Jack wants to show the scar on his chest. “Will you two shut up” says a voice! Jack goes to the Watergate Hotel and makes a telephone call. Was his problem all in his mind? Night falls, the moon is full. He begins to change!
That couple walks along the street ro a telephone booth. The young woman makes a prank telephone call then the telephone booth is attacked! [AT& won’t like that.] Then gunshots drive the werewolf away! The President holds a press conference. “I would like to make one thing perfectly clear.” Later the President bowls in the basement and tells Jack there are no werewolves. Jack’s fingers swell so he can’t throw the ball! There is a meeting, military officers complain about society. The Vice President wants to declare Martial Law and bring in the Army. One man uses his Minox camera. The President wants to withdraw troops from South East Asia. “Let’s just ignore Congress.” Will the President recognize Red China? They laugh. Jack has to leave the room. [He acts strangely.] A policeman shoots Jack with his assault rifle, it has no effect! A dwarf asks the werewolf his name, but Jack leaves. He orders silver bullets with powder. [No Gun Control Laws then.] The dwarf scientist, Dr. Kiss, wants the werewolf taken alive.
Jack wanders the streets. Mary finds Jack chained. “Stop barking at me” she says. She won’t leave him. He tells her there is a gun there, its loaded. She kisses him. The President calls, he wants his help. Are people afraid of the werewolf? Its mass hysteria. The Red Chinese Prime Minister is there in the helicopter. Hijack? Jack turns into a werewolf! The helicopter lands, there is a crowd. Jack runs off, there are gunshots. The President wants to make one thing perfectly clear. Jack runs away and returns to his home. Mary screams! Mary uses that pistol to stop the attack by a werewolf! [Gun Prohibitionists won’t like this!] Jack returns to his human form. Mary screams. “Who’s to say what we saw?” They will have a cover story to explain Jack’s death. “You guys won’t have Jack Whittier to kick around any more” says the Vice President. It ends with the President asking for the people’s support. But there is an interruption in his speech!
This movie is not worth watching! But it could have been much, much better with more money and a better script.
Reporter Jack Whittier (Dean Stockwell, excellent choice) is a favorite with the President (Biff McGuire) and his daughter. Taking a project in Budapest he gets one of those classic bites that never came near his Budapest. The President summons Jack back to become his press agent. Soon Jack sees pentagrams in every hand. He also finds he blacks out. Eventually he comes to realize he has a bad case of the munchies. He tries to confess but no one will listen; remember this is D.C.
You have to add this film to your wolfy collection. Never know if this will become a classic or cult favorite.
Full Moon High [VHS]
on August 6, 2006
When the movie started I was immediately reminded of the old Wolfman movie, right down to the clubbing of the wolf. As it went on I got some laughs as the political and racial satire came out, and the werewolf's mannerisms became more comically exaggerated as time went on as well. All in all, an enjoyable flick. If you're looking to come out honestly scared, you lose, but if you're looking for a halfway decent werewolf, something tolerable, or something funny, then this is a good watch. Considering the rent prices nowadays, go ahead and buy it.
on March 31, 2016
The opening of this film is great - it sorta spoofs The Wolf Man(1941). LOL I love the humor from the get-go. The more the film goes on the more you'll find some cute & oddball werewolf and other humor. This is a comedy-horror so if you chose to watch it you should keep the fact it's a comedy in mind.
The movie is not bloody - although there are people killed by the werewolf. The transformation is pretty neat - again reminiscent of the classic Wolf Man transformations. The look of the werewolf in this film reminds me a little bit like the werewolf in 'The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973)' - which came out the same year of this film.
Overall this is neat werewolf flick with some silly humor. I found it worth watching.
on October 12, 2012
Wow--where to start? Well, the picture quality is awul, the acting is equally awful, the plot is (you guessed it) awful, the dialogue was apparently written by a kindergartner, the continuity is non-existent---shall I go on? I think not--you get the idea. It was actually so bad that it was funny, and we became eager to continue watching it so that we could see what farce they'd perpetrate on us next. I did enjoy the change-to-werewolf sequences. No earth shattering special effects, but I still liked it. Very much like the old Lon Chaney Jr. version with regard to the transformation effects. This movie contained so much unlikely shenanigans, politically incorrect dialogue, and non-sequitirs that it boggled the mind. Four of us watched it, and three of us enjoyed it just for the ridiculous value. The fourth completely didn;t get it and just thought it was awful. This would be great to have friends over to watch, complete with adult beverages and Mystery Science Theater-ish commentary by the peanut gallery.
on October 25, 2008
Where to start with train wreck?
First, the filmmakers had little idea of what the White House is like. Particularly after seeing a few seasons of West Wing, it is hard to ignore that it seems only slightly bigger than my parent's house in Iowa and that there is only three or four people in it aside from the president. The room the Joint Chiefs of Staff meet in looks like our local VFW. The president has a staff of two or three guys and no bodyguards whatsoever and doesn't seem to have much to do with himself other than attend parties and bowl. In the second to last scene when the president is talking with the Chinese prime minister (the country has a president, but the filmmakers didn't check that one), the plane is a small puddle jumper, there are no staff present on either the Chinese or the American side, and the area they are sitting in the plane is no bigger than the backseat of a taxi. This is real Ed Wood level production values, but old Ed at least imparted some personality to his movies.
Second, all of this wouldn't matter so much if the story wasn't so plodding. The problem with many horror movies is the filmmakers have a cool title, but not much idea of what else to do with the movie (think Lunchmeat, Redneck Zombies, and Doctor Butcher, MD [Medical Deviate]). Indeed, the nimrods behind this clunker didn't think much beyond the idea of the press secretary of being a werewolf. In the world of this 1973 toilet raft, full moons are evidently a nightly occurrence in DC, as there is little continuity from scene to scene of Dean Stockwell turning into a werewolf and then wasting some or other Beltway insider in poorly lit night scenes (note to director-film the night scenes during the day with tinted lenses from now on). I suppose you could conceivably figure out how much time elapsed in the movie if you count murders, but generally between them, the president and press secretary are generally kickin' back with a gin & tonic, so I found my attention flagging.
Which brings me to my third point, the poor quality of this video. This is one murky, scratched up print that Alpha Video put out. It is pan and scan, and the picture definitely feels clipped. I am a big fan of public domain stuff, but the DVD company really lowered the bar with this one.
For 70s completists only.
on July 24, 2012
This is a great little fun horror spoof, great performances by Dean Stockwell and Biff McGuire, unfortunately the original film print 16:9 aspect ratio is lost and we are left with a semi VHS quality print with numerous color washouts and close-ups. Til we get a restored version this will have to do.