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A Howling Good Time

The Werewolf of Washington


Genre: Comedy, Horror
Year Released: 1973, 2023 Kino Lorber Blu-ray
Runtime: 1h 30m
Director(s): Milton Moses Ginsberg
Writer(s): Milton Moses Ginsberg
Cast: Dean Stockwell, Biff McGuire, Jane House, Clifton James, Nancy Andrews, Michael Dunn
Where To Watch: Available February 21, 2023, preorder now from Kino Lorber

RAVING REVIEW: Look up; it’s a full moon, join me as we step right into the spotlight; it's time to review the classic horror-comedy movie, THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON. Get ready to sink your teeth into a political satire that takes a biting look at the corruption of the 1970s. Okay, I’m done with the cheesy one-liners, at least for now.

Led by Dean Stockwell, this film follows the story of a presidential press secretary who gets bitten by a werewolf on a trip. When he returns to the nation's capital, he transforms into a monstrous creature under the full moon's glow. This film's director, Milton Moses Ginsberg, gives us the ultimate director's cut, complete with a stunning restoration.

While THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON may draw inspiration from the classic film THE WOLF-MAN, it needs help finding a balance between horror and humor. The tone often feels rough, the political commentary needs to catch up, and there is a lot of potential, but the focus seems misguided. However, the transformation scenes stand out, with breathtaking makeup that will leave you in awe. I’ve heard people commenting how the makeup looks cheap; that’s in modern eyes, though. Back in ‘73, this was fantastic.

Unfortunately, the plot falls into predictable territory, and the characters need more depth, specifically in terms of the political aspects. The film's conclusion could be confusing to some, but ultimately it allows you to make some of the decisions yourself instead of being spoonfed the ending you want.

In conclusion, THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON tries to do too much at once, and I think that’s ultimately its biggest weakness. The horror wasn’t unique, and the political satire wasn’t excellent, but they both tried to steal the spotlight throughout. I feel like there’s a great movie in here, and if nothing else, it left me thinking about the entire idea.

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[photo courtesy of KINO LORBER]