After being bitten by his best friend and becoming a werewolf, a young man must travel the country searching for the werewolf that started the bloodline.
A college student, Eric Cord (John J. York) shares an apartment with his best friend Ted (Raphael Sbarge). Ted has a secret; he is a werewolf and asks Eric to kill him with silver bullets after he transforms. Ted explains that he was bitten the summer before, while working on a fishing boat. In the year since, he has been able to keep hiding it, but as of late, he has lost any self-control he might have had when in his werewolf form. Werewolves can only be killed by suicide, any weapon made of silver, or by another werewolf and the only cure is to kill off the first of the bloodline. Unlike the classic mythos, werewolves do not change during the full moon, but the cycle is more random and is preceded by a scar like pentagram that shows up on the cursed one’s hand. Eric is incredulous at first, but soon becomes a believer when he witnesses Ted’s transformation and in a desperate act of self-defense, shoots his best friend with a silver bullet, but not before being bitten himself. Eric, now being blamed for the murder of Ted, is also a werewolf and with the help of Ted’s sister, Kelly (Michelle Johnson), the pair search for the werewolf that started the bloodline and is causing murder and mayhem in their city, Captain Janos Skorzeny (Chuck Connors). Also in pursuit of Eric is a bounty hunger named Alamo Joe (Lance LeGault) who was hired to track down Eric after he missed a court date and skipped his bail. Janos kidnaps Kelly but Eric saves her after fighting with the older more powerful werewolf. Kelly, in emotional distress, decides she can’t handle being with Eric anymore, and Eric leaves in pursuit of Janos with Alamo Joe close behind. Is the originator of the bloodline Janos, and can Eric track him down and kill him? Well, that is the plot of the series, and you will have to watch to find out!
Werewolf was one of the original series on the new Fox network during its inaugural season of 1987-1988. The pilot was two hours long with 28 half hour episodes following. The name used by Chuck Connors’ character, Janos Skorzeny, is a reference to the vampire in the classic TV film The Night Stalker. Near the end of the first season, Chuck Connors tried to renegotiate his contract for more money, so the studio had him written out of the series and with the help of a body double and some editing trickery, introduced a new character, Nicolas Remy (Brian Thompson) who turns out to be a very old werewolf and the originator of the bloodline. Unfortunately, the series was cancelled soon after and Eric’s story never gets a resolution. This would be Chuck Connors last television series as he passed away in 1988 of Lung Cancer. The actors in the series had some camp and corniness to them, which add to the charm of the series, but for the most part took the roles seriously and overall did a good job, with the exception of Kelly played by Michelle Johnson who was just really annoying, but luckily, she is only in the pilot.
The series was lauded for its makeup effects at the time, specifically for the transformation scenes and the pentagram on the hand effects. The look of the werewolves were large monstrous bipedal wolf creatures, with long arms that allowed them to run either upright or on all fours. The one downside to the look of the monsters, were the mouths which seemed to be overly exaggerated and fixed open with little articulation. The writing and direction of the series was actually pretty good for the time period, but it did fall into the formulaic plotlines, like The Fugitive and The Incredible Hulk where Eric travels to a new place each week, finds and helps someone in distress and has to move on at the end, not concentrating as much on character growth or original storylines. The music was a combination of contemporary rock mixed with synthesized dramatic music which did add to the tone of the series, but also firmly dates it to the 80s. Overall, this was a fun series when it came out and is still interesting to watch. It would be a great candidate for a relaunch with modern special effects and tweaking of the basic storyline to focus more on the originality of the storylines and thematic character development.
I remember watching the pilot when I was in high school and loving the story. It is an interesting premise, although executed in a very formulaic way.
Werewolf can be viewed on You Tube.
Forgotten Television: Werewolf
- Writing - 7/107/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Acting - 7/107/10
- Music - 8/108/10
- Production - 7/107/10
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