Back in 1988, kids and adults all over America would sit down on those long weekend nights to watch the latest episode of "Werewolf", the new horror series from the creators of "The A-Team". It tells the story of Eric Cord (John J. York), a college kid whose world is ripped apart when his roommate tells him that he is a murderous werewolf and asks to be shot with a silver bullet. Despite his initial skepticism, Eric witnesses his friend change into the beast and is forced to shoot him -- but not before he gets bitten by the monster.
Now he knows that in order to break the curse he must sever the bloodline by killing the original werewolf, an insane sea captain called Skorzeny (Chuck Connors, replaced by a stand-in for the later episodes), while he is also chased by a relentless part-Indian bounty hunter, Alamo Joe Rogan (Lance LeGault). On his travels, hitchhiking his way from job to job while hunting Skorzeny, he finds that ordinary humans can be even more evil than the beast inside of him, but there are also those who try to help and understand him. He even meets others like himself, although they are almost always insane or evil, or both. Later he discovers that his true nemesis is actually a particularly powerful and ancient werewolf named Nicholas Remy (Brian Thompson).
While for the most part this was a fairly lighthearted thriller series at least partly aimed at children, there is also some truly dark subject matter in some of the episodes, and it becomes genuinely more and more surreal as it goes on. It has a great eighties-style soundtrack, although the constant guitar solo in the background becomes a little intrusive in some episodes ... is this a horror show or a Guns n' Roses music video? The episodes themselves are only thirty minutes long, which often feels too short. Many of the episodes could easily have stood being extended to an hour -- the standard length for most series of this type.
After the feature length pilot episode, there were a total of twenty eight episodes that were produced. It also sparked a six-issue comic book adaptation, although that's difficult to find these days. Fox, still in it's early years, cancelled the show after one season -- regardless of the superb quality of some of the episodes (it's slot was taken by "Married with Children"). Since then, the show has been completely neglected. Due to the lack of reruns and the fact that it still hasn't been released on DVD, hardly anyone knows about it except those who loved it during it's initial run. This series remains a forgotten gem.
|Episode Title||Air Date||Rating|
|The Boy Who Cried Werewolf||25/07/1987|
|The Black Ship||01/08/1987|
|Spectre of the Wolf||08/08/1987|
|The Wolf Who Thought He Was A Man||15/08/1987|
|Nothing Evil In These Woods||29/08/1987|
|Running With the Pack||05/09/1987|
|Let Us Prey||03/10/1987|
|A World of Difference Part 1 & 2||10/10/1987|
|All Hallow's Eve||31/10/1987|
|Blood on the Tracks||01/11/1987|
|Nightmare at the Braine Hotel||08/11/1987|
|Eye of the Storm||06/12/1987|
|Nightmare in Blue||17/01/1988|
|King of the Road||07/02/1988|
|A Material Girl||14/02/1988|
|To Dream of Wolves Part 1 & 2||21/02/1988|
One of my fav since childhood
A wonderful tv show about werewolves... too bad they didn't make an end to this story... Nightmare at the braine hotel is a masterpiece.
In Rick Baker's first major werewolf project after "An American Werewolf in London", he finally got to create the biped werewolf he originally wanted to make in that movie. Unfortunately, due to the budget restrictions of television, the special effects aren't quite as impressive as in "American Werewolf", but these are almost certainly the best werewolves ever created for a television show. The transformation scenes are fantastic (see top photo, from "Pilot Episode"). Unfortunately, in some episodes the werewolf gets far too much screentime, which makes it appear less convincing and more like a guy running around in a modified ape suit. The main problem is that sometimes the jaws don't move at all, the wolf often stays in the same open-mouthed position and it just looks like a stupid wolf mask -- although there does seem to be more flexibility in the jaw in some episodes. Like an ape, the wolf mostly walks on it's hind legs but can also drop down to all fours sometimes. There are several different werewolves shown, but most of them are very similar in design and it's often impossible to distinguish who's fighting who in the fight scenes (see second photo down, from "Let us Prey").
Most of the various pieces of Hollywood werewolf folklore are included in this great series. Werewolves must be killed by silver, by fire, or by another werewolf, and there's a great montage in the episode "A World of Difference" where Rogan the bounty hunter travels around asking various mystics how to kill a werewolf. When he's about to change, the sign of the pentagram appears on Eric's hand, and it begins to bleed as the change becomes closer (see third photo down, from "Running with the Pack"). The infection is passed on through being bitten, although in the episode "Big Daddy" it is shown that you can also inject a werewolf's blood into your own if you want to become one. Eric doesn't appear to change exclusively at the full moon, but this is never confirmed ... if this were a "real-time" series, that would would mean that he'd only change every four episodes or so. It could be that his emotions have something to do with when he changes, as the change seems to come at helpful times, such as when he's in some kind of trouble or has been captured. And even though he insists in "Big Daddy" that time has nothing to do with it, the change is seen to occur around midnight several times. Also in that episode, the change is triggered by a silver solution being injected into Eric.
The more powerful werewolves such as Skorzeny certainly seem able to change at will, but they most likely cannot exercise the same amount of control over their wolf side as Eric can. Although in human form Eric is a complete wuss, in wolf form he seems able to take on pretty much any other werewolf. Eric is able to keep the wolf from doing harm to those people who he has befriended, but he says this gets harder over time -- this is why his roommate Ted asked to be shot, because he could no longer control the beast. Eric does manage to kill the occassional 'innocent', but there's generally a good reason. Mostly he just throws people around a lot (see bottom photo, from "Unicorn"). In the episode "Nothing Evil In These Woods", the 'Good Witch of the North' tells Eric that it is imporant to have faith, and this will help him to keep the wolf from killing.
There are some great references here as well, both to movies and to werewolf legends. In "The Boy Who Cried Werewolf", on the wall of the kid's treehouse is a poster for Jacinto Molina's "The Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman" -- even though clearly that movie wouldn't be suitably for a child, as among other things there's way too much nudity in it. But it's "Spectre of the Wolf" which is particularly heavy on werewolf legends, with the professor giving a lecture and mentioning the Greek myth of Lycan and also the portion of the ancient roman volume "Satyricon" which describes a werewolf transformation. The episode "Skinwalker" brings in the ancient Navajo legends, and the false promise of a cure for lycanthropy.