VHS Thursday: Werewolves, Bikers, John Saxon, and Becoming a Woman


Neil Jordan’s “The Company of Wolves” is a film that teaches young women everywhere many beneficial lessons. Never trust a man whose eyebrows meet. All men are beasts on the inside and will eventually reveal their inner evil. Lastly, never stray from the path in the deep, dark forrest.  Honestly, it seems as if the grandmother is a bit of a sexist.

What’s amazing about this vicious retelling of Little Red Riding Hood is the atmosphere and brilliant cinematography. Even the set design has to be seen to be believed. The entire film is a dream within a dream. It’s not a fantasy film for children and it’s not exploitation. It’s a well put together little horror film about werewolves, witches, and becoming a woman…. Among other things.  Sprinkled with Grimm Fairytales.

I have read fellow critics reviews and it’s apparent that the film is not for everyone. Mostly male critics have said, “The film doesn’t make any sense.” When they’re really trying to say, “I still don’t know anything about women.” The film makes plenty of sense. Dig a little deeper into the metaphors.

So this dream within a dream gothic fantasy is one of the best anthologies of all time. Grandmother Angela Lansbury tells most of the stories and the granddaughter tells the remainder. My two favorite stories are one starring Stephen Rea, also from Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game and Interview With a Vampire, where he marries his love then leaves her to join his pack of wolves. Rea comes back to her years later only to find she has moved on and bared another man’s children. Now we get to see some spectacular effects where Rea peels his skin off while transforming into a werewolf then has his head knocked off by her new man. I believe she gets slapped in the face for letting him in. The other scene being the jilted lover who turns her now married man, new wife, and family into a pack of wolves.

Jordon co-wrote the screenplay with Angela Carter, taking from her previous stories. Carter wanted to show us the heavy symbolism and deep allegory in children’s fairytales. It’s original, poetic, and stylish. Much like Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow. The performances are incredible. Even Terrence Stamp snags a role, previously offered to Andy Warhol. This film deserves a full review and multiple viewings.


I came across this bizarre beauty at a flea market outside of Dallas. This woman had a shed filled with a thousand VHS ranging from 80s comedy to horror. I must have snagged at least 50 from her shed. Werewolves on Wheels being one of them. I wasn’t sure how I would feel about this silly little title but I love Easy Rider and I love werewolves. Put the two together, top it off with ritual sacrifices, and you have sweet, cheesy magic.

A pack of bikers wreak havoc upon their road journey until they enjoy a little wine a bread given to them at a mysterious temple with robed figures. The gang nearly slips into a coma. The leaders girlfriend is kidnapped and a cat is sacrificed (poor kitty) during a Satanic ritual followed by some good old chanting. Some of the bikers begin to turn into werewolves and it turns into a blood bath.

As ridiculous as this low budget B-Flick sounds, it was well made with a tubular soundtrack provided by Don Gere. The effects are doable. Gore fans may be disappointed with the overall absence of blood and guts. I wasn’t too terribly impressed with the werewolves look.

My only complaint would be the tiring peace and love philosophy and there’s too much padding with the gang on the road.


This is a cover that always called out to me at the local video store but it would take me years to give it a chance. I always thought they looked a little too ridiculous on the cover.

Leslie (Susan Blakely) is a lonely housewife on a quest to find a new flea collar at John Saxon’s pet shop. Saxon is a werewolf with sunglasses. He seduces Leslie then bites her on the toe which ultimately turns her into a werewolf. Her daughter and horror nerd friend get involved and stop at nothing to lift the curse. John Saxon doesn’t stand a chance.

With the exception of Saxon, the acting really isn’t all that promising. It’s not even so bad it’s good. There’s nothing there. Young actress Tina Caspary took on the role as Leslie’s daughter. I had always wondered what happened to Tina because she was so beautiful in Can’t Buy Me Love and Teen Witch. So I did a little investigating and tuns out she’s a professional dancer and people do not like her… At all. She was originally casted as Kelly Bundy for Married With Children but the director decided to go with Applegate instead because she was the better actor. Applegate mentioned in interviews that the original Kelly Bundy was very rude to her. How disappointing. She’s so beautiful. You can never go by what people say though. She could have been on her period or just having a bad day.

Lets face it, the film isn’t all that in a bag of potato chips and the comedic tone falls short but it’s nostalgic and did I mention John Saxon? This fan girl is loyal to the Saxon. He’s always playing a cop in films like Black Christmas and Nightmare on Elm Street. The daughter’s friend Stacey is also pretty cool. She loves horror films and has Galaxina and Prime Evil posters on her wall and digs Fangoria magazine. This is why I cannot bring myself to throw it away. The special effects and overall look of the werewolves are pretty lousy. It makes you wonder if the crew spent any time researching werewolves and horror movies.


Of all the films on the list, The Howling is the scariest by far. I wouldn’t call it the best werewolf horror film of all time but it certainly comes close. My VHS copy comes from the Mom and Pop store when they were closing out and selling all of their tapes for 50cents a piece. I also own the DVD with Dee Wallace’s signature after meeting and interviewing her.

The ending alone should grace the presence of every ‘Top Moments in Horror Films’ lists. That transformation was beyond amazing and scarred me as a child. It’s right up there with the exploding head scene in Scanners. Around 28 people were hired for the special effects and make-up department. You can bet your sweet ass that you will not be disappointed as the film holds some of the best werewolf transformations I have ever seen. That’s pretty for good with a million dollar budget.

A news reporter Karen White (Dee Wallace) goes to a rehabilitation center recommended by her doctor to help her get over a traumatic experience with a serial killer. Soon she finds that not everything is alright at the rehabilitation center. There are fucking werewolves seducing and turning people.

It’s a little silly in places but overall a fun, scary little werewolf flick with the amazing Dee Wallace. What more do you want? Dee Wallace is a known scream Queen who continues to fascinate us with her talent in films like The Frighteners, The Hills Have Eyes, Cujo, ET, Critters, Rob Zombie’s Halloween, and Popcorn. She always seems to play the ‘Mom’ character and looks the part but don’t let that disappoint you. Her work in The Frighteners was quite the role reversal. Not to mention, challenging. The film is also directed by the very talented Joe Dante. Dante is responsible for some of the best films of all time! Those being Gremlins and The Burbs. Oh and then there’s Piranha but I wouldn’t call that one of the best films of all time.

I have yet to see the sequels and I hear they’re actually pretty amazing so I guess I know what I will be watching next week…..