THE WEREWOLF OF WASHINGTON (1973)
Article 4356 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Milton Moses Ginsberg
Featuring Dean Stockwell, Katalin Kallay, Henry Ferrentino
What it is: Comic political lycanthrope satire
A press secretary to the president is bitten by a werewolf and becomes one himself.
The first time I saw this movie, I went into it blind and found it dull and pointless. This time I watched it with the knowledge that it is at least aspiring towards political satire, and my focus was on trying to figure out what its focus would prove to be; in other words, I was trying to see if it was something other than just a werewolf movie with a political backdrop. This time I discovered that there was a point to it, though that doesn’t become clear until the very end of the movie. Nonetheless, I’m still pretty disappointed; the point is a little too obvious and simple to make it worth sitting through a whole movie to get to it, and the satirical streak that runs through the movie (most of which involves references to the Nixon administration) is hardly clever. It doesn’t work all that well as a horror movie either, probably because it plays for comedy too much to really accept it fully when it stops doing so. Dean Stockwell does well in the title role, but he really is given little more to do than retread the Lon Chaney Jr. role in THE WOLF MAN. There’s an odd cameo involving Michael Dunn that I wish I liked more, but it feels utterly out of place with the rest of the movie. In the end, the only scene I really liked was a comic scene in a bowling alley; for me, it’s the only time the movie really comes to life. In the end, though I appreciate the movie is trying for something different, I think it really fails to hit the mark.