Since Junkfood Cinema’s regular master is off Comic-Con-ing this weekend, I’ve been handed the keys and have been told to treat his property with respect, dignity and care. Instead, I plan to smoke pot in the living room, throw wild sex parties in the bedroom and boil microwaveable dinners in the hot tub, leaving the water smelling vaguely of teriyaki sauce. You see, there are few films as disrespectful toward the human race as Werewolf Woman and the mere fact that it is my selection for this Very Special Guest Episode of Junkfood Cinema is proof that I hate this column and all that it stands for. Anyway…
Why It’s So Bad
If you’re the kind of person who watches werewolf movies and thinks “Man, I really love the part where the person turns into a werewolf and kills people, but I really wish I could see the werewolf’s genitals while he/she does so,” then Werewolf Woman is the movie for you! The film’s opening sequence sets the tone: a naked woman dances inside a circle of flames beneath a full moon, the camera lingering on her wild eyes and even wilder vagina (hey, it was the ‘70s). Then, through the power of EDITING!, she arises from the ground covered in fur, no longer a woman, but a Werewolf Woman!
And just because she’s a werewolf, don’t think the movie has decided to cop out on precious, precious nudity. This is an Italian production, after all. If you wait until your loved ones are fast asleep late at night before you sneak of to your computer to Google “werewolf boobs” with desperate, sweaty fingers, then the first seven minutes of Werewolf Woman are sure to touch you in your happy spot. To be blunt: this movie opens with tons of werewolf boobage. Director Rino Di Silvestro has even made the daring choice to embrace realism, giving his wolf-sexpot hybrid extra long mammal nipples, which would probably feed a great many werewolf pups, if given the chance.
Anyway, Werewolf Woman is then hunted by a bunch of guys wearing Pilgrim costumes stolen from a high school Thanksgiving pageant. She manages to take one of them down before the torch-wielding, ADR-shouting mob burn her alive.
And then we cut to present day, where the real story begins! You see, this opening sequence has all been a dream…or is it a flashback? Dun, dun, dun! This dream/flashback has been experienced by our heroine, a modern woman who has learned that one of her ancestors was executed for being a werewolf and looked just like her. This all happened before the movie actually started and it could’ve been confusing, but a lengthy conversation between her father and his professor friend fill us in on all of that silly exposition and character development. You see, our heroine (she has a name, but I don’t care) was raped not too long ago and she now spends her days moping about the countryside, well on her way to following her ancestor’s steps and becoming a Werewolf Woman. Classic Hero’s Journey Shit.
The movie then gets really, really boring for awhile, but at least Di Silvestro keeps our attention with plenty of sex, voyeurism and even a little masturbation. Characters sit around, do nothing, recap the events of the previous five minutes in badly dubbed conversations and practically beg you turn the movie off…but then some boobs show up or Werewolf Woman masturbates while watching her sister and brother-in-law getting it on.
Wait a second…is Werewolf Woman a shallow attempt to showcase all kind of nudity and sexual escapades while hiding behind the guise of a werewolf movie?! Nah, filmmakers from the great nation of Italy would never stoop that low.
Eventually, Werewolf Woman snaps, bites her brother-in-law’s throat out while seducing him in the middle of the woods and tosses his lifeless corpse into a ravine while screaming at the moon. Because she’s a Werewolf Woman, you see, at least in spirit if not in Being-An-Actual-Werewolf.
Then the movie gets really boring again as she gets put in a mental asylum, but thankfully, her nymphomaniac lesbian neighbor unties her bonds after a softcore lady-on-lady rape scene (and gets her throat bitten out for good measure). Then Werewolf Woman wanders the countryside, murdering frisky farm girls who have the audacity to get laid in barns and leading old perverts to bed so she can have an excuse to dine on their jugulars. My personal favorite is the guy who informs Werewolf Woman “AHM GONNA RAPE YA!” before he actually tries to get his rape on, which is actually pretty polite for a rapist.
It would all be a potentially interesting message about feminine empowerment and rising up against abusive men if Werewolf Woman wasn’t also randomly murdering innocent woman who enjoy barnyard coupling with the man of their choosing, but – Oh, look! Boobs!
The movie’s most batshit turn occurs when Werewolf Woman meets a kindly stuntman who lives in his own private Western movie set. He puts her up for the night and promises that he won’t rape her, which is all you need to do to win Werewolf Woman’s love, apparently. They spend their days frolicking on the beach, re-enacting movie stunts, jumping through breakaway windows and having sweet, sweet, silhouette sex under blue gels.
But fate is not done with Werewolf Woman, not with twenty minutes of running time left! Will her relationship last? Will her lover die at the hands of a group of ruffians? Will Werewolf Woman go out for one last string of vengeance before the closing narration informs us that all of this has been based on a true story while the cops apprehend a now feral Werewolf Woman, living in the woods and dining on what may be human flesh? Spoilers! No, yes and yes.
Why We Love It
Like so many schlocky Italian horror movies from the ’70s, Werewolf Woman is frequently boring and painfully dull, but then it will instantly redeem itself with something amazing. When the film cuts away from Werewolf Woman’s exploits to center on the cops chasing her (their conversations are literally recaps of everything we’ve just watched in the past few minutes), you’ll want to kill yourself. Then you’ll get to see Werewolf Woman murder two guys with a junkyard crane and it all suddenly becomes worth it. It’s weird to say that this work of borderline softcore pornography requires patience to appreciate, but it does.
It’s almost admirable how Werewolf Woman rejects any sense of a traditional narrative. This is practically a stream-of-consciousness exercise, with Werewolf Woman wandering from place to place, each of them with their own tone and style. Is Werewolf Woman a slasher movie? A revenge movie? A police procedural? A exploitative piece of trash cinema? Well, all of the above. None of it ever actually gels, but Werewolf Woman truly doesn’t care about gelling and if you let the movie work its disgusting charms on you, you won’t either.
This movie is a delivery system for breasts ‘n gore and the bizarre, meandering script is just an excuse to provide a series of events where these items of interest can happen. Major characters drop off the face other earth. Subplots go unresolved. Entire relationships are formed offscreen. Just when any of these things start to bother you, Werewolf Woman jumps to a scene where our completely nude heroine rips the throat out of someone with her teeth. Just when the movie slows to a interminable crawl, it cuts to a montage where two characters fall in love by practicing movie stuntwork together.
Werewolf Woman is a practically a brain aneurism caught on film, but as far as movies that are bad for your mental health go, it’s pretty darn good.
I’m just going to go with the obvious here: this incredibly Italian movie deserves an incredibly Italian treat. So warm up those Cannolis, pop Werewolf Woman in your DVD player and experience what Italy is all about: rich food and naked boobs.
Guest Author Jacob Hall is apparently a writer, living and working in Austin, Texas (at least that’s what he tells his mother). He loves bad movies, good movies, the Alamo Drafthouse, comics books, regular book and cats. He is unique among film writers in that he’s chubby and has a beard. Despite contributing to Film School Rejects, he is a film school graduate. You can find his work at Movies.com and Screencrush.com.